Should Christians actively oppose immorality in society?
Is it the duty of Christians to be the moral guardians of society?
Christians are called to the highest moral and ethical standards. [2 Peter 3:11, Ephesians 4:25-5:12]
2 Peter 3:11
... what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.
... each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.×
However, Christians are not perfect. They do fail. [1 John 1:8]
1 John 1:8
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.×
Christians are not to judge non-Christians.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”×
At dawn Jesus appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around Him, and He sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing Him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”×
Elsewhere in the New Testament, Paul wrote that it was necessary for Christians to be accountable within the Christian community, but not to judge those outside [1 Corinthians 5:12-13].
1 Corinthians 5:12-13
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.×
People naturally tend to be selfish. Such is fallen man. The only surprise is that the immorality in society is not worse.
Christians struggle with sin, but they are forgiven, and they have the Holy Spirit to help in their weakness.
The outside world does not need recriminations from people who are also less than perfect. It does not attract people to the faith and it does not provide a solution to selfishness.
The apostles simply preached the gospel ... they did not take the high moral ground
The solution is the power of love and forgiveness, and the supernatural enabling of God to overcome. Coming to faith in Jesus Christ starts a journey towards purity [Proverbs 4:18, 2 Corinthians 3:18].
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
2 Corinthians 3:18
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”×
Unbelievers need love, not lectures. They need forgiveness rather than standards that they have no power, in themselves, to attain. Of course they resent moralising, especially when it comes from people who are obviously not themselves perfect.
When I read the book of Acts, I see that the apostles simply preached the gospel. There was immorality all around but they did nothing to address it – nothing to try to “fix up” a fallen world through social programs. They did not take the high moral ground. They concentrated on offering the free gift of God’s forgiveness, love and acceptance through faith in Jesus Christ.
Are you really spiritual??
The closer we get to God the more we’re aware of our sinful nature.
Isaiah said: “I am a man of unclean lips” (Is 6:5).
Peter said: “Depart from me Lord; I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8).
Paul said: “I am the worst of sinners” (1 Tim 1:16).
Even so, we are accepted in Christ and greatly loved. God doesn’t want us to have moral vanity. Pride is an abomination to God. A display of moral superiority ticks God off. Imagine what it does to the rest of us.×
What was the original sin of the Sodomites?
The people of Sodom were proud and neglected the poor (Ez 16:49). Immorality came later.
It’s the same as those who fail to recognise and thank God. He “hands them over” to sin (Rom 1:18-24).
However, be careful not to judge non-believers. That’s God’s job (1 Cor 5:12). Judging is dangerous (Matt 7:1-5). Take care not to get “handed over” too (Gal 6:1)×