Jesus challenged the Jewish people to be godly. His teaching emphasis made several truths obvious. (1) For a person to be godly, he or she must be moral. (2) Morality arises from the internal condition of the person and is reflected by his or her external behavior. (3) A person's behavior does not always prove he or she is moral. [A person may "wear" the morality mask for motives that neither express faith in God nor a commitment to morality.] (4) However, if one's heart and conscience is moral, his or her internal morality expresses itself in his or her behavior.

From our perspective, Jesus' challenges and teachings about morality were given to a strange audience. His audience was the conservative, religious standard bearers inside a religious nation. Why would he teach conservative, religious believers about principles of morality? Why did people who believed in God need lessons on morality? Unfortunately, they did what many religious people still do. They separated godliness from morality. Jesus declared it was impossible to separate the two. A godly person must be a moral person, and a moral person must be a godly person.

One reason for people who are not Christians resenting people who are Christians is based on Christian moral expectations. Too many Christians expect those who are not Christians to be bound by Christian morals. Yet, these Christians are not bound by the morality they teach. Hopefully, such Christians are a minority, but they exist. Too many Christians regard Christian morality to be essential in theory. Yet, they do not consider those morals to be the standards for daily life.

If Christian morality is to become the positive force Jesus intended, Christians must be the light of the world, the city on a hill, and the salt of the earth. Society must be blessed by our lives. Our standards must benefit the community. Homes, families, work relationships, and human relationships must be improved by our standards and our behavior. Our lives, our families, and our spiritual community bless people who live among us.

On election day, November 7, this state will decide the status of gambling. If gambling is legalized, our city and county is a designated site for legalized gambling activity. For the residents of Sebastian County, this decision determines what happens in our community.

Bill Wheeler will be our speaker Sunday evening. He has served as a minister of the church in West Memphis, Arkansas. Presently, he is Executive Director of Families First Action Committee. This committee exists to promote and encourage values that will strengthen families in Arkansas. He will encourage us to be informed about the problems produced by legalized gambling. He encourages Christians throughout the state to oppose Amendment 5 when they vote November 7.

May we do more than support moral stands. May we be godly, moral people. May we not restrict our actions to acts of good citizenship. May we live in a manner that demonstrates the value of godliness and human compassion in Christian morality.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 22 October 2000

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