Situational ethics says I can do whatever I feel is the right thing to do according to the situation I am in at the time. My decision-making is based on the context and the set of circumstances I am facing. And, if there is a right and wrong, it is determined by the desired outcome of the situation. Doesn’t that sound like our society today? Sadly, it does, and unfortunately, this line of thinking is finding its way into the everyday lives of Christians.
But the question we must ask ourselves is this: How consistent is our daily life with the Bible? Do we ever find it necessary to act one way around one set of people, yet act another way around a different group of people?
Brethren, God expects — in fact, He demands — consistency in our lives. We are commanded to live changed lives and focus on pleasing God, not people (I Cor. 6:9-11). We cannot have a different set of rules for different places — home, work, friends, fellow Christians, and in the assemblies. God expects us to live for Him all of the time, no matter the situation.
Why must we be consistent in behavior? From cover to cover, the Bible is consistent. It is true. It is holy. It is the mind of God. And because it is consistent from front to back, the Bible does not teach or support situational ethics. God has the authority to govern what is right and wrong, and we can be sure that all of God’s Word is true (Rom. 3:4; Heb. 6:18; John 17:17). In fact, right and wrong are defined not only by what God says, but who God is. God is consistent; therefore, we must be consistent.
Looking back at what we discussed last week in James 2, having faith in Jesus and showing partiality are not compatible. While we live in a world full of partiality, Jesus Himself did not show partiality. That is demonstrated in Mark 2:13-17, where He is criticized for eating with the sinners and tax collectors. Jesus did not allow the company He was with to dictate His behavior in that situation. Jesus did not treat people differently, based on their education level, wealth or social status. And the result of that? They were better for it: “They followed Him” (Mark 2:15).
Whatever situation we find ourselves in, how can we better it? Every situation Jesus found Himself in, He made better. Let us, “Go and do likewise.” Our prayer should be to have the strength every day to serve God, and one another, with consistency and conviction, and that those around us are better because of the way we live.
-- Steven Matthews