Arguing About Morality – Gospel in Life

Arguing About Morality

Tim Keller |  July 8, 2001

Download Agreement

By downloading this file, I confirm I understand Gospel in Life's Copyright & Permissions policies and agree to only use this file for personal usage and will not upload it to any third-party platforms.


  • Repentance
Mark 12:28-34
RS 133-2


In the Bible, we often see people engaging Jesus in debate or argument about different theological or moral issues. This passage helps us understand the nature of morality, or what it means to live a moral life. In this sermon, we will see 1) The problem we all have; 2) The life we all need; and 3) The journey we must take to get there.

Understanding Mark 12:28–34

People today often disagree about what’s right and wrong. But Jesus gave us a simple yet profound approach: love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. This lesson can be broken down into three parts: realizing we all have a problem, identifying the kind of life we should live, and figuring out how to get there.

1. The problem we all have

Just like a teacher of the law in Mark’s story, we all struggle with wanting to be free, yet needing rules to guide us. Sometimes it feels like rules are both helpful and burdensome, like what Jen experiences in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” But Jesus shows us that the answer isn’t about the rules themselves, it’s about finding true freedom and acceptance with His help.

2. The life we all need

Jesus turns our understanding of religion on its head by saying that love is at the heart of all commands and laws. Instead of obeying rules to gain rewards or feel superior, we should follow them out of love for God and respect for ourselves. If we do things out of fear or pride, we can end up misusing religion. It’s crucial to develop a real relationship with God, filled with love, and let that guide our actions.

3. The journey we must all take in order to get there

Creating this love-based relationship isn’t something we can achieve by ticking off religious checkboxes or making sacrifices. Instead, it involves admitting we can’t perfectly follow God’s laws and asking for forgiveness. Understanding God’s grace, which goes beyond both liberal and conservative ideas, is a lifelong journey. Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the cross is how we can start forming a relationship with God and aim for humble obedience, even if we aren’t perfect.



Removing Idols of the Heart

By Tim Keller

Exclusivity: How Can There Be Just One True Religion?

By Tim Keller

David and Bathsheba

By Tim Keller

July Book Offer

Reading Galatians Can Change Your Life!

Galatians is a powerful book that shows how people can think they know the gospel but are actually losing touch with it. In this study of the book of Galatians, Dr. Keller helps you understand how this short book in the New Testament can transform your life.