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 (Essential Biblical Doctrines)
Christian Ethics
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Christian Ethics

I.       PART ONE: A CHRISTIAN’S FAMILY LIFE

David made this remark, “I will give heed to the way that is blameless” (Ps 101:2). The Lord Jesus also said, “Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” (Mt 5:15).

Christian responsibility to family life includes overseeing one’s entire household is saved by the Lord Jesus. Every Christian should abide by God’s way and shine God’s light at home, which may convince unbelieving family members of the faith or compel family members to love the Lord all the more.

II.    Marriage

A.     Marriage Is Instituted by God

God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18–23; cf. Gen 24:12–14; Mk 10:9; 1 Cor 11:11).

B.     Marriage Is Honorable by All (Heb 13:4)

1.        Do not choose a partner indiscriminately, rather, choose carefully (Gen 6:2).

2.        Do not defile the marriage bed (Heb 13:4).

3.        Jacob was engaged to Rachel for seven years, yet he kept himself apart from her until they got married (Gen 29:20, 21; cf. Mt 1:18, 19; 2 Cor 11:2).

C.     Do Not be Married with Unbelievers (Deut 7:3, 4; Josh 23:11–13).

1.        Abraham made Eliezer, his servant, swear he would not marry Issac to a Canaanite woman (Gen 24:2–4).

2.        Solomon sinned against God because he married pagan women (Neh 13:23–27).

3.        This law still stands in the New Testament—do not marry unbelievers (1 Cor 7:39; 2 Cor 6:14–18).

D.     Monogamy Is the Original Lawful Institution

1.        God created one man and one woman in the beginning (Gen 2:25; cf. Mal 2:15).

2.        The two become one flesh (Gen 2:24; Eph 5:31).

3.        A man with two wives, both of which he married before his Christian conversion, should not be ordained as a minister
(1 Tim 3:2, 12; Tit 1:6).

E.     Is Divorce Lawful?

1.        Paul said, “But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so” (1 Cor 7:15). But he continued saying to the believing spouse, “How do you know whether you will save your husband?” (1 Cor 7:16; cf. 1 Pet 3:1). Here, Paul implies a deserted spouse may not divorce because he or she may possibly save the unbelieving spouse. Generally speaking, if a wife separates, Paul counsels that she should remain single or else be reconciled to her husband (Mk 10:11, 12; 1 Cor 7:11); for divorce is an indignation to God (Mal 2:16).

2.        Only under one condition can believers be divorced—when one spouse commits adultery and the other remains faithful (Mt 5:31, 32, 19:8, 9; cf. Deut 22:20, 21).

F.      After the death of her husband, a woman may be married again (Rom 7:2, 3; 1 Cor 7:8, 9, 39).

G.     Celibacy Is Good for the Ministry

1.        It is good for ministers of the church to remain celibate, however, celibacy is a gift of God (1 Cor 7:25–35; cf. Mt 19:10–12).

2.        The church should not forbid marriage (1 Tim 4:1–3).

H.    Parents Should Concern Themselves With Their Children’s Marriage

1.        Be sure to guide your children to follow God’s will in marriage (Gen 24:1–6, 28:1–3).

2.        It is a great sin to make your daughter a prostitute (Lev 19:29; Deut 23:17).

3.        Never bring the money made in prostitution into God’s temple (Deut 23:18).

III. Relationship Between A Husband And His Wife

A.     How Should a Husband Treat His Wife?

1.        As Christ loves the church, so should a husband love his wife as his own body (Eph 5:25, 28, 29).

2.        A husband ought to honor his wife, and he should be considerate of her weaknesses (1 Pet 3:7).

3.        Never mistreat your wife (Col 3:19; Mal 2:16).

4.        Take your wife’s opinions into account (1 Cor 7:3–5).

5.        Live joyfully with your wife (Eccl 9:9; cf. Gen 24:67; Song 4:7–15).

6.        A prudent wife is a gift from the Lord (Prov 18:22, 19:14).

B.     How Should a Wife Treat Her Husband?

1.        As the church submits to Christ, so should a wife submits herself to her husband (Eph 5:22–24; Col 3:18; 1 Pet 3:1–5).

