Moral Character Job 2:3-9 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Among Christians there is a tendency to relegate moral character to spirituality. As a result, many of the problems that you have experienced in your life could have been avoided altogether if your moral character were stronger. But since you see every problem as a spiritual problem, your moral character has been neglected and is deficient to keep you from falling in the face of temptation.
Typically Christians see every problem as stemming directly from the devil and every defense connected in some way to the whole armor of God. In truth, the devil is probably not involved in most of your temptations. And your defense is more often practical rather than spiritual. Thus you would be better off at times strengthening your moral character rather than fussing about how much trouble you are having with the devil.
Don’t get me wrong, the devil certainly walks as a vicious lion and actively seeks whom he may devour. But even against him a good moral character is a good defense. Thus, it would do you well to strengthen your moral character while you are growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice the moral character of these men and how it affected them spiritually:
Job’s moral character strengthened him against the devil – Job 2:3-9 – against the direct attacks of the devil, Job refused to curse God by holding fast his integrity – in other words, he didn’t array himself in the whole armor of God; he didn’t even know about it – he simply held on to his integrity – he could not have done this if he didn’t first have his integrity to hold on to.
Cornelius’ moral character prepared him for the gospel – Acts 10:2, 22 – Cornelius was a lost man who had moral character – he was devout, he was God-fearing, he was charitable, he was just, he had a good report, and he prayed to God always – as a result, God sent Peter to preach the gospel to him and his household – and they got saved – see Rom 2:5-11 – much of the problem with people not getting saved today is a problem with their moral character.
Paul’s moral character contributed to his spiritual wisdom – 2 Thes 3:10-15 – Paul didn’t have to pray about some of the decisions that he made and some of the counsel that he gave – they were an outgrowth of his moral character – he knew what to do because he was accustomed to doing right things [Phil 3:4-11] – in other words, many Christians struggle with “doing right” not because they lack the wisdom of God or because they haven’t read enough scripture or prayed enough, but because their moral character is weak – if you were accustomed to doing right, doing right wouldn’t be so hard for you.
Felix’s lack of moral character hardened him to the gospel – Acts 24:24-27 – whereas Cornelius’ character prepared him for the gospel, Felix’s lack thereof caused him to miss the gospel – notice that when Paul preached to him, he put it off as a matter of convenience – the gospel and many ancillary results of the gospel are inconvenient – remember that the broad way is the one that leads to destruction – always following the path of least resistance, always seeking convenience is a deficiency in moral character – also, notice two other weaknesses in his character – he attempted to use his position of authority for personal gain [he hoped that money should have been given him] and he ruled for political favor rather than justice [willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, he left Paul bound] – his lack of moral character cost him his eternity with Christ.
Pilate’s lack of moral character caused him to condemn an innocent man – Acts 3:13; Lk 23:20 – Pilate was determined to let Jesus go – but he lacked the moral character to act on his convictions – he knew that the Pharisees had delivered Jesus to them for envy [Matt 27:18] – he knew that Jesus was innocent [Jn 19:6] – he knew that he was the Son of God [Jn 19:7-9] – but he sent him away to be crucified anyway – that’s because of, as Dr. Ruckman put it, his carelessness, cowardice and compromise – his moral character was weak – if it had been stronger, he might have stood for his convictions and let Jesus go.
Conclusion: As you can see, many spiritual problems have their root in moral deficiencies and much spiritual strength is rooted in moral character – that’s why Bob Jones, Sr., spent so much time preaching on and developing the moral character of his students. Now, consider that perhaps you need to develop more moral character to go along with your prayer life and scripture memory. Also, consider that perhaps the reason you aren’t saved yet is that you, like Pilate and Felix, are hampered by your moral deficiencies. Quit looking for a more convenient time, for a way to guard your reputation, or for a compromise. You just need to get saved and take a stand for Christ like he did for you when he died on the cross.