The Bible discloses God’s moral values.
It identifies specific virtues he esteems and certain vices he deplores.
It chronicles the significance of these values in the lives of real people.
It includes principles and precepts that help us situationally discern right and wrong.
God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, guides us in this regard by illuminating his Word and prompting our conscience.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as we study God’s moral values in Scripture.
The principles and precepts presented in the New Testament govern us.
The virtues listed or exemplified in the Old and New Testaments are virtuous for us.
The sins they describe are sinful for us, except those that concern the civil laws, hygiene protocols, dietary restrictions, and ceremonial regulations that God prescribed for the Israelites as a society in the Old Testament.
These precepts are inoperative for reborn believers.
Instead, we are subject to the laws and regulations of modern societies, many of which reflect God’s moral values, e.g., the dignity of life, individual freedom, equal justice, responsibility for the environment.
The Ten Commandments still pertain to us, with one exception.
Jesus repealed the activity restriction in the fourth commandment when he healed a woman in a synagogue on the Sabbath.
But the moral principle implicit in this commandment—our dignity and equality in the eyes of God—remains relevant.
Some New Testament standards are more restrictive than those presented in the Old Testament.
For example, Jesus raised the bar when he equated unrighteous anger with murder and illicit lust with adultery.
Some sins are more abhorrent than others. Some generate more earthly consequences.
But God does not grade on a curve. The ugliness of our sins does not determine our eternal destiny.
Absent God’s salvation, our sinful nature alone disqualifies us from heaven, even if our specific sins are innocuous.
Conversely, those who accept God’s offer of salvation qualify for heaven, even if their personal sins are egregious.
We uphold the entirety of God’s moral code when we do two things: love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and treat others the way that we would like them to treat us.