2.        The wife respects her husband, just as Sarah called Abraham lord (Eph 5:33; 1 Pet 3:6).

3.        The wife does not rule over her own body, just as a husband doesn’t rule over his own body (1 Cor 7:3–5).

4.        The wife should help her husband, just as Eve was Adam’s helper (Gen 2:18).

5.        Proverbs 31:10–31 highly extols a virtuous wife:

·         She does her husband good all the days of her life (v. 12).

·         She is hardworking and efficient (vv. 13, 18, 19, 24).

·         She is good at housekeeping (vv. 15, 16, 21, 24, 27).

·         She is kind and tender (v. 20).

·         She has wisdom (v. 26).

·         She fears God (v. 30).

All wives are exhorted to be virtuous wives.

6.        Women should not emphasize outward adorning, rather, they should adorn themselves with sobriety and inner virtues (1 Tim 2:9–11; 1 Pet 3:3–5).

7.        A depraved woman is like rottenness in the bones of her husband (Prov 12:4, 21:9; Judg 16:15–21).

8.        Modern feminist thought often criticizes the biblical view of women and wives, however, one must always keep humility and love in mind. A husband and wife relationship is built on love, not authority.

IV.  Relationship Between Parents And Children

A.     The Responsibility of Parents

The family is the seedbed of religious education. Parents should educate their children in the faith.

1.        Teach your children to fear God (Gen 18:19; Ps 71:18, 78:3–8).

 a.      David charged Solomon to fear God and to walk in his ways (1 Kgs 2:1–4).

 b.      Cornelius guided his entire household to fear God (Acts 10:1, 2).

 c.      Noah, Joshua, and many others worshipped God with their entire household (Gen 7:1; Josh 24:15; 2 Pet 2:5).

2.        Bring your children up in the Lord (Eph 6:4).

 a.      Children are a heritage from the Lord (Ps 127:3). They will inherit the grace of life from their parents (cf. 1 Pet 3:7).

 b.      Parents should have loving concern for their children, educating them rather than provoking them (Col 3:21; cf. Mt 19:13, 14; Mic 2:9).

 c.      Parents are required to teach their children the Scriptures from their childhood, and to build them upon the foundation of faith (2 Tim 3:15; cf. Deut 6:6, 7; Prov 22:6; 2 Tim 1:5). Joseph and Daniel had a firm foundation of faith from their childhood and thereby became upright men (cf. Gen 37:2, 28, 39:9; Dan 1:4, 8).

3.        Correct children whenever they are wrong.

 a.      Eli did not chastise his two sons, and they died of their transgressions (1 Sam 2:12–25, 29–34).

 b.      Job’s loving concern for his children’s spiritual welfare was shown in that, after his children’s feast, Job sent and sanctified them—offering burnt offerings for them in fear they sinned and cursed God (Job 1:5).

 c.      “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart” (Prov 29:17).

4.        Pray for your children at all times (1 Chr 29:19; Lk 23:28).

5.        The ultimate goal of raising your children is to make them sanctified vessels who will live for the Lord. You should raise them to contribute to humanity and to glorify God (cf. 1 Sam 1:28; Rom 12:1, 14:7, 8; 1 Cor 6:20; 2 Tim 2:21).

B.     Filial Obligation

1.        Children should honor their parents (Ex 20:12). Children are obligated to respect their parents, since they lovingly bear them, nourish them and educate them. Children should therefore love, respect, honor, and take care of their parents (1 Tim 5:4).

2.        A central concern of children should be to honor their parents

 a.      Children are to obey their parents in the Lord, i.e., as long as it is not contrary to God’s word. Children need not obey their parents if they are told to forsake God or do evil.

 b.      Children should accept their parent’s instructions (Prov 13:1, 15:5; Heb 12:7–9).

 c.      Children should not mistreat or fail their parents (Prov 19:26).

 d.      Children should not despise their parents (Prov 15:5, 23:22). As a king, Solomon respected and honored his mother very much (1 Kgs 2:19).

 e.      Children should not curse their parents (Lev 20:9; Mt 15:4).

