The New Morality --Part 3

The New Morality
Part 3

Dr. Paul Irwin

Why, What, and What Saith the Scripture

The ultimate answer to the challenge of the New Morality to Christian young people is to be found in the Word of God. Make no mistake about that! An awareness of the problem and an understanding of the facts involved is not enough. Let us see what God has to say from the Scriptures.

Six hundred years before the birth of Christ, Ezekiel the prophet of God, confronted the Children of Israel through their elders with God’s perspective of their moral and spiritual decline. It is recorded in Ezekiel chapter 14 in some detail and is strangely akin to things today as described in the previous two articles. Verse three states that they had “set up idols in their heart and put the stumbling block of iniquity before their face.” Verse 9 says that the prophets to which the people came to inquire of the Lord were “deceived.” Even as today, the idols of materialism, the iniquitous stumbling block of immorality and the uncertain sound of deceived “God is dead” theologians swept all before them.

In such serious circumstances the Holy Spirit of God links together in a remarkable way the names of three great men from the Old Testament. These names appear linked in this fashion in no other chapter in the Bible. I think that the reasons will soon be obvious. Read God’s message to Ezekiel the faithful prophet. (Ezekiel 14:13). “Son of man, when the land sinneth against Me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out Mine hand upon it.” Notice also verse 14 “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness saith the Lord God.” These three men each overcame in one of the situations we have described above. The world, the flesh and the devil are the adversaries of the Christian young people. Noah overcame the world, Daniel overcame the flesh and Job overcame the devil. Let us find out how.

Noah, whose name means rest, was faithful to God in a world that Genesis 6:5 describes like this “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of his heart was only evil continually.” It grieved God that He had made man. The Lord himself reminds us in Luke 17:26 that “as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man” — the last days — our days? It took a man of character to witness for God in those days and Noah was a man of character. Genesis 6:9 says he was a “just man and perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God.” The New Testament tells us that he was a preacher of righteousness and feared God. Noah was not afraid to stand as a minority in the world. As only one of eight who believed God in all his generation, he worked for God one hundred years by building an ark, and witnessed for God as a preacher of righteousness. What he did was consistent with what he said — for a hundred years in a hostile world! God is looking for young people with character who, like Noah, are willing to stand as a minority in this world, and not go along with the crowd. Are you willing to be a minority group by what you do as well as what you do not do in this world?

Too many Christian young people are becoming indistinguishable from the world in their conduct. To all such let me turn you to Romans 12:1-2. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and per-feet, will of God.” The choice is yours. Either you gradually conform to the world’s manners, materialism, morals, and motives, or you are transformed by the renewing of your mind and prove God’s will for you to be good, acceptable and perfect. The secret of a renewed mind is the personal study of the Word of God. How much time do you spend each week in private and public study of God’s Word? Does a day or two go by without recourse to it’s pages? Does the assembly Bible Study find you absent? Christ said, “I have given them Thy Word,” “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (John 17:14 and 15). Psalm 119:9-11 reminds us again of the secret of success. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.” “With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments. Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”

God is looking for young people of character who, renewed by daily feeding on the Word of God, are willing to stand in a hostile world as a minority.

If Noah overcame the world, then Daniel overcame the flesh. Let me sketch in some interesting pertinent facts about Daniel and his times. His name means “my judge is God.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 reminds us that “we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done whether it be good or bad.” Daniel had every opportunity to succumb to the temptations of the flesh. He was young (probably early teens only) and suddenly found himself, because of the captivity, a long way from home where nobody knew him. His parents were not around to watch him. In addition he found himself in Babylon, a place of great iniquity where immorality and vice of every kind was rampant. Besides all this it appeared that his good prospects and favorable position back in Israel, had been rudely snatched away from him, and one could conceive of him thinking to himself about the injustice of it all. Here was the perfect opportunity to kick over the traces, and indulge himself in all the moral corruption that Babylon and the King’s court had to offer. But he didn’t do it! Why?

First of all Daniel had purpose of heart. “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” (Dan. 1:8a). God is looking for young people with such purpose of heart. D. L. Moody said that the reason that the lions did not eat Daniel was that he was 9/10ths backbone and the rest was gristle. Spiritual and moral backbone can overcome the flesh.

Second, Daniel was willing to prove God. “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days and let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink” (Dan. 1:12). To those around, it must have seemed pretty tame fare compared with the king’s meat and drink, but in the end, Daniel’s faith in God’s provision was justified, and he was successful. Are you willing to put God to the test and prove Him? “Prove all things: hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21 and 22).

Third, Daniel prayed daily. “He kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime (Dan. 6:10b).” Daniel was consistant in prayer in a very busy life. Are you? No time for prayer means no time for God and the resources He wishes to give you to overcome the flesh.

The results of Daniel’s purpose, proving and prayer were evident in his life. The proof of this is very beautifully revealed in the words of a heathen queen (wife of King Belshazzer) in the time of the King’s greatest need. She spoke to the King concerning Daniel in words like these; “There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy Gods” (Dan. 5:11a). Can the world tell by your life that “ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” (1 Cor. 3:16)? Daniel was not a loser in material things because of his faithfulness to God. He was clothed in scarlet, wore a gold chain about his neck and became third ruler in the kingdom. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mark 6:33).

The third great Old Testament character of Ezekiel 14:14 was Job and Job overcame the Devil. His name means “persecuted.” Make no mistake, young person, Satan is the source of the snare of immorality, materialism and false doctrine that confronts you today. Never underestimate him! “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Only the Saviour, who Himself was tempted by Satan in the wilderness and overcame, can give you victory.

Satan will attack you in the same three ways he attacked Job, especially if you, like Job, are “perfect and upright and one that feared God and eschewed evil” (Job. 1:1b). Satan first made a direct frontal assault on Job and took away his health and wealth and family. If these had been Job’s idols, like so many of us he might have fallen, but instead we hear him reply, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21b).

Next, Satan tried to influence Job through his three friends. The friends we have and the company we keep have a profound influence for good or bad on each one of us. Christian young people — beware the friends you make and the company you keep. Satan will use unsaved girl friends and boy friends to your ill, but God can use spiritual companions to your good. Associate with those of like mind and faith. I in no wise advocate a spiritual isolation here, but warn of the dangers of close association with the world. Finally, Satan used Job’s very family circle to try to influence him to evil. Job’s wife suggested to him that he “curse God and die” (Job. 2:9b). The one we choose as a life partner must be one who knows Christ as Saviour and Lord. Otherwise the results are always disastrous. Job answered his wife in this fashion, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job. 2:10).

Job was a rich man who lost every material thing, but who, faithful to God, overcame the testing of the devil in this world’s goods. The Bible reminds us that we, as Job, will not be the loser. “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12a). “Also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10b).

Follow the examples of Noah, Daniel and Job in “times like these” and God, who is no man’s debtor, will bless you abundantly and cause you to stand. Look off unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith and make this your daily prayer;

Day by day dear Lord

—For these things I pray,

—to see Thee more clearly,

—to know Thee more nearly,

—to love Thee more dearly,
Day by day!