This Sunday we explored the topic of how God relates to morality; to right and wrong.
What is the relationship between God and being a morally good person?
Someone can be morally good even if they are not a believer (see the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, or the Greek poets in Acts 17 that Paul recognizes have an understanding of truth).
John Calvin writes that “the mind of man, though fallen, [...] is nevertheless clothed and ornamented with God’s excellent gifts. If we regard the Spirit of God as the sole fountain of truth, we shall neither reject the truth itself, nor despise it wherever it shall appear, unless we wish to dishonour the Spirit of God.” Even after the Fall, humanity still bears the marks of God's goodness.
What is the relationship between God and Moral Obligation?
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone." (Mark 10:18)
Do you need God to have moral obligation (the idea that you ought to do something, regardless of how you feel about it)? Yes.
Despite moral relativism (the idea that what's right or wrong depends on where you live), we all believe that some things are not relative-- that they are right or wrong for everyone. The question is: where do these rules come from? Feeling, majority, or happiness are all subjective. So these rules don't come from what is natural. They stand above our biology, our psychology, our societies-- they are supernatural, in the literal sense of the word: above/beyond the natural. This means that the way we act has a supernatural principle of good influencing us to do what is right. The existence of God makes the best sense of our moral experience.
Christianity gives us a strong basis for pursuing justice for everyone, everywhere. But our application of it in the world should be non-oppressive-- we should pursue it with humility, without a feeling of superiority. As we pursue what is right in the world, we should do so with grace, as grace was shown to us.