I recently read Theological Ethics by Ross Hastings Ph.D.[1] in which he linked theological ethics with Christian spirituality. It is a fitting connection to make, and it occurred to me that our spirituality affects everything about our ethics, our moral code, our social justice, our relationships, and every other aspect of our lives. Hastings reminds us that to know the will of God, we must know God.

“Another way to say this is that knowing good and evil, right and wrong, can only come through knowing God, that is, loving God and neighbour, the core of Christian ethics. This is the chief of our affections, and it can only be renewed in us as we receive and live in divine love.” p. 227, 228.

You may find this obvious and wonder why a pastor would need to be reminded that spirituality affects how we view the world – or you may relate to how easy it is to slip into seeking to live out this life without a proper knowledge of the God who created us in his own image.

Every pastor wrestling with ethics in their local church would benefit from reading this book. I particularly appreciate that Hastings grounds ethics in spirituality. Knowledge of God’s will is rooted in knowing God, listening to the Spirit, and observing the model of the Son.

As Jeremiah 9:23, 24 (NLT) says,

“This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
    or the powerful boast in their power,
    or the rich boast in their riches.
24 But those who wish to boast
    should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
    who demonstrates unfailing love
    and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

So, let us seek to truly know and understand this Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and brings both justice and righteousness to the earth. Truly knowing and truly understanding God will be a life-long pursuit for all of us. May we pursue this knowledge in the wonderfully rich community of the Body of Christ.

[1] Theological Ethics: The Moral Life of the Gospel in Contemporary Context, Ross Hastings, Zondervan Academic, 2021.

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