News and Views
Living as Christians in Culture
The question is: How do we live as Christians, to the glory of God, in today's liberal "secular" culture with its inspiration from atheistic humanism? I don't have a set of detailed dos and don'ts, but I do know some of the principles by which to seek to live. First, foremost, and always, we must seek God, seek to personally know God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. This means pursuing Him in His infallible, inspired written Word, the Bible, until we experience great joy and delight in meeting Him, until we are amazed with awestruck wonder at His unlimited, unchanging, perfectly united harmony of power, wisdom, knowledge, love, grace, mercy, justice and other attributes.
We absolutely must be people both of God's written Word, the Bible, and of God's ever living Word, Jesus, empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit to be people both of study and understanding, and of experience. Second, we must actively and steadfastly reject the barrage of human philosophy and rationalization with which the atheistic humanist liberal "secular" culture attacks the foundations of Christian belief, faith and practice. The best preparation for this is to follow Paul's advice in Ephesians 6:11 - 17 (NIV), "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Thus prepared, we can maintain and proclaim the unlimited greatness of God, the creator of reality Who is all powerful, all knowing, all present, the source of all that is good and right.
We can consistently acknowledge that all humans are in a state of separation from God and goodness, i.e. sinful, until coming to Jesus for forgiveness through His shed blood. We can recognize that humans are children of God only by adoption through faith in Jesus Christ, "the way and the truth and the life," (John 14:6 NIV), the only means, given by God, of coming to God and receiving eternal life. Wearing the armour of God, we can reject the lies from our culture by thoroughly knowing and proclaiming God's unchanging Truth.
Thirdly, our lives must reflect our faith, to the glory of God. Recognizing that we remain fallible humans throughout this life, we do not intentionally disobey Him. We seek to align our will with His will as revealed in His Word. We must seek to live a quality of life that exceeds and corrects the sentimental individualistic goodness typical of our culture similar to the way the goodness of Jesus' life exceeded and corrected the self-righteous legalism of the religious leaders of His day; as when He broke their rigid sabbath rules, then proclaimed that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath (Mark 3:27); or when He drove the commercialism out of the temple (John 2:13 - 16). We will seek to encourage the growth in us of the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). The definition of love which we will seek to live out will be that of 1 Corinthians 13:4 - 8 (NIV), "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects,always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." We will strive to live lives of sexual purity, remembering that Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matt. 5:27 - 28 NIV) Knowing that celibacy and abstinence never harmed anyone, we will expect to restrict our sexual activity to within the marriage of one man and one woman for life. We will strive to have equal concern for the welfare of friend and foe as we have for ourselves. We will seek to live with integrity, honesty and respect for all, and to show what it means to love the person even when we consider his or her behaviour reprehensible.
Our goal will be to stand up for what is right and good, even when doing so is considered by our culture to be "politically incorrect" or in violation of so called "human rights." We will stand for life in the face of this culture of death that is trying to reduce the population at the expense of the most helpless members of society, the babe in the womb, the sick and disabled and the old. And we will pray. We will pray for wisdom to know how to handle each situation, and for courage to do what we know to be right and God's will for us. We will pray for courage and love to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ's saving grace. Perhaps, as enough of us truly seek God and His life for us, our nation will return to its Godly heritage.
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