Monday, February 05, 2018

Quote Unquote - No 1 - G K Chesterton

"Right is Right even if nobody does it. Wrong is wrong even if everybody is wrong about it."
G.K. Chesterton

I like to listen to and consider what other people say and hear how they think but many people talk without thinking through the consequences of their words and ideas. For instance you will hear people say ‘it’s ok as long as it’s ok for you’. This is a ridiculous statement as it doesn't work in practice when you take into account other people's rights and personal interests. As G K Chesterton said ‘right is right’ and ‘wrong is wrong’. He was of course reflecting what the Bible teaches. 

The Bible makes it clear that right and wrong exist and that wrong actions have consequences. The Bible teaches, and experience proves that wrong (sin) will eventually catch up with a us. We call it the consequences of bad choices, the principles of cause and effect or to quote a biblical phrase ‘you reap what you sow’. The colloquial phrase is ‘getting your comeuppance’. Wrong actions and behaviour will ultimately catch up with us. However as a Christian I believe that we can be forgiven and given power to change through the death and resurrection of Christ. 

Wickedness, evil and sin are defined regularly in the Bible. Moses was given the 10 commandments (Exodus 20), Jesus defined the evil that comes out of the human heart (Mark 7) and defiles a person. Paul compares the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5). 

Let me highlight the distinction between good and evil and what is expected of a believer in Jesus Christ with a direct quote from Galatians 5. 

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed -- one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. 
Galatians 5:13-26

This constant theme of truth versus error, light versus darkness, pureness versus filth runs throughout the Bible. Evil is blatantly wrong. 

But here’s the question! Does the awareness of good and evil give an individual the presence of mind and power to choose what is good?

Let’s reflect for a moment on the Biblical account of the first occurrence of sin in the world. The scripture states clearly that Adam, the first man, brought sin into the world. Here is the text this statement is based on ‘by one man sin into entered into the world and death by sin,’ Romans 5 verse 12. 

The consequence of this is that we are all born with sin in our nature. One of the kings of Israel, David, wrote in Psalm 51 - ‘Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.’ He clearly would have understood what the Lord Jesus was teaching, many years later, when he stated ‘That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man,’ Mark 7:20-23. 

Right is Right, Wrong is Wrong

We are born with sin in us and the evil in us always must come out. True! So where does that leave us in the eyes of our creator, God. I suggest, on the authority of the Bible, that we are guilty as charged and therefore condemned. Scripture describes our moral condition in these words - ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,’ Romans 3:23.

The obvious question is - Is the human condition hopeless? Are we condemned by the actions of the first man to a life contaminated by sin and ultimately judgement and punishment by God?

Thankfully the honest answer is - No. 

God has made a way of escape. The means by which we can be forgiven and saved from the judgment of God. It is however on God’s terms. 

Let me close with a quotations from the Gospel of John chapter three that will explain the solution that God has made available and what we need to do to benefit from it. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18

It might be easier to highlight the main points:

For God so loved the world - That’s the world of individuals and so includes you. The amazing thing is that God has the capacity to relate to each of us as individuals and to meet our needs individually. 

That he gave his only begotten Son. This phrase covers the fact that Jesus was born - he came from heaven and became a man. The giving of the Son of God includes his death. Christ died for our sins, that is he took full responsibility for them. He became accountable for them. This was only possible because Jesus was God’s Son and therefore sinless and perfect i.e. he had no sin of his own. I thank God that Jesus is my substitute, he bore my sins in his own body on the tree. 

That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish - the clear inference in this verse is that without faith in Jesus Christ you will still be condemned and lose your soul. Bluntly put this means when you die you would end up in hell. The good news is that coming God’s way, trusting in God’s Son guarantees forgiveness and removes the danger of eternal punishment and separation from God. 

But have everlasting life - this is the guaranteed outcome of trusting on Jesus Christ. He is able to forgive, cleanse and change you. Your part is to ‘repent and believe the gospel’. 
The word repent means a change of heart and attitude toward God. It involves turning away from your old life of control of self to God. Salvation, forgiveness and peace with God is guaranteed to all who come. 

Right is Right, Wrong is Wrong. 

God can make you right, the question is will you let him. 


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