Natural man is a beast of ego. We all wish to be seen as noble. Virtuous. We want the people around us to judge us as good and loving and dependable. We want to be called kind and brave.
No one goes out of their way to bring attention to their indecision or cowardice. Nobody shines the spotlight on their cruelty and untrustworthiness. No one revels in their own betrayals. Or if they do, that revelry is coupled with an explanation of how such behavior actually leads to a more important benefit; how they ought to be praised.
In our age of ever-increasing Moral Relativism, one of the most oft-quoted (and misunderstood) pieces of scripture is “Judge not” (Matthew 7:1). Typically, this not-quite-half-a-verse is levied as a weapon against a Christian who has the audacity to identify a behavior as sin. Sometimes it is wielded by a Christian to quiet the proclamation of a fellow Christian who has the audacity to identify a behavior as sin. Never before in the history of man has this verse been used against anyone who has had the audacity to identify a behavior as virtuous.
You see, it isn’t that natural man wishes to avoid judgment. Not at all. It is only scorn and ridicule we wish to deflect. And that makes sense from both Secular and Christian worldviews.
In the first, the biological drive to procreate is coupled with our sociological values. If members of the opposite sex see us as generous and kind and brave, it is presumed that we will be generous and kind and brave with our offspring, increasing the likelihood that they will survive and develop these traits, which increases the likelihood of finding mates to further spread the dominance of our germ line.
From a Christian perspective, we are to strive to be as Christ-like as we can. Christ is completely without sin. He is the perfect image of man: Loving, Courageous, Generous, Wise. If someone were to recognize one of those virtues in us, we feel good. We may be bolstered to continue in those ways. It is a signal that—as far as those around us can tell—we are acting as Christ would act. (Of course, we’re only deluding ourselves and, perhaps, setting ourselves up for some old fashioned self-idolatry, but that’s the shrewd deceptive style of Natural Man.)
It is unpopular in this world to assert that what is Good is known in the souls of all men, but this Truth is evidenced by the fact that we don’t give out medals for fleeing from battle. We don’t heap praise on the junkie who steals from his grandmother to finance his habit. We don’t sing songs about the kids who blow-up bullfrogs with firecrackers and shoot cats with BB guns. We don’t high five football coaches or pop stars for diddling little kids.
This is the very knowledge of Good and Evil—the acknowledgment of God’s decree—written on the hearts of all mankind, as proclaimed by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans (1:18-23). We know what can be known about God, but we suppress that knowledge and trust in ourselves to our own folly.
Even from a secular worldview, no man is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all fall short of our goals. We all fail to uphold the virtues we claim. If we don’t, then we aren’t striving at all; and if we aren’t trying to better ourselves and our world, then we have found apathy and laziness. Neither of which, by the way, are virtue.
In the end, we’re all just trying to separate ourselves from sin. The Secularist seeks salvation by ignoring sin. Or redefining it: Calling sin virtue. They seek to empty sin of its power over them by claiming the authority to identify what sin is. And in order to avoid the inevitable conflict of opinion, the Secularist must cling to the concept of Moral Relativism. You see, it’s not just that a given society judges what is right and wrong, but each individual gets to decide for himself what is right and wrong. Therefore, if you say drinking to excess is wrong, but I feel like going out and getting sloppy drunk, then I can say “Judge not. It may not be okay for you, but it’s not a problem for me.”
This Relativism stretches to some pretty astounding places. If I think it’s murder to kill a child in the womb, but you think it’s perfectly okay to obliterate a life form that possesses its own DNA and relies on you to nurture and protect it, all you have to say is “That’s just, like, my choice, man,” and your bloodshed is justified.
Now, of course, the limit of Moral Relativism lies where it must allow for a person to believe that Morality is defined by God. No, that won’t stand. If you believe that Holy Matrimony can include two men or two women, but I stand by Matthew 19:4-9, then your concept of morality has to trump mine. Because my view—that is, proper submission to God’s morality as final authority—would obliterate the foundation of yours:
Man is greater than God. Or more directly, Man is God.
No, there is no shelter there, because even within non-theistic communities, there has to be a higher authority. If we hold to pure Moral Relativism, there can be no Law. There can be no social mores. There can be no Justice, because no one does wrong in theor own mind; and even if they did, there’s an excuse or it was an accident. Mens rea is important to Justice, after all.
No, pure Moral Relativism denies cohesive society. It denies all culture. It ignores all values. Because its true goal is to eliminate sin and unburden the filthy soul of man. It seeks salvation from sin by rejecting its very existence.
But like everything else in our reality, denying what is True does nothing to make it false. 2 + 2 is 4. It doesn’t matter how far down this Orwellian wormhole we travel, 2 + 2 will never by 5. Men are men. Women are women. Babies, even unborn ones, are people. And it will never be okay to force another person into servitude under threat of death or poverty.
True protection from sin lies where the Moral Relativist sees only folly. By placing ourselves under God’s authority and accepting the sacrifice made for the men of all nations; by accepting the glory of the immortal God and rejecting the mere images of mortal man; by placing our trust in our savior, Jesus Christ, and denying our own imperfect judgments can we find a place to hide from our sins. But that authority can be hard to accept.
We would be required to believe that we are incapable of saving ourselves. We would be required to bend the knee to the author of all things. We would be required to reject our own estimation of Good and Evil and accept our own foolishness. We would be required to silence our egos and let our hearts be filled with His praises.
Only having placed our faith in Christ will we be delivered from our sins, for it was Christ “who was delievered up for our trespasses and raised for our justifications.”