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Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, November 10, 1999
Dear Colleagues,

BUSINESS ETHICS AND THE HOLINESS OF GOD:

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Good Morning!

Recently I asked ten separate individuals, “Do you know any businessmen whose business ethics are consistent with Biblical teaching?”  Their response? A blank stare. An awkward pause.  And then “no.” (Jeremiah 5:1) Their answer alerts me to the fact that we have a serious problem on our hands. And raises a fundamental question, “Is it possible to be in business and remain ethical?”

In his book Just Business, Dr. Alexander Hill+  states, “The foundation of Christian ethics in business is not rules but the changeless character of God…Behavior consistent with God’s character is ethical – that which is not is unethical.” 

 The three characteristics of God we are to mirror in our business practices are His holiness, justice and love. In this fax we will focus on holiness. The next two issues will center on justice and love.

 God’s holiness is “the sum of all moral excellency…absolute purity, unsullied even by the shadow of sin.”++  (See I Jn. 1:5;  Hab. 1:13a) And that is to be the  standard for our conduct in business: “Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.” (I Pet. 1:15)

 So, how do we know when our behavior in business is holy? When it is ethical?

 #1  When we are zealous for God.  “…Holiness is fundamentally about priorities. So long as business is a means of honoring God rather than an end in itself, the concept of holiness is not violated. What holiness abhors is when business or any other human activity, becomes an idol.”+

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matt. 6:24)

#2  When we exhibit ethical purity by (1) communicating the truth,  and (2)  by serving rather than exploring others. (Matt. 5:37; Mk. 10:43-45)

#3 When our attitude and actions signify humility rather than pride“Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities…” (Rom. 12:3a, Phillips)

#4 When we are circumspect in our actions, checked by the realization of impending accountability “Holiness holds us accountable by rewarding moral purity and punishing impurity.”+ (Matt. 11:20-24; 25:46; Gal. 6:7,8)

 

 

My prayer is that you are having a great week!

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