“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
C.S. Lewis asserted that the Christian faith is highly distinctive among religions and worldviews in that Christianity is both “world-affirming” and “world-denying” at the same time. Lewis described it as having a “blessedly two-edged character” which is shaped by the two doctrines of creation and the fall.
As followers of Christ, we affirm the goodness of the world as God created it and intended it to be. At the same time we reject what the world has become as a result of the corruption brought on by the fall. It is essential that the Christian community in the 21st century fully embrace this blessedly two-edged character. We must, at all costs, avoid emphasizing one element of the dual character at the expense of the other. We must not reject and deny the world to the point that we lose sight of the goodness of creation as God intended it; likewise, we must not engage with the world so deeply that we participate in it’s brokenness and corruption.
Jesus’ kingdom created the world; Satan’s kingdom corrupted it.
The truth is that the kingdom and authority of Jesus had been powerfully demonstrated in creating the world, and would soon be demonstrated even more powerfully in redeeming it. By contrast, Satan had displayed the nature of his kingdom by corrupting the world. Jesus is the Lord of creation and redemption; the devil is the god of corruption. The kingdom of Jesus creates, redeems, and gives life. The kingdom of the devil corrupts, distorts, and brings death. The good news is that the kingdom of Jesus has defeated kingdom of the evil one.
“Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31)
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
This goes to the heart of the mission of the people of God. Christ calls us to himself, redeems us, and then begins the process of transforming us. The gospel should transform our view of work, and it should transform why and how we do our work, and it should send us into the very centers of culture. The gospel does not call us to stand on the periphery and protest, nor does it call us to imitate culture. We are agents of change, but we must earn the right through our competency to push for change.
Further, and this is the really big issue, the church should have a strategy for impacting and transforming the institutions that shape culture. Christian influence on culture occurs not primarily by human design (although human designs are involved) but by God’s supernatural use of the obedient and effective Christians in their positions of public stewardship in all domains of culture. If we do not build effective, obedient Christians who can penetrate and impact culture-shaping institutions, there will be no sustainable transformation.
Right now the secularists build and develop the people who lead the institutions that shape our society. As a result, the institutions promote secular things. Until that changes, American culture will be dominated by secularism, and the church will be relegated to the margins of culture. It is time for the church to build and develop people who will influence and lead the institutions that shape our society.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Trust God and do the work for which he created you.