3.        Children should provide for their parents when they are able.

 a.      Ruth provided for Naomi, her mother-in-law, by gleaning corn during their poverty (Ruth 2:2).

 b.      The Lord Jesus tells us not to leave our parents comfortless, in spite of the offerings we have to make to God (Mk 7:10–12).

 c.      Before his death on the cross, Jesus provided for his mother by entrusting John to take care of her (Jn 19:26, 27).

4.        Children should bring their parents to the Lord, in order to share together in the heavenly blessing (cf. Mk 5:19; Acts 16:31; Rom 9:1–3).

5.        Contempt for one’s parents is a curse (Deut 27:16).

 a.      “If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness” (Prov 20:20; cf. Prov 30:17).

 b.      Absalom usurped his father’s kingship, and he tried to kill David during the revolt. As a result of violating the Fifth Commandment, Absalom himself was pierced to death (2 Sam 15:13, 14, 18:9–15).

6.        Blessed are those who honor and provide for their parents (Ex 20:12; Eph 6:2, 3).

 a.      Joseph, an obedient son, was eager to learn whether his father was in good health when he met his brothers in Egypt (Gen 43:27, 28). Although Joseph was occupying a high position, he did not forget to send for his father, a rustic shepherd, in order to reunite with him and to provide for him (Gen 46:29, 30).

 b.      Ruth honored and provided for her mother-in-law, a poor and lowly widow (Ruth 1:16, 17, 2:2–17, 18, 3:11). God blessed her and guided her to marry a prosperous and kind-hearted man named Boaz (Ruth 2:1, 4:13). King David was three generations down in Ruth’s lineage (Ruth 4:17; cf. 2 Sam 15:1–5).

V.     Ethical Principles In Dealing With Siblings

A.     Brethren Ought to Get Along Harmoniously (Ps 133:1).

1.        Parents are happy when siblings get along in unity, harmony, and pleasantness (cf. Gen 27:41, 42; 2 Sam 13:37).

2.        The following are ways to keep unity and harmony among brethren:

 a.      Have no envy (Gen 37:11; Acts 7:9).

 b.      Have no resentment or hatred (Gen 37:4; Lev 19:17).

 c.      Be tolerant (Gen 13:8, 9; 1 Cor 6:7, 8).

 d.      Be forgiving (Gen 50:15–21; Col 3:13).

B.     Brethren Help in Times of Need (Prov 17:17)

1.        Lend others what they need to survive (Deut 15:7–11).

2.        “You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit” (Lev 25:35–37; Deut 23:19, 20).

3.        Extend your assistance and take good care of your brethren in their sicknesses (Job 42:11; cf. Job 19:13; Mt 25:36).

4.        Abraham risked his life to save Lot (Gen 14:13–16).

5.        To fail to provide for one’s household is to deny the faith (1 Tim 5:8).

C.     The Spiritual Teachings of Levirate Marriage (Deut 25:5–10; cf. Mt 22:24).

1.        In the Old Testament, Levirate marriage (i.e., the marrying of a dead brother’s widow to carry on the brother’s line) was a common practice in Israel. Today, the Christian Church has no practice similar to Levirate marriage. However, Levirate marriage illustrates the loving obligation that exists among brethren (Gen 38:7, 8).

2.        Rahab begged the Israelite spies to take her and her relatives under their protection (Jos 2:12, 14, 6:23).

3.        Paul, in order to have the names of his kinsmen written in heaven, was prepared to cut himself off from Christ. People often feel wonderful when their names are recorded, especially in ancient culture; but to give up one’s name was a loving sacrifice (Rom 9:3; cf. Rev 21:27; Lk 10:20).

VI.  A Christian’s “Family” Life In The Larger Community

The Lord Jesus said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Lk 8:21).

Paul made a similar remark, “Do not rebuke an older man but exhort him as you would a father; treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity” (1 Tim 5:1, 2).

