Sometimes I think evangelical Christians get confused about where ethics fits in the Christian life. Why is it so important? We understand that we are fallen and that there is nothing that we can do to merit God’s favor. Salvation is a gift of God’s grace accomplished fully by Jesus’ sacrificial death. Ethics can be seen as a set of moral laws that we are obligated to live by, but which we all fail to keep. Why focus on the law when we have God’s grace? Doesn’t God accept us just as we are?
The answer is worship. While none of us can merit a relationship with a holy God through living morally perfect lives, those who have been redeemed by God’s mercy and grace desire to worship Him. Romans 12: 1-2 tells us that we should respond to God’s mercy by presenting our lives to Him in worship. We should desire to be transformed so that the lives we present to Him in worship are lives being lived in conformity to his good and perfect will. Ethics is about how we should live to conform to what is good and right. It involves living lives conformed to God’s good and perfect will. We can’t do it on our own, but we can allow Him to transform us so that we do not conform to the immoral patterns of this world, but have our minds renewed with an understanding of what is good and right.