Stanford Research Institute was studying the differences in vocational perceptions. They devised a short but succinct test. The first to be tested was an engineer. The researchers asked him: “What does two plus two make?” The engineer simply said, “In absolute terms: four.” After making their notes and dismissing him, they called an architect. To the same question, he responded, “Well, there are several possibilities: two and two make four, but so does three and one — or two point five and one point five — they also make four. So, it is all a matter of choosing the right option.” The researchers thanked him and made their notes. Finally, they called an attorney. When he heard the question, he looked around slyly, asked if he could close the door for privacy, and then came over close, leaned toward them and said, “Well, tell me, what would you like it to be?” (Sermon Central)
When it comes to absolutes, it doesn’t come down to whatever you’d like them to be. The attorney knew that facts are facts and facts don’t change. Regardless how much you’d like to change it, you can’t change the fact that two and two make four.
Neither do God’s laws change. For example, God’s laws are set in stone—literally. When God gave his ten commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai, God wrote them on two stone tablets with his own finger for his people, Israel, to obey for all time (Exodus 20:1-26; 31:18; 32:15-16; Deuteronomy 5:22, 29). When Moses came down from the mountain, what do you think he should find? The people were doing the very thing that violated God’s command, “Thou shalt not make other gods besides me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves,” (Ex. 20:23, New American Standard Version, NASB). They were caught in the act of worshipping the golden calf and committing some of the most lewd revelry you could ever imagine (Deut. 32:6-10)! In his indignation over this despicable sight, Moses threw the tablets down, shattering them to many pieces against the rocks at the foot of the mountain below (Ex. 20:19).
The LORD severely punished the people for their evil (Ex. 20:20-35). In fact, had Moses not interceded, God would have destroyed the people and, instead, would have made of Moses a great nation. But God, through his infinite mercy, did not carry out this proposal (Ex. 32:11-14). After everything started settling down, the LORD said to Moses to cut out two more stone tablets like the LORD provided before and God rewrote the commands on them (Ex. 34:1-9).
This scene not only illustrates there are absolutes established by God, but the serious consequences which follow when those absolutes are not obeyed (Ex. 20:5; Deut. 7:1-26). It’s been said that God did not issue the ten suggestions. They are commandments that God wants followed for the simple reason that they provide the way to productivity, order, stability, and peace (Ex. 20:6, 24; Deut. 5:31-32; 6:16-25).
Thus, God provided ten commandments to live by. The first four pertain to our duty to God (Ex. 20:3-17; Deut. 5:6-21):
1. “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
2. “You shall not make for yourself any idol or graven image.”
3. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.”
4. “Remember to keep the Sabbath holy.”
The remaining commands pertain to our duty to one another:
5. “Honor your father and mother.”
6. “You shall not murder.”
7. “You shall not commit adultery.”
8. “You shall not steal.”
9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
10. “You shall not covet.”
These absolutes are key to wholesome living. They apply to everyone. And they are the basis upon which God will judge us when we stand before him on the Day of Judgement. Ecclesiastes 12:13 and 14 state, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep his commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act into judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (also, 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:7-8)
Jesus, likewise, emphasized the necessity of doing as God instructs. Onetime a rich young ruler came up to Jesus and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answered, “You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother’” (Mark 10:17-22). Even though the young man claimed to have done all these things, Jesus lovingly told him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Unfortunately, he went away sad because he was very wealthy. To which Jesus remarked, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” (v. 23). Jesus went to the spirit of the law and right down into the heart of this rich young ruler. And of this we can be sure: We are measured by our attitudes and intentions according to the absolutes we are required to apply.
The absolutes we are to absolutely live by are defined according to two commands which summarize all of God’s commands. Jesus pointed out these commands when he referred to God’s law given to Moses (Deut. 6:5-9). Onetime an expert in the Mosaic law inquired of Jesus, “Teacher, which is the great command in the Law?”
Jesus replied, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the the great and foremost commandment. The second is like unto it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets,” (Matthew 22:36-40).
Onetime another expert in the Mosaic law asked Jesus, “Teacher what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus responded, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”
And he answered, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus remarked, “You have answered correctly; Do this, and you will live,” (Luke 10:25-28). At that, the “expert” asked, “And who IS my neighbor?” Then, Jesus proceeded to tell the Parable of the Good Samaritan (vss. 30-37). In essence, like he did with the rich young ruler, Jesus was applying an absolute that captured the spirit of the law: “Treat everyone, with whom you come into contact, with dignity, compassion, and love.” Just think of it! If this absolute was absolutely followed by more people today, how much better off all of us would be!
The problem these days is that society questions these absolutes. Years ago, the popular saying was, “Do your own thing!” This is the epitome of disregard for God’s absolutes. It displays attitudes of selfishness rather than self-discipline; of looking out for Number One rather than looking out for others. It flies in the face of faithfully complying with higher standards set by God himself.
But God’s standards never change because God’s nature never changes (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Psalm 102:12, 25-28; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). Our eternal God was, is, and always will be holy, love, and truth. And these are the absolute standards we, as believers, pursue as we strive to emulate God’s perfect qualities through Jesus Christ our Savior (Matt. 5:48; 2 Cor. 13:11).
Human philosophy is known to question these absolutes. We might hear it said, “The only absolute is there are no absolutes.” But are they absolutely correct? Not necessarily (Isaiah 5:20; 45:9-24; Prov. 14:12; 1 Cor. 1:18-25). When it comes to God’s truth and morality, we have shown how God provides the way in which we are to live. And when we absolutely live by faith in God, we will abide in those absolute standards (Galatians 3:11-14; James 2:14-18). And we are absolutely sure of it!
One thing is absolute: God will make a way even when there seems to be no way. Here’s Don Moen with this important message: http://youtu.be/_ff6tOfuRyc
Good News to YOU!