Is Christianity, when you get right down to it, just about obeying the “Christian rules” and ethical guidelines for life, instead of whatever former ethical standards we had before becoming Christians?
But that does not mean that our faith in Jesus is without ethical implications. In fact, it is obvious that there are behaviors and ethics that are definitely un-Christian.
In the Bible, ethics seem to be about two things:
(1) What is the God of the Bible really like, and
(2) How do people who claim to be in relationship with the God of the Bible demonstrate what their God is like by the way they live?
In other words – ETHICS are about THEOLOGY (God) and MISSION (witnessing). They are not really about salvation. So ethics are not the rules to obey in order to become Christians. Ethics are about the way the “saved people” live inside the world while the un-believing world watches them live.
In his book “The Mission of God’s People” author Christopher Wright notes that in both Old and New Testaments, God’s people are to be known as (1) The People Who Represent God to the World, and (2) The People Who Attract the World to God.
These conclusions are based on texts like Lev. 20:26, 26:12, and 1 Pet. 1:16, 2:9. Perhaps the verse that ties all four texts together is Isaiah 43:10. Here, God is saying (my paraphrase)…
“I am the only God who actually exists. I have chosen you to be the people who are witnesses to this fact – so that the world will come to me as the only true God.”
With this in mind, the people of God have to ask themselves an important question:
“If we are not different from the world that follows the non-gods of idolatry and atheism, then how will we be capable of being witnesses to the true and only God?”
Biblically speaking, it is impossible.
Witnessing is not simply saying: “God is like this and that, so believe in Him.”
Witnessing is more like: “God has changed my life, and is being reflected in my actions, lifestyle, relationships, and conduct in the world – therefore, submit your life to him as I have, and he will change you too” (Mat. 28:18-20).
This is the challenge, and the ethical side of witnessing!
Okay – your turn. Do you see the relationship (if any) between ethics and witnessing? Jump in to the comments below and be part of the dialogue.