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What is an ethic?  When people speak of  a work ethic, they are usually referring to a set of beliefs, attitudes, customs and assumptions that effect a person's performance on the job.  A biblical literacy ethic would include beliefs, attitudes, customs and assumptions that cause a person to be a thoroughly involved student of the word of God.  The following statements provide a set of beliefs, attitudes and assumptions to comprise an ethic useful for biblical literacy.  Consider the following scriptures.  This is not meant to be exhaustive. 

 

1.  We bow convicted that the God, who being personal, intelligent, transcendent, self-existent, holy, all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, completely wise, Creator & sustainer of all things, is the source of all truth. (Job 9:4; 12:13; 36:5; Isa. 40:26-28; Dan. 2:20; Rom. 16:25-26; Isa. 55:10-11; Ps. 31:5; Isa. 65:16; Ex. 34:6; Ps. 108:4; Ps. 57:10; 2 Sam. 7:28; Jn. 17:17; Ps 119:151)

a.       "God is wise in heart and mighty in strength"--Job 9:4.

b.      "With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding"-- Job 12:13.

c.       "Behold, God is mighty, but despises no one; He is mighty in strength of understanding"--Job 36:5.

d.       "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, The Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary and His understanding is unfathomable"-Isa 40: 28.

e.       "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His"-- Dan. 2:20.

f.        "And now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant"--2 Sam. 7:28.

g.       "Your word is truth" Jn 17:17

h.       "You are near, O Lord, and all Your commandments are truth"--Ps 119:151.

i.         "The word of the Lord endures forever"--1 Pet. 1:25.

 

2. We acknowledge Divine truth, which flows from the wisdom of God, communicates & demonstrates the eternal & ethical nature of God

a.       Since God exists, then, ethical truth exists since it arises from His Divine Nature (Ps. 31:5; Isa. 65:16; 2 Sam. 7:28; Ex. 34:6; Ps. 108:4; Ps. 57:10; Jhn. 17:17; Ps. 119:160)

b.       Since God is personal, then, He speaks, works with and responds on behalf of His creation, namely humanity. Truth is His communication and He creatively utilizes a wide variety of literature to gain the attention of humanity and provide as many opportunities for comprehension of His truths as is possible and necessary.  (Gen. 1-3; I Kngs. 18:20-40; Ps. 115: 1-12; Jere. 10:1-10; Heb. 1:1-4; Jn 1:1,14, 2 Tim. 3:16, Heb. 4:12)

c.       Since God is immutable (free from change, totally consistent in action and thought, no irrationality), then His truth is consistent and rational.  (Num. 23:19; Mal. 3:6; Gen. 21:33; Duet. 33:27)  Truth is absolute and unchanging because God is absolute and unchanging in nature.

d.       Since God has in his nature simplicity (free from conflict in nature, behavior or action) then truth is consistent and free of confusion or contradiction that is most prevalent in human judgment.  (Duet. 6:6; I Cor. 8:4,6; Eph. 4:1-4; John 17:20,21) i.e. God's truth does not bring about "double jeopardy" but His judgments are truly equitable.  The consistency of God's judgment stands Him apart from the nature of human judgment.  Divine judgment is at the core of divine holiness in that God stands apart from human nature.

e.       Since God is Infinite or omnipresent (free from limitations of space/time) then His truth is not bound to culture or age. Truth is universal and addresses the universal needs of humanity.  Even though the Bible is an historical document written in other cultures from antiquity, it reveals ethical truth that applies to every age and human culture since God knows no bounds of space and time.  (Gen. 21:33; Duet 33:27; Isa. 57:15; I kng. 8:27; Mark 16:16-18)

f.         Since God is omnipotent (all-powerful), then His revealed truth in all forms is full of power that can influence and change the human events and the human heart for the better.  Divine truth is bonded by the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1-3; Ps. 33: 6,9; Heb. 11:3; 2 Pet. 3:5; Rom. 1:16; Heb. 4:12).

g.       Since God is omniscient (all-knowing) then, His truth is fully sufficient and trustworthy for guiding the direction of the human heart since the creator of the universe is its source.  (Isa. 40: 28,29; Ps. 19:7-9; Ps 119: 89, 128, 137-138, 142, 160; I Cor. 1:25; 2 Tim. 3:16)

h.       Since God is transcendent (Rising above, excelling, surpassing; theologically--apart from the material universe) then, His truth rises above Human or earthly wisdom.  (Isa. 55:6-11;Duet. 29:29; Ps 139:6; Prov. 30:4; Isa. 40:28; Matt. 11:27; Rom. 11:33; I Cor. 1:18-2:5; I Cor. 2:10-16; I Tim. 1:17

