Foundations for a Christian Worldview: Begin Here (7)
Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Romans 7.12
The goal of worldview
Everyone is seeking some version of the good life. It would be accurate to say that every worldview, whether understood clearly or barely, explains, justifies, and unfolds toward some vision of the good life.
Few – very few – are they who devote themselves to seeking misery, discomfort, pain, sorrow, disappointment, and suffering as their highest aspirations in life. People are not wired that way; we’re wired to want a good life, and our greatest challenge is to define that good life, and to understand what is needed to achieve it, so that we can seek it day by day.
And this is the task of worldview. Whether that worldview is secular, Muslim, Marxist, animist, or Christian, its aim is to define, pursue, and realize, as fully as possible, the idea of the good life that worldview propounds.
The clearer our understanding of the good life, the sharper and more well-defined will be the parameters of our worldview, and the more focused and fruitful will be our pursuit of that which we most desire.
Varieties of good
As is easily seen, ideas of the good life abound, and they do not always agree. For some, the good life is defined in materialistic terms, a life of getting and spending and indulging our sensual and material interests. When material abundance is what we seek, we will organize the time of our lives, first, to obtain material abundance and, second, to indulge it. Our lives alternate between seasons of work and times of leisure. And the sooner we can be through with the former, the more time we will have for the latter. Earning, spending, getting, and indulging are the watchwords of a materialistic worldview. Economics defines the moral code of such a worldview, and success is defined in terms of satiation.
Other worldviews revolve around acquiring and increasing power over others. People for whom power is the greatest good may or may not seek it for material ends. They may simply find satisfaction in commanding the attention, adulation, and compliance of as many people as possible. They want to be in charge, and they want everyone around them to acknowledge and accept their power. Marxist revolutionaries have gladly suffered the deprivations of the jungle for the sake of realizing power.
Still other worldviews are more other-worldly. The good life is not to be achieved in this life, except insofar as what we do in this life promises to secure for us what we hope for most in the life to come. Such a worldview can be a source of violence and danger when the ends of eternal bliss justify whatever we have to do to achieve that state.
As is clear, not all ideas of the good life are equally valid. One man’s good may be another man’s misery. If everything or anything can be described as good, then nothing is good, and it’s every man for himself, as in the days of the judges of ancient Israel.
So we need to make sure that the good we seek is truly good and worthy of our devotion and energy.
The God life
In the Christian worldview, the “good life” is the “God life” – life “under the heavens,” rather than “under the sun” (to recall Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes). The good life is the holy and just life, the life lived and taught by the best Man Who ever lived, our Lord Jesus Christ. The good life is knowing and serving Him Who alone is good, and by Whose grace our lives have been hidden in God (Col. 3.1-3).
Jesus is the Way to real life. He is the Truth about the good life. Jesus is the Good Life! To know Jesus is to know God and eternal life (Jn. 17.3). To follow Jesus is to be transformed into His holy and righteous and good image (2 Cor. 3.12-18). To serve Jesu s is to bring the goodness of God to light in the land of the living, in all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities (Ps. 27.13), to manifest the glory of God in good works in every area of life.
The leading edge of Christian witness in the early days of the Kingdom was the proclamation of Jesus as One Who did good and taught truth (cf. Acts 10.34-42). The astonishing example of the first Christians was their ability to set differences aside and live together in love, doing good and sharing with one another (Acts 6.1-7). The very end of our redemption as Christians is that we might know what is good (Jn. 13.17), do what is good (Tit. 2.11-14), encourage one another unto the good life (Heb. 10.24), and prepare such a repertoire and dossier of good works that, when we finally stand before our eternal Lord and Judge, we will have no fear of judgment, but only confidence in Him of being received into His eternal presence and blessedness.
Jesus is holy and just, and Jesus is good. He came to fulfill the Word of God, beginning in His Law, and to do those good works of righteousness that His followers should emulate, that they might make Him and His glory known throughout the world.
In the Christian worldview, the good life is the God life, life safely secured in the eternal love and strength of God by the gracious work of our good Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We want the good life Jesus has for us – life in His Kingdom, here and now and then and there – the Christian worldview. But we cannot possess what is good without also resolving to pursue what is holy and just.
And whatever is holy and just and good is to be found in Jesus, as witnessed to in Scripture, beginning in the Law of God.
So if we want to know the good life, which the Christian worldview offers, we cannot know it apart from Jesus, and we cannot understand Jesus apart from the Law of God.
And this is why our study of the Christian worldview must begin with Moses and God’s Law.
Questions for reflection
1. Where do people come up with their ideas about the good life? Why can’t anybody’s and everybody’s idea about the good life be good?
2. Jesus was good. Everyone will acknowledge that. But what made Him good? What standard of goodness did He observe? Why should His followers care about this?
3. Meditate on Romans 7.7 and 7.12. The Law reveals sin, and the Law outlines the path of holiness, righteousness, and goodness. Why do we need to make sure our Christian worldview is grounded in the Law of God?
Next steps – Preparation: What are you doing to bring more daily meditation in God’s Law (Ps. 1) into your walk with and work for the Lord? Share with a Christian friend your plan for this important aspect of Christian worldview living.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.