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Lesson 10 ~ Christian Ethics ~ God, Sin and Christian Character Part 1 & 2 ~ Essay

By:  Rev. Trent Murman

 

List ten (10) assumptions that indicate why not all "good men" are Christians.

1. The universe is self-existent and self-contained, within which man has evolved to the position of the highest form of animal life.

2. Man has intelligence and the capacity for social adjustment and control, but is essentially a part of nature.

3. There is no purpose in the universe except that which man gives it.

4. Right and wrong have no objective validation beyond group standards.

5. The good life is that which is expedient for happiness and the satisfaction of man's desires.

6. Evil and maladjustment exist, but sin is an outmoded concept.

7. All improvement comes through education and the application of various forms of social pressure, psychological, economic, or political.

8. Man has no source of support, for either the good life or the conquest of suffering, except the resources in himself and his group.

9. Each man's personal existence ends with his biological death.

10. Jesus has no special significance except as an influential historical figure around whom the church, as a social institution and phase of culture, has been organized.

Briefly explain why a person cannot hold these assumptions as his basic convictions and still be a Christian.  . One who holds them as his basic convictions may be a respectable, law-abiding, and even altruistic person, but he is not a Christian.

Briefly state two (2) erroneous positions regarding fractionalism and moralism as indicated in Lesson IX.  One is to draw up a list of Christian virtues — honesty, generosity, courtesy, veracity, and the like — and define a Christian by their possession. The other is to define being a Christian in terms extraneous to moral qualities, as by right beliefs or church membership or faithful observance of the sacraments or some metaphysical change assumed to be wrought by conversion.

State the nine (9) affirmations mentioned in Matthew's Gospel which draws a clear picture of Christian character.

1. The universe is self-existent and self-contained, within which man has evolved to the position of the highest form of animal life.

2. Man has intelligence and the capacity for social adjustment and control, but is essentially a part of nature.

3. There is no purpose in the universe except that which man gives it.

4. Right and wrong have no objective validation beyond group standards.

5. The good life is that which is expedient for happiness and the satisfaction of man's desires.

6. Evil and maladjustment exist, but sin is an outmoded concept.

7. All improvement comes through education and the application of various forms of social pressure, psychological, economic, or political.

8. Man has no source of support, for either the good life or the conquest of suffering, except the resources in himself and his group.

9. Each man's personal existence ends with his biological death.

10. Jesus has no special significance except as an influential historical figure around whom the church, as a social institution and phase of culture, has been organized.

 List the nine (9) words describing Christian Virtues in Paul's letter to the Galatians.  The fruit of the Spirit, says Paul in Gal. 5:22, is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."

Briefly state three (3) points beyond the words themselves must be noted. 

First, these virtues are not the product simply of human cultivation; they are the "fruit of the Spirit," the result of the indwelling presence of God as he comes to us in Christ.

Second, the verb is "is" and not "are"; they make a constellation of personality, not a collection of nine traits joined at random.

And third, Paul disclaims legalism, as we must, when he adds after this inclusive picture of the Christian life, "against such there is no law."

Give examples of two (2) places in the New Testament where portrayals of Christian virtues can be found as indicated in Lesson IX.  Rom. 12, as a whole, is devoted to this portrayal, as is I Cor. 13. Doubtless the reason why the twenty-third psalm and the Corinthian ode to love, with the Lord's Prayer, are the most familiar passages in the Bible is that they gather up so perfectly the faith and love which lie at the base of Christian character.

Briefly state Calvin's "definition" of original sin.  Original sin, therefore, appears to be an hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused through all the parts of the soul. . . . And therefore infants themselves, . . . though they have not yet produced the fruits of their iniquity, yet they have the seed of it within them; even their whole nature is as it were a seed of sin, and therefore cannot but be odious and abominable to God.

List three (3) questions that commonly confront Christians in daily life. 

Is it right ever for a Christian to kill his fellow men?

Ought a Christian ever to lie, or steal, or cheat?

What of the sins of the flesh?

As indicated in Lesson X, what is the message of Good Friday and of Easter and of our total Christian faith?  God's victory over sin. Sin and judgment are never God's last words, for "God so loved the world" that he gave his Son for our redemption. This is the message of Good Friday and of Easter, and of our total Christian faith.

Go In Peace
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