 

3.  We confess that the Bible called the Holy Scriptures (the 66 books) was originally given by God through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, entirely without error in concept, empowered by the Holy Spirit, being relevant to all ages & cultures, all-sufficient for life and godliness are useful for teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness so that the people of God are completely equipped for every good work.  The Lord’s word is all-sufficient.

a.       “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue”—2 Pet. 1:3

b.      “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making the simple wise; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring  forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb, moreover by them there is greater reward”—Ps 19:7-11.

c.       “God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed”—2 Cor. 9:8.

d.       “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteous, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”—2 Tim. 3:16, 17.

e.       “For whatever things were written before through the perseverance and comfort of the scriptures might have hope”—Ro. 15:4.

f.        “We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”—2 Pet. 1:19-21.

g.       “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation..”.—Ro. 1:16.

h.       “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”    Ro. 8:1, 2

 

4.  We acknowledge that God; who being personal in nature and desiring to reveal Himself and His ethical truth to humanity; revealed His truth as an expression of His grace while creatively utilizing various forms of communication (Jesus being the highest expression of God’s nature) to capture the imagination and appreciation for beauty He created within the human heart to bring us to a full relationship to Him and to a full knowledge of His will.

a.       Heb. 1:1-4

b.      John 1:1,14

c.       Proverbs 1:1-7 (example)

 

5. We humbly admit that it is not within the human heart to guide the direction of life: that the human heart is by all means deceitful; because of futility of mind; darkened in understanding; being alienated from the life of God; having ignorance within, because of being hardened to being beyond feeling; all humanity have given themselves over to opposition towards God in immorality.  Therefore, all humanity has the universal need for the guidance from their Creator through His communicated truth found in the written word of God.

a.       “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?  I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind”—Jeremiah 17:9-10.

b.       Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’ “  After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.  “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him `unclean’?  For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)  He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ .  For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,  greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’”—Mark 7:15-23

c.       I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.—Jeremiah 10:23

d.       To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;  in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.  No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.  Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.—Psalm 25:1-5

e.       As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”  “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”  “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”  “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.  But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.—Romans 3:10-24

 

6. We affirm that an all-consuming respect for the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, understanding and wisdom to live a life worthy of the gospel for which we have been called. (Prov. 1:7; 2:5,6; 9:10; 15:32).

a.       The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”—Prov. 1:7.

b.      “Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God, for the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding”—Prov. 2:5, 6.

c.       “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”—Prov. 9:10.

d.       “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”—Ecc. 12:13.

e.       “The fear of the Lord is to hate the evil way; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate”—Prov. 8:13.

f.        “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.—Colossians 1:27-28; See also Ephesians 4:1-3

 

7. We acknowledge that loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength is the greatest motive for imitating God in all His values and morality while becoming disciples to Him—accompanied with an all-consuming conviction and confident expectation toward an eternal future supplied by God.

a.       “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength”—Mk 22:34, Mat. 22:37 (Deut. 6:5).

8. We affirm that we are responsible for our own spiritual condition and maturity in the Lord and we acknowledge accountability to grow to our greatest potential within our ability.

a.         In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.  Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.  What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!  Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness—Romans 6:11-18

b.      In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!   Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.  Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And God permitting, we will do so.—Hebrews 5:11-6:3

c.        So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.  Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.  He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.  Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.—2 Peter 3:14-18

 

9. We acknowledge that God requires of us only what we are capable of doing. When He requires of us to go beyond our abilities, God supplies the grace to achieve it to His glory.

a.       Ephesians 3:20-21

b.       Philippians 4:13

10. We recognize that all believers are the expression of God’s power to save humanity, to transform each human heart from glory to glory by the work of the Holy Spirit, to set apart believers for ministry and to unite us through Christ Jesus who is our peace for the glory of Almighty God.

a.       "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.  "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.—Matt. 5:13-14

b.       For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?  Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.—2 Cor. 2:14-17

c.       Consider 2 Cor. 3:1-4:7 ;Consider Ephesians 2:1-10, 14-22, 4:1-16

               

©2001 Thomas L. Reed II

 
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