We must extend a universal and family-type love to other believers and society (2 Pet 1:7).

1.        Job treated widows, orphans, and the poor like his own family (Job 31:16–22).

2.        The relation between Paul and Timothy was like father and son (1 Tim 1:2, 4; 2 Tim 1:2; 1 Cor 4:17).

3.        Visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction (Jas 1:27; 1 Tim 5:16; Deut 10:18, 27:19; Jer 49:11)

4.        Let brotherly love last forever (Heb 13:1; Mt 23:8; Rom 12:10; 1 Jn 4:20, 21).

VII.           PART TWO: A CHRISTIAN’S SOCIAL LIFE

The Lord Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid” (Mt 5:13, 14). The Lord never commanded the disciples to separate themselves from society like hermits, rather, he told them to follow God’s will in this evil world. Being the salt of the earth, Christians should season humanity with the knowledge and grace of God. Like salt, Christians preserve society from corruption through the example of their life and doctrines. As the light of the world, Christians should guide the world to walk on the path of brightness and salvation (Phil 2:14–16).

VIII.        Education

The principle of Christian life is to glorify God and benefit humankind (1 Cor 6:20, 10:24; Rom 15:2).

The Church does not forbid believers from being educated in secular institutions. However, the Christian goal of a child’s education should be remembered. Both children and their parents should recognize the goal of secular education is not to enhance one’s social status, dignity, popularity, or wealth. Rather, children should apply what they learn in secular institutions for God’s glory and work—preparing themselves as acceptable vessels to God. Below are some examples of godly people who applied their education to God’s work:

A.     Moses Was Instructed in All the Wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22)

1.        Moses had high social status and could easily have enjoyed the courtly honor and pleasures in Egypt. Instead, Moses chose to suffer with his people and deliver them out of their bondage (Heb 11:23–27; Acts 7:24).

2.        God delivered Israel out of Egypt through Moses. In the wilderness, God gave the law to Israel through Moses—the “Mosaic” law. Thus the Torah was first given to Moses, then to God’s people. Moses’ Egyptian education was undoubtedly conducive to his leadership and writing of the law through God’s guidance (cf. Jn 1:17; Acts 7:22).

B.     Daniel Acquired the Learning and Language of the Chaldeans (Dan 1:3–5, 17)

1.        From his childhood, Daniel had a strong faith and godly principles (Dan 1:8). Later, Daniel and his three friends were chosen to serve the king of Babylon because they were highly educated. God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, these four young students were ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in the king’s kingdom (Dan 1:17–21).

2.        After the completion of his education, Daniel was appointed to stand in the king’s palace, and to preside over his affairs (cf. Dan 1:4). Later on, king Darius intended to make Daniel the Persian kingdom’s prime minister due to Daniel’s good character and excellent spirit (Dan 6:1–5). Daniel’s adversaries contrived a new law in the hope of ensnaring him. Due to Daniel’s adversaries, he was cast into the lions’ den; yet, God still preserved Daniel’s life—a miracle which made Darius glorify God.

3.        Daniel, the learned and beloved man of God, glorified God among unbelievers. Through his high social status Daniel still managed to glorify God and bring God’s blessing to his countrymen (Dan 6:6–10, 16–18).

C.     Paul, the Outstanding Student of Gamaliel, Was a Learned Pharisee

1.        Gamaliel, a noted Pharisee, and teacher of the law, had a good reputation among the Jewish community (Acts 5:34–40). Later, under Gamaliel’s direction, Paul became known as a learned man (cf. Acts 26:24).

2.        Paul was a Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin (Phil 3:5) and a native of Tarsus, the third-ranking learning center of the time, being surpassed at the time only by Athens and Alexandria. Paul was born a Roman citizen (Acts 22:28), being of an influential family; thus, Paul was exposed to Jewish, Hellenistic, and Roman knowledge and culture. Before his conversion, Paul’s extensive learning made him proud and self-righteous (cf. Acts 9:1, 2; 1 Cor 8:1).

