Two Moral Restraints

October 27, 2018

Two Moral Restraints

Farmers put up fences to keep their animals from going astray. Human beings also need restraints to keep them from going beyond what is decent moral behavior. The reason for that is found in Jeremiah 17:9.The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Modern men like to think that men are basically good. This verse tells us that they are wrong about that. The prominence of moral and social problems also attests to the truth of Jeremiah 17:9

There are two moral restraints placed on people. One is inner and the other is exterior. I like to call the inner restraint self induced moral restraint. The exterior restraints are those that society places on human behavior. They are civil laws and public or private rebuke.

Those who are saved and surrendered to do the will of God accept and obey the commandments of God. Even many who aren’t saved and surrendered respect and obey the moral laws found in the Bible. They are called Judeo – Christian moral principles. As people get farther and farther away from God they tend to abandon those moral principles.

A peaceful prosperous society accepts the fact that there are absolute moral laws. Our culture is more and more corrupt because of the rejection of the fact that there are absolute moral values. Children in public schools are being taught the philosophy of humanism. Christianity and humanism don’t agree about moral values. The following is cited from an article in the web site www.allaboutphilosophy.org/humanism.htm. “Humanism maintains that no objective or universal values exist. A person may be moral if he or she creates a system of values and lives according to them. A humanist would maintain that no one is obligated to be moral. Therefore, humanism fails to provide moral objections to immoral behavior. Obviously, if no moral absolutes exist, you can’t demonstrate that anything is wrong or evil. Thus, in a humanist society, no one can really judge or condemn the choices or actions of others.”

There are two types of self induced moral restraints. There are those we place upon ourselves because we feel that it is our duty. It may be because the law says I can’t do it. It may just be because we have been taught that it is our duty.

For God’s people, there is a second type of self induced moral restraint. It stems from our relationship with God. Jesus said, in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” If we keep God’s commandments because we love him, then I John 5:3 will be true in our life. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

Psalm 119:97-102 says, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou, through thy commandments, hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.This the highest self induced moral restraint. These verses also tell us that a love for God’s laws increases our understanding. There is a hymn that says “God never moves without purpose or plan.” His laws also are with purpose and plan. By keeping God’s laws a society enjoys peace and prosperity.

It is important that we have self induced moral restraints. If not, we are certain to find ourselves in serious trouble. It may just come from those around us. It may also come because we have violated civil laws. I know a prisoner who told me that he was doing time because a patrolman tried to stop him. Instead of stopping, he stepped on the accelerator and tried to outrun him. He was also arrested for shop lifting. He said he was on drugs when he did that. Because of prison ministry, he now acknowledges his wrongdoing, has repented, and is now ready to live his life as it was meant to be lived.

It should be obvious that we are failing to teach children and young people the need of having self induced moral restraints. The prison population continues to increase. Part of the blame falls on parents. Another part of the blame falls on public school teachers. Children aren’t being taught to think for themselves. The result is that they don’t know how to discern between good and bad; right and wrong. They make foolish choices like being addicted to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. They don’t see the need of applying themselves to their studies. Instead they waste their time with electronic devices. They aren’t prepared to make their way in life.

Do you have self induced moral restraints? If not, you need to.

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