Foundations for a Christian Worldview: Spiritual and Religious (5)
“You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 18.4, 5
The good life
Worldviews emerge to define, justify, and guide us in pursuing the good life. We want a full and happy life, a life as free from trouble and worry as possible, one that will allow us to enjoy the people and things that bring us delight.
As we have mentioned, not everyone sees the good life in the same way. That will always be the case, and it is a chief reason why conflicts of worldviews erupt on the world stage. Our own country is even now in the throes of a conflict of worldviews, between those who define the good life in what are typically referred to as progressive terms, and those who tend to be more conservative in their aspirations. Both of these worldviews are secular worldviews; that is, advocates believe they can achieve the good life without meaningful resort, except as convenient, to spiritual or religious matters. While those professing faith in Jesus Christ can be found in each of these camps, in neither of them do believers wield much serious influence. We are, for the leaders of each of these worldviews, puppets and pawns to bring on the stage when it is convenient for their larger purposes. But to neither of these efforts do we contribute significant input toward a life that is truly good and truly glorifying to God.
And this highlights the importance of Christians being clear about the worldview God calls us to pursue in His Word. Because the Christian worldview comes to us from God, we should expect it to offer the greatest hope and maximum possibilities for knowing what is good and for enjoying life as God intends. We must be clear, to ourselves and the people around us, that the Christian worldview is not a go-along-to-get-along voice among the dominant worldviews of the day. Nor do we seek to bully or restrain or dominate the free choices of people; rather, the Christian worldview offers a unique understanding of life as spiritual and religious, a redeemed life, rooted in grace, that redounds in all aspects to the goodness of human beings and the world, and to the glory of God above that.
If we fail to grasp and make this point, we will not achieve the worldview of Scripture, nor will we persuade many to embrace and enter that promise of the good life.
Not merely spiritual
We have said that the Biblical worldview, which is revealed as a cornerstone of divine revelation in the Law of God, is a spiritual worldview. It comes to us from beyond this world, from God Himself. But this should not be understood to mean that this worldview applies only to “spiritual” matters. The Biblical worldview is not a narrow, “religious” understanding of human life. It does not offer a “private” or merely “personal” framework for coping with the demands of a secular age. The Christian worldview speaks to all of life and counsels the redeemed and covenant people of God concerning how they may know fullness of life, peace, and joy in the Lord.
We see this from the very beginning of the Christian worldview, as that worldview comes to expression in the Law of God. The Law of God – God’s gracious gift to the world through His redeemed people – speaks to every aspect of life, outlining and prescribing that which God defines as good and for His glory.
The Law addresses the inner concerns of the human life – heart, mind, and conscience. It teaches us how to discipline our souls so that all our words and deeds may be unto justice and love.
The Law guides us in how to conduct relationships of truth and love, beginning in the home, working out from there to our neighbors, and addressing all the various relational demands of living in society with others.
The Law speaks of matters of life in community – to justice, culture, government, economics, and religious life. It guides us in the use of our personal gifts, abilities, and resources. It counsels us concerning how to show the blessings of God to those outside the pale of God’s covenant and redemption.
The Law even outlines our responsibilities toward the created order, how we must use and care for the rich resources of the creation all around us.
And the Law of God insists that the wisdom and goodness it prescribes for all these areas of life can only be fully appropriated in a religious life of fellowship with and love for God. Believers are being faithful to the worldview that begins to emerge in the Law of God as they study and practice that worldview spiritually and religiously, and not merely as a prop for some preferred secular and political agenda.
Jesus taught that they will be great in the Kingdom of God who learn, obey, and teach the Law of God (Matt. 5.17-19). This should be our objective. The Christian worldview offers a vision of God’s Kingdom, coming on earth as it is in heaven, not merely of a secular agenda shaped and influenced by a few God-minded people. The worldview that begins to surface in the Law of God shows us how to discipline ourselves so the we bring every thought and every moment captive for obedience to King Jesus. And the Law of God emphasizes that only love for God and our neighbors provides the standard of Kingdom progress – not judges in courts, elected officials in office, or laws designed to protect religious freedoms or curtail unsavory moral conduct.
By learning the Law of God we may expect to gain the wisdom and heart of God for all of life. As the Law, like the fire in Moses’ bush, burns from without out souls with the very presence of God, we, through obedience to God’s Law, bring the blessings of His covenant to every person, situation, role, and responsibility of our own lives. If we are faithful and diligent at seeking to achieveour worldview, rather than to lend it to some merely political or cultural agenda, we will find that the unbelieving peoples around us will be influenced for a truly good life by the wisdom, beauty, goodness, and truth they see in and hear from us (cf. Deut. 4.5-8; Mic. 4.1-8; Ps. 81.15).
God knows how to unpack the blessings of His redemption to His people and the world, so that we know what is truly good and are thus able to enjoy lifeas God intends. And He has determined that this great work should begin in knowledge of and obedience to His Law.
Questions for reflection
1. How would you describe the conflict of worldviews that is raging in this country?
2. What does it mean to “seek first” the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6.33)? Can we seek the Kingdom apart from knowing the Law of the King? Why not?
3. Summarize the Christian understanding of the good life.
Next steps – Conversation: Talk with a Christian friend about the conflict of worldviews raging in our country. What should be the Christian’s role in this situation?
T. M. Moore
The Christian worldview focuses on Jesus. Do you know Him? Our book, To Know Him, can help you answer that question confidently, and equip you to tell others about Jesus as well. Order your copy by clicking here. For a handy compendium of the laws, statutes, and precepts contained in the Law of God, grouped according to the Ten Commandments, order our book, The Law of God, by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.