What are some of the Biblical guidelines for sound ethical practices?

1. Remember to follow the basic principles of solid ethical standards taught by Moses. "Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another." (Lev. 19: 11)

2. Let the Spirit of God help you develop a mature sense of ethics in every area of your life and relationships. Paul wrote, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passion and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."

3. Learn to climb the ladder of spiritual maturity to enhance your ethical senses. Peter writes, "Add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Pet. I :5-8)

4. Realize that morality is to be measured by God's standards and not human criteria for what is right. Peter wrote, "Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him." (2 Pet. 3: 14)

5. Perfect ethical standards are found in Jesus Christ. Peter wrote, "But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do." (I Pet. 1:15) Biblical ethics are more concerned about our obedience to God than people's response to our actions. Jesus said, "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt. 5:46, 47)

6. You can tell a lot about a person's ethics if their actions follow what they promise to do. "When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said. (Numb. 30:2)

7. Biblical ethics realize that God tests the motives behind every action. Samuel wrote, "I know, my God, that You test the heart and are pleased with integrity." (I Chron. 29: 17)

8. Biblical ethics are not based on human success, but on God's standards for truth. "Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them." (Psa. 62: 10)

9. Remember that God's ethics begin by examining the mind, motives and perspectives behind every action. "For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all His paths." (Prov. 5:21)

10. Dishonest gains will quickly vanish, but honest people gradually learn how to invest in what is sound. "Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow. (Prov. 13: 11)

11. People who are not straight forward in their dealings are usually not above board. Solomon wrote, "He who winks with his eye is plotting perversity; he who purses his lips is bent on evil." (Prov. 16:30)

12. Pray for God's help in avoiding extremes or excesses. Solomon wrote, "Two things I ask of You, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown You and say, "Who is the Lord?" Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God." (Prov.30:7-9)

13. The lack of instant justice does not mean God is slack with His ethical standards. Solomon wrote, "Because God does not punish sinners instantly, people feel it is safe to do wrong." (Eccl. 8: 11)

14. Pretentious people usually have little ethical standards. Jeremiah wrote, "Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means. When his life is half gone, they will desert him, and in the end he will prove to be a fool." (Jer. 17: 11)

15. Be honest, upright and speak without prevarication. Jesus said, "Simply let your Yes by Yes and your No, No; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." (Matt. 5:37)

16. Practice the golden rule in all your ethical dealings. Jesus said, "In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matt. 7: 12)

17. Sound ethics are tested first with small responsibilities before greater ones are given. Jesus said, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."(Lk. 16:10-12)

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