The world needs the gospel, but most, including professing Christians, don’t even know that they have such a need. They operate upon the atheistic ethical principles taught to them in public schools: the end justifies the means. As a result, they grow up and make horribly wrong choices.
For example, on November 20th, 2009, a young woman died while a Philadelphia doctor gave her an abortion. Such deaths are hardly ever reported nationally because it is politically incorrect to do so. When the authorities investigated the doctor’s offices, they found dozens of frozen babies, some dating back thirty years. What motivates such wanton disrespect for human life? The end justifies the means.
The gospel message, however, contains no such ethic. In fact, the apostle Paul specifically disavows and condemns the idea that we may do evil that good may come (Romans 3:8). Jesus taught an absolute standard of morality: love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39).
This means that neither God nor our neighbors are means to an end, but ends in and of themselves. God and our neighbor both have intrinsic value. Jesus reflected this truth when he implied that one soul is worth more than the entire wealth of the world (Matthew 16:26). God and the souls of men are valuable as ends in and of themselves.
What it means to love is explicitly set forth in the commandments (John 14:15, 1 John 5:2-3). Paul writes that when we keep God’s commandments we demonstrate true love toward our neighbor because following these absolute standards intrinsically results in not simply minimizing, but eliminating real moral harm to our neighbor (Romans 13:8-10).
Many personally understand that reducing harm is a good thing and desirable as an ultimate consequence. However, when sought based upon man’s standards instead of God’s, such individuals actually end up causing more harm altogether. These seek the consequence of reducing harm as an end in itself. They employ any means to accomplish it, including, but not limited to, treating people as means to an end. By not considering individuals as ends of themselves, however, they only increase harm.
This was the attitude of Napoleon, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and Pol Pot. They perpetrated great crimes against humanity in the name of “social progress.” The end justified the means, they reasoned. Their primary error was thinking that they could do it under their own auspices; without divine revelation, without an absolute standard of morality.
Most people in the world do not want to harm others. However, they don’t know that the best way to do that is to commit to and obey the gospel. The world needs the gospel, but they don’t know it.