Wikipedia.org is a popular Internet reference destination today. It’s an online, user-edited encyclopedia available in 14 languages, completely free and open to the discretion of people who hopefully know what they’re talking about.
Articles can be submitted by almost anyone and changed by almost anyone as well. If something is put up that someone labels as incorrect, it can be quickly flagged and taken down. Wikipedia cannot, however, guarantee the factual nature of any of the content on the site. Despite this, millions of people use it to seek definitions for various words and concepts. After all, if millions of people believe it, it has to be true, right?
Not necessarily. Ironically, we live in a world where billions of people live their lives without ever believing that the wonderful Maker of the whole universe even exists. More ironically, even among people who do openly profess their belief in a supreme Creator, there is a common misperception about right and wrong. Most don’t know how to define what sin is.
Looking at my native America as an example, I see some similarities to Wikipedia. America is a fast-paced, ever-changing place that is always seeking further worldly knowledge and advancement. It also allows its social norms to dictate its conceptions of sin and morality. Like Wikipedia’s definitions, those perceptions can easily be changed and edited by those around us. America, like the rest of the world, does not consider that there is an ultimate moral authority. So humanity defines its own degrees of sin and morality and allows the views of others to alter those definitions over time.
Does this mean that our age is more enlightened and better prepared to know right from wrong? Hardly. Some form of the “enlightened crowd” has existed in every era, and obviously the human race still hasn’t quite gotten it right.
There are absolutes! But in a world where everything is seemingly relative, no absolutes are accepted. This mind-set affects people in every walk of life. For example, much of professing Christianity judges some sins much more severely than others. With recent controversies about homosexuality, some vocal believers are strident about this one sin yet are strangely accepting of other sins like sex before marriage, adultery, lying and dishonoring parents.
Many people think that God is tolerant and view the Ten Commandments as suggestions—thinking that it doesn’t matter if we break them now and again, since He will forgive us anyway. However God set rules for us that are permanent and unchanging, and the penalty for breaking this law is death (Romans 6:23). God takes sin so seriously, that He still requires death—either ours or Jesus Christ’s. When we want to change and ask for forgiveness, Christ is willing to pay that penalty for us, and God is merciful to forgive us.
In a wanton society, those of us seeking to follow the one true God need to realize that God’s way of life is not user defined—there is no spiritual Wikipedia of sin. God has a book already written to guide our lives. In short, the Bible teaches the way of life that will be for our benefit and happiness—forever!