We’re back to answer our question from last week: “From where do we get our right and wrong?” Last week we raised some interesting questions and discussed some implications. So, if you have not read my article last week, please do so. It will make this week’s answer much more meaningful. So, let’s dive right in.
Last week we discussed Israel during the time of the judges. Israel had no authority to guide them, so “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25). Why was this? Simple, because they were sinners.
See, Israel is not the exception that we may observe and say to ourselves, “Well, at least I’m not like them. I would not act such a way.” We have all gone astray and turned aside to various passions. We are all born into sin and, by default, just as Israel.
As sinners from birth, we do what we see best in our own eyes. We see it in the actions and thoughts of both a four-year-old and a 104-year-old. Why? Because sin has no expiration date. We do not outgrow our depravity. Salvation does not come through maturity.
But something does come from maturity: consistency. As our minds grow in complexity, we become better sinners, more consistent sinners, who realize we need to change our beliefs — our true and false, our right and wrong — to justify our sins.
But, how can we say this, that something is true or right, against something else being false or wrong? We can say this, because the division between truth and fallacy, right and wrong, was not decided on the authority of man. The separation between the light and the dark did not come from man’s own sovereign hand (Gen 1:3). Man did not look to himself to render such a profound theological judgment. No, this judgment came from outside of man. It came from another. It came from a creator.
Everyone knows this to be right. Everyone knows this to be true. We know the idea is wrong and a great fallacy that we could ever decide such a thing for ourselves.
In human pride and rage, mankind may try to establish themselves as this other one, the Creator, inventing their own right and wrong, truth and fallacy. But this present generation’s time will come. It always does.
The signpost they sovereignly erected of “ought” and “ought not” will be brought from high to low. Their children will grow to maturity. Their minds will grow in genius and soon enough question the legitimacy of their parent’s foundationless signs of “ought” and “ought not.”
And eventually, they, in the same pride and rage as their parents, will remove their parent’s signposts and erect their own. And, their children after them. Is this worth progressing into? Is this worth conserving? Where is our hope? How will we be saved?
But what if I told you that there was a better way. A way that does not change, because it was made by one who never changes (Num 23:19). A way that — though it is narrow —is certainly straight, because the one who established this way does not shift and change like the flickering shadows of mankind (James 1:17). Rather, he is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). From before the world began to eternity and then thereafter, his word reigns in true authority (Ps. 119:89). From his authority, he separates truth from error, and in him, there is no shade of error or fallacy. He then being truth himself directs us in true ethics — what is truly right. And from that right way now revealed, he guides us in paths of righteousness for his namesake (Ps 23:3).
He, not us, is the only one capable of doing such a thing—such a glorious thing. In Him, not us, is salvation. In Him is hope.
For those who know themselves to be sinners, who know themselves to have gone astray to the way of Israel (Judges 21:25), He alone is your refuge. He is the only one to call out for. You know this. Turn from yourselves and your sin and call out to Him. Call out in faith for Him to save you, not by what you have done or can do but by what his son, Jesus, has done on the cross. He died to pay your debt, to make atonement for the sins you have committed.
Will you do this? Will you be saved? Do this and you will be.
(Jeremy Breland of Ruffin is associate pastor of Ruffin Baptist Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)