Christian Ethics

Throughout history, Christian ethics has played a significant role in shaping the moral and ethical landscape of western civilization, and continues to inform the beliefs and actions of millions of people around the world today.

Christian Ethics | Oak Grove Church of Christ, Jack McNiel, Evangelist
Christian Ethics | Oak Grove Church of Christ, Jack McNiel, Evangelist

According to, ethics is defined as 

  1. 1. A system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture. 
  2. 2. The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics. 
  3. 3. Moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence. 
  4. 4. That branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

As we can see from the above definition, one’s ethics is the method by which one determines how one is to conduct himself. It is the decision-making process by which we determine if an action would be moral or right. 

When faced with a dilemma, our code of ethics is what helps us to make the distinction between right and wrong.

Situational Ethics

Our ethics are determined by our worldview. How we view the world will determine our course of action in life. The atheist believes that there is no God, thus no afterlife and no soul. They believe that the here and now is all there is and that there are no absolute values with regard to right and wrong. 

When they look at a situation where they are forced to make a choice between one thing and another, most simply choose the path of least resistance. Others, who are more thoughtful atheists, may make a choice based on what they think serves the greater good. However, since they do not believe there is such a thing as an absolute moral standard, what they consider the greater good may vary from circumstance to circumstance. 

In the name of the, greater good, many good things have been done along with many atrocities. For instance, Adolph Hitler thought killing all the Jews served the greater good while the Allied Nations thought that killing Adolph Hitler served the greater good!

The Ethics of a Christian

The Christian, on the other hand, views the world from a biblical standpoint. The Bible teaches that there is a God who created man and who endowed him with an immortal soul. It teaches us that there is an absolute standard by which we will be judged; that there is a place called Hell for those that do evil and a place called Heaven for the faithful child of God. And, that all people will spend eternity in one or the other.

This worldview colors our actions and gives us our ethics. When faced with a choice, the Christian looks to the scriptures to guide him. Even things that are not addressed directly, (e.g. smoking marijuana or viewing internet pornography) are covered at least in principle by the Scriptures. 

With a ready knowledge of God’s word, the child of God is fully equipped for “all good works” (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17) and has access to “all things that pertain unto life and godliness…” (2 Peter 1:3) and can thereby be able to “discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

- Jack McNiel, Evangelist