Cultural Relativism

Sermon Recap | "Everyone has to decide for themselves what is right and wrong."

What is right for you may not be right for me.
You have to find your own truth.
You can believe whatever you want as long as you don’t tell others what to believe.

Moral or cultural relativism: morals are not absolute. They are culturally formed and no culture is inherently superior to another. Therefore, everyone must decide what is right and wrong.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? - Romans 6:12-16

Paul says clearly that morality is not subjective. God has a transcendent, objective standard of morality despite our cultural resistance to this idea. This leads some question God or reject the God of the Bible who claims the right to declare objective moral truth.

There is such a thing as right and wrong, and God holds everyone accountable to it. (Romans 2:16)

The irony about our pushback against a God who sets an objective moral standard is that our souls actually desire for there to be an objective right and wrong in our world.

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them. - Romans 2:14-15

Paul says that our actions, thoughts, and consciences actually prove to us that we do know and believe in an ultimate moral authority.

At times, we like the idea of everyone choosing for himself what is right and wrong, but when someone truly wrongs or abuses someone that we love, we don’t have to be convinced that there are some rules that should not be broken.

If we remove absolute truth, then we remove the basis for justice altogether. If we say that we want everyone to decide what is right and wrong, we are saying that we should not be able to enforce rules that protect and bring justice to people.

The very fact that we have a desire to condemn things that we see as unjust shows that the work of the law is written on our hearts and our consciences bear witness to it. 

It’s great news that God cares so passionately about justice but it’s also the most terrifying news because all of us have done so much wrong. The truth is, we need a God who cares about people enough to judge those that break universal laws to the full extent of the law, and we need a God who cares about people enough to be able to forgive and show grace to those who have broken His laws.

This is where the beauty of the gospel is found: Christianity is good news for those who have suffered wrong AND those who have done wrong.

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. - Romans 3:20-25

This gift that Christ gives is the reason we know we can trust Him as the universal authority.
His life showed us that He was perfectly righteous. The fact that God poured out His wrath for sin, shows us that He cares about justice. The fact that Christ took the wrath of God onto Himself for our sins while sparing all those that believe in Him from the punishment that we all deserve, shows us that He loves us tremendously. There is no one more qualified to establish the universal law that we all desperately need to exist.

So let us trust in His law even when we don’t understand it. Even when we don’t feel like it, because the crucified and risen savior has proven that He and He alone is worthy of establishing the ultimate transcendent law that we should all submit to.