3.        After Paul’s conversion to Christianity, he became a vessel of righteousness acceptable to the Lord. By God’s grace, Paul vigorously proclaimed the gospel of Christ. The Lord Jesus revealed the hidden mystery of the word to Paul, and by him, many enlightening and authentically inspired epistles became part of the biblical canon (Rom 16:25; Gal 1:11, 12; cf. Mt 13:52).

IX.  Career

A.     Work Honestly (Eph 4:28)

1.        “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up” (1 Cor 10:23). All jobs are equally important if they build people up physically and spiritually. Like the members of a body, various career choices serve their respective functions in society. However, Christians should not engage themselves in ungodly businesses such as gambling casinos, night clubs, brothels, and the like (cf. Deut 23:17, 18; Tit 3:14).

2.        Carpentry was considered a menial vocation in Jesus’ time; yet, God allowed his only Son to be born in the house of a carpenter (cf. Mt 13:55). Christians should respect those in “menial” vocations, e.g., janitors, cab drivers, and the like. People in “menial” jobs contribute no less to the overall social welfare than those in “higher” fields of occupation (cf. Lk 16:15; 1 Cor 12:22, 23).

B.     Slavery and Servitude from a Christian Perspective

1.        “Were you a slave when called? Never mind” (1 Cor 7:21). As a servant, one should willingly submit himself to his master and work faithfully (Col 3:22–24). At the same time, Paul told masters to treat their servants reasonably and justly (Eph 6:9; Col 4:1).

2.        Paul expected slaves could free themselves in saying, “But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity” (1 Cor 7:21). This statement does not show Paul despised slavery, nor does it illustrate Paul supported slavery. Rather, Paul saw people as essentially equal when he said, “there is neither slave nor free, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).

C.     Work

1.        The Bible says, “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work” (Ex 20:9).

2.        Paul taught that if a church member was unwilling to work, neither should the member eat (2 Thess 3:10). The church should deal severely with busybodies who refuse to work (1 Thess 4:11; 2 Thess 3:8–14). Paul himself made tents and worked hard to set a good example for all (Acts 18:3, 20:34; 1 Cor 4:12; 1 Thess 2:9). Christians are correct when they see the slothful and busybodies as something shameful and sinful.

3.        Rich people should not follow the example of the rich man in Jesus’ parable, since the rich man was lazy and feasted sumptuously everyday (Lk 16:19, 22, 25). Since life can be very easy and comfortable for the rich, the rich should serve the Lord with all their mind, strength, and soul (Rom 6:13, 12: 1).

X.     Interpersonal Relationships

A.     Be Trustworthy and Faithful

1.        Be truthful to others (Zech 8:16; Eph 4:15; Prov 3:3).

2.        Have no fraud in your business (Deut 25:13–16; Prov 11:1, 21:6).

3.        An officer should never accept bribes or participate in corrupt practices (Deut 16:19, Mic 7:3; cf. Dan 6:4, 22).

4.        Do not breach a contract after you have accepted the contract terms, even if following through with the contract may not benefit you (cf. Ps 15:4; cf. Judg 11:30–40).

5.        Abraham was chosen by God because he was found faithful before him (Neh 9:7, 8).

6.        God helps those who have a perfect heart toward him (2 Chr 16:9).

7.        God’s true people are honest (Jn 1:47).

B.     Have Kindness and Goodwill

1.        Christians should never repay evil with evil as Nabal did (1 Sam 25:21). The saying of an “eye for an eye” or a “tooth for a tooth” is not followed in the New Testament (Mt 5:38). Rather, Christians should overcome evil with good rather than allow hatred and resentment to overcome them (Rom 12:21). Christians should only show kindness and goodwill toward others, following the example set by the Lord and Joseph (Gen 50:15–21; Lk 23:34; 1 Cor 13:4–9).

2.        Christians should never lack compassion for orphans, widows, poor people, sick people, and troubled people (1 Jn 3:17). Support the weak and supply them what they need (Jas 2:14–16). Do not be like the Levite and priest in the parable of the good Samaritan—pretending as if they did not see the half-dead man lying on the road (Deut 22:1–4; Lk 10:30–32).

