Vol.XV No.I Pg.4
March 1978


Robert F. Turner

Paul wrote, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Col. 3:17). He is NOT urging us to attach a label or verbal formula "in Christ's Name" to everything we do or say. Rather, our words and deeds must rest upon His authority — said and done with a view to serving Christ. The principle is illustrated in following verses. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord." "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." Servants, obey your masters "fearing God" — "as to the Lord" — "for ye serve the Lord Christ" (Vs. 18,20, 22-24).

Obligations grow out of relationships: husband and wife obligations coming with marriage; parental obligations, with children; social and civic obligations because we are a part of society and citizens of government. Patterns of conduct (mores, or moral standards) are developed thusly; and existed before 1,500 B.C., when God gave the Ten Commandments to the Jewish people. But while the Ten Commandments did not originate morals, they gave them new dimensions. They said, God is back of all this — do this "as unto God." The recognition of God is the basis for all true morals.

Rom. 1:18-f. shows us that recognition of "eternal power and deity" imposes two obligations: to glorify and be thankful — look up to, and feel a dependence upon, God. We repeat, the recognition of God is the basis for all true morals. But conversely, the denial of God is the basis for all sin. Refusing God, man exalted him self. He "worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator" (v.25) so God "gave them up" (vs.24, 26,28) to stew in their own juice.

Leave God out of the picture, and morals become situation ethics; religion becomes only a social development. There is no sin — only social maladjustment; and there is no hope for anything more than this crass world. No wonder unbelievers who try to reason it out show a "despair syndrome."

But sin is "against God." It is "against society" and more than that. When Joseph was tempted Potipher's wife (Ex .39:7-9) he replied, "How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" He understood that his obligations were deeper than those of honor and fairness among men. When David recognized his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12:7-14) he said, "I have sinned against Jehovah." Later, in his psalm of contrition he prayed to God, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight" (Psm. 51:4). Jesus has the Prodigal say, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight..." (Lu. 15:21).

God-service goes much deeper than external conduct. Samuel could tell Saul (1 Sam. 15:22) "to obey is better than sacrifice." The external offering, without the heart, was nothing. This is a fundamental principle of God-service, as true in the Old Testament as in the New (Psm. 51:16-17 Hosea 6:6; Amos 5:21-24). It does not negate obedience, but shows the true meaning of obedience "as to the Lord."