Written In Every Man's Heart

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The secular world likes to think of morality as something that one has to prove to oneself before adopting it. It likes to think that those who have proved to themselves that abortion, fornication, theft, sodomy, and contraception are wrong, and can give convincing theorems as to why such things are wrong, are bound on that basis to observe them themselves, but that everyone else is free.Those who have not come to any conclusion as to why these things are wrong are free to do these things in utter innocence. The world tries to deny altogether that the knowledge of evil in these things is already written in every man's heart.

In light of this, there is a curious fact about the way that Christ Himself teaches morality. When He teaches what is right and wrong, very seldom does He go into explaining why certain actions are right and why other actions are wrong. (An instance of one of the rare exceptions to this, when Christ does explain why something is wrong, would be His teaching on the fact that divorce and remarriage constitutes adultery for all men. (Matt.19:1-9)

Generally, however, He operates on the basis that everyone can already see perfectly well that this or that is wrong, and that no one needs explanations of why. What He concentrates on are the excuses. He shows how the various excuses for sin, all excuses, are false, and a sham. Nobility of birth is no excuse from the observance of the Command- ments. Nor is the fact that one is generally observing human, man-made laws. Nor is the fact that one prays to God upon occasion, nor that one accepts Christ as one's Saviour (Matt.7:21-23). Nor that one has never seen any miracles performed (Luke 16:19-31). That everything in this world is going so well that there seems to be no need to turn to God for help is no excuse (Luke 12:16-21). Urgent business affairs (Luke 14:18-19), worldly cares (Matt.13:22), severe persecution of moral behavior or the possibility of such severe per- secution (Matt.13:21), the tribulation involved in obeying God's laws (Matt.13:21)-none of these are valid excuses for refusing to repent, or for falling into unrepentance.

If one does something contrary to God's law, long term, one will not only know that it is wrong, but will also know that such bad behavior cannot come, after all, from a heart that is good. Bad fruit cannot come from a good tree (Matt.7:16-19; 12:33). Murder and adultery defile a person (Matt.15:18-20). This defilement does not have to wait until the person sits down and figures things out in some kind of logical way. The defilement occurs in an automatic way because the knowledge of the evil of such things is already written in each person's heart.

And many other instances of Christ's concentration on this point-on the utter futility of excuses for sin-can be brought forward. Christ teaches morality on the basis that you do not have to explain why something is right and why something is wrong. It is innate with rationality itself. Christ taught that there is only one body of correct moral truth, the Ten Commandments, readily obvious to everyone, and that everyone must commit himself to it in order to be saved. The battle does not consist in finding out what moral truth is, but in following moral truth and resisting the shameful excuses that present themselves from every side.

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