3.        Charity is acceptable to God (Deut 15:7, 8; Gal 2:10). The saints of old regarded philanthropy as a virtue and performed it diligently. The philanthropists of old include Dorcas (Acts 9:36), Cornelius (Acts 10:2, 3), and the repentant Zacchaeus (Lk 19:8).

C.     Follow Justice

1.        Do not discriminate against other people (Jas 2:1).

2.        We need not be partial to the poor (Lev 19:15). However, neither should we respect the rich and despise the poor (Deut 1:17). “For the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7; cf. Lk 16:15).

3.        Be impartial in judgment (Prov 24:23, 24).

4.        “He who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Prov 18:17). David first listened to Ziba and thus did justice to Mephibosheth (2 Sam 16:1–4, 19:24–30).

5.        Even if we have witnesses, we should be very careful in our judgment. Jezebel caused Naboth to be stoned by false witnesses (1 Kgs 21:8–14). The Jews crucified Jesus through false witness (Mt 26:59–62). Thus, we must exercise care not to judge another quickly based simply on surface evidence. For example, Joseph was thrown in jail because Potiphar never investigated why Joseph’s garment was in his wife’s possession (Gen 39:11–20).

6.        Fight for justice.

7.        Godly prophets of old were never broken by threats or the power of evil in their fight for justice. Rather, such prophets were often moved to denounce evil and social injustice; they would work hard to lead others in the paths of righteousness. Godly prophets include Daniel (Dan 4:27), Zechariah (2 Chr 24:20, 21), John the baptist (Mt 14:3–11), the Lord Jesus (Mt 23:13–39, 21:12–14; Lk 19:45–47; Jn 7:7), and many other biblical figures.

8.        People can avoid a lot of trouble by supporting justice, for justice is a stimulus for goodness and faithfulness. Rulers or leaders establish their position by being just in all their doings (Prov 16:12). A righteous nation is blessed by God, and righteousness delivers from death (Prov 11:4).

XI.  Social Activities

A.     Choose Friends with Care (1 Cor 15:33)

1.        Do not be mismatched with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14–18), the world (Jas 4:4), hotheads (Prov 22:24), gossip-mongers (Prov 20:19), outlaws (Prov 24:15), drunkards and gluttons (Prov 23:20).

2.        Be on good terms with those in the same faith (Rom 12:10; 1 Pet 2:17), those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim 2:22), the wise (Prov 13:20), and above all, the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:14). God called Abraham his friend (2 Chr 20:7; Isa 41:8; Jas 2:23).

3.        The friendship between David and Jonathan is a beautiful story. Jonathan presented a generous gift to David as tokens of his extraordinary kindness and endearing affection (1 Sam 18:1–4). He also took pains to pacify Saul and reconcile him to David (1 Sam 19:1–7). Jonathan took pleasure in the prospect of David’s future kingship even though the kingship was his by birthright (1 Sam 23:15–18). David tore his clothes, fasted, and lamented over Jonathan’s death (2 Sam 1:11, 12). To David, Jonathan’s love was better than the love of women (2 Sam 1:26). After Saul and Jonathan’s death, David sought an opportunity to do good to Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan (2 Sam 9:1–8).

B.     Do Not Drink Wine or Intoxicating Drinks

1.        Wine makes people sick (cf. Hos 7:5). A drunkard will come to poverty (Prov 23:21), and may even sell his children for a drink (Joel 3:3). Wine often causes arguments, strife (Prov 23:29), fornication (Gen 19:30-38), nakedness (Gen 9:21), death, or even national destruction (Dan 5:1–9, 25–31).

2.        The Bible teaches that a minister in the sanctuary must not drink wine, lest he die (Lev 10:9, 10; Ezek 44:21). Nazirites were consecrated to the Lord, and would never drink wine or strong drink (Num 6:1–3; Judg 13:4, 7, 14). Prophets and kings should never drink wine or strong drink (Prov 31:4; Lk 1:15; 1 Cor 14:31; Rev 5:9, 10). Today, believers must be consecrated to the Lord (Gal 3:27). No drunkards shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:10; Gal 5:21). The Bible says, “Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder” (Prov 23:31, 32).

