Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 9 September 2018
Page 6

Behavior Benchmarks

Wayne Barrier

Wayne BarrierThe Bible provides the basis for us to make decisions from day to day and in all situations concerning right and wrong behavior. We tend to follow social norms in deciding what is acceptable behavior. This approach allows us to adjust behavior based on current values and social trends. The result is (1) the acceptance of abortion, homosexuality and perverted sexual norms, (2) aggressive, selfish and greedy lifestyles, (3) dishonesty in every relationship, including family, business and government, and (4) disregard for the needs of the less fortunate among us. We must return to using biblical benchmarks to assess behavior and determine right and wrong in every situation and on every issue.

The best place to start is with the response of Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40 when He was asked what was the greatest commandment. His response was, “And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all you mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” These commands are repeated over and over as the apostles taught believers and followers of Jesus in the first century (Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). Luke’s account of this question (Luke 10:27-37) includes the story of the “good Samaritan.”

Other benchmarks that reflect this basic commandment are provided to address specific situations and attitudes. These include the calls for us to (1) love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), (2) love one another (John 13:35), (3) love Jesus by keeping His commandments (John 14:15), (4) love others enough to give our lives for them (John 15:13-14), (5) be patient, kind, compassionate, without envy, modest, humble, honest, considerate, unresentful and filled with love for biblical truth (1 Corinthians 13), (6) walk by faith in Jesus and His teaching (2 Corinthians 5:7), (7) walk in love (Ephesians 5:2), (8) be kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32), (9) bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2).

Biblical instruction is clear and simple regarding right behavior, values and attitudes, and biblical instruction is also easy to understand. There are consequences for ignoring Scripture (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:12-15; James 1:21-27). We can choose to ignore this teaching, but we will suffer, and we will continue to see a decline of society, be rejected by God and stand condemned in eternity. The choice should be easy to make. Don’t let your behavior condemn you.

Let There Be Light Again

Caleb Boggs

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). At the beginning of time, darkness enveloped the earth. Then, God spoke. He said, “Let there be light,” and thus was the dawning of creation (Genesis 1). Man was soon after formed in the image of God, but almost immediately, he fell into isolation and spiritual darkness (Genesis 3).

The rest of the Old Testament was spent in anticipation of a new light (Isaiah 9:1-7). Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4 that this light has now shined upon man. This light has illuminated the way back into the presence of the Father and signals the dawning of a new creation, a re-creation. This light is the Gospel!

To truly know the Gospel is to behold the glory of Christ, the perfect image of God. When we encounter the Lord’s glory, we “are being transformed into the same image” (2 Corinthians 3:18), “are renewed day by day” (4:16) and are being made into “a new creation” (5:17).

When did you last get to experience a sunrise? Early this morning, I saw the sunrise at a nearby state park, and it was magnificent. As dawn broke, sunlight encircled creation and reflected off the lake there. Nature sprang to life!

The Word of God is the light of life (John 1:1-5). As we step into the Gospel light and allow it to shine upon us, the image of God encases our being and reflects from our hearts. Light gives life, but only to those who choose to bask in it (John 8:12).

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