C.     Entertainment

1.        Dance

Dancing may stimulate one’s sexual desire and disinhibits one’s self-control, which may in turn lead to sin. In order to avoid fornication and lust, Christians should refrain from dancing with sexual interests in mind. Rather, Christians are exhorted to keep a pure and peaceful heart (cf. Mt 5:27–30; 1 Cor 7:1; 2 Tim 2:22).

2.        Gambling

Gambling is a form of greed and laziness. Gambling often causes the gambler to regret, sorrow, and may even lead to crime. Gambling often leads to bad habits, such as heavy drinking and prostitution, which in turn destroys one’s family life.

            “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Ex 20:17). “For the love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Tim 6:10). The above illustrate the evils of gambling. Christians should not gamble since it brings very little benefit and often angers God.

3.        Movies and Drama

 a.      If movies, television, and drama are properly used as an educational medium, they can benefit society and individual character.
But nowadays, human hearts are prone to evil. The commercial world often take advantage of ignorant audiences in order to make money—producing wayward, seductive, and corrupt movies. Under these circumstances, believers should follow Paul’s example of avoiding what is “lawful” for the benefit of others (1 Cor 8:13).

 b.      The Bible says, “Thou who art of purer eyes than to behold evil and canst not look on wrong” (Hab 1:13). The saints of old prayed to God thus: “Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; and give me life in thy ways” (Ps 119:37; Isa 33:15). The sins of Eve and David were both caused by the lust of the eyes (Gen 3:6; 2 Sam 11:2–8). The lust of the eyes does not come from God, and so, like Job, we should make a covenant with our eyes. All pornographic and “obscene” magazines, books, or photographs should be avoided. We should not listen to or sing ungodly songs or buy non-beneficial music (Job 31:1; 1 Jn 2:15, 16).

4.        Dress

Women should dress modestly. The Bible says that “women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire” (1 Tim 2:9, 10; 1 Pet 3:3). “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment” (Deut 22:5). “But let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Pet 3:4, 5). Women should emphasize simplicity, serenity and neatness in their appearance. Women should not overdress or wear heavy make-up in order to tempt or attract undue attention (cf. Lk 16:19, 25; Rev 17:3–5). Women should always remember inner beauty, virtues, and high spirituality are God’s delight; thus modest dressing is most appropriate.

XII.           Christians And Country

A nation is formed to provide security and welfare for the people.

A nation’s statutes and regulations are usually founded on justice, love, and moral judgments. The Bible clearly states Christians should perform their proper obligations to their country.

1.        Christians should subject themselves to the political institution

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right” (1 Pet 2:13–15; Rom 13:1–5; Tit 3:1).

2.        Christians should pay all appropriate taxes

“For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due” (Rom 13:6, 7). The Lord Jesus also said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:20, 21; cf. Mt 17:24–27).

3.        Honor the leaders of your country, the governors, and all in authority, and make supplications, prayers, and intercessions for them (1 Tim 2:1–3; 1 Pet 2:17).

4.        In cases where a country’s government goes against God’s will, Christians should abide by God’s higher standard and obey God.
If a ruler becomes a dictator, going against God’s principles and suppressing basic human rights (e.g., freedom of religion or evangelism), then Christians should courageously uphold God’s principles and commandments. Daniel, Daniel’s three friends, apostle Peter, and apostle John all remained loyal to the Lord in spite of threats and persecution (Dan 3:1–18, 6:4–10; Acts 4:18–20, 5:29).

5.        Although there are many secular judicial systems, the Bible does not encourage Christians to bring arguments and disputes to court. This does not mean the authority of the court is belittled. Rather, Christians should remember the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ when they have disputes with other members. Christians should willingly yield and submit to the church’s judgment. We must learn to forgive and love one another, as well as practice the principles of God’s kingdom—to manifest love in a darkened world (Mt 18:21–35; 1 Cor 9:1–8, 13:4–8; Col 3:13).

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