Culture vs. Bible
Look with me at Col. 1:2 as we continue to speak to the appropriate posture we are to live with in relation to us and God. Look at what it says carefully. Paul addresses a couple of things here that are immensely important for us to understand as believers, especially in these times we live in today.
As believers, we live in two locations, if you will, at the same, both a physical and a spiritual location, and we must be mindful at all times of both and the impact they have on our lives. How do we properly relate to both as we walk this road as believers? All of Colossians really goes back to this reality of being IN Christ. The sufficiency of our salvation and position of being IN Christ and how this flows into everything else we will see in Colossians. Believers are IN Christ. And that changes everything and makes sense of everything.
As believers, we have a physical location that affects our lives a great deal, both good and bad, but we must remember that this is not our true home and where our citizenship is found. And as such, this world cannot dictate our worldview, how we view everything, including ourselves and others.
Believers must be wise to our physical location because Satan seeks to use the culture we live in to impact our walk by ensnaring us with a preoccupation with culture and not a pure walk with Christ. Even taking on the philosophies of this world and how we see ourselves and others versus how the Bible speaks to these.
The tendency and tactic of Satan is for us to settle or blend in, to mix and match religions, to mix and match world philosophies, to lose focus, perspective, to rob our joy, to steal our hope. Even now in all that we face and the division that sits at every turn.
How we view ourselves. How we view others. How we think about race. How we think about government. How we define justice. Solutions to these problems. Will the Bible inform us on these, or will our flesh? Will the Bible inform these or will this world inform these? Feelings or truth? That is our battle. And our discussion over the past few weeks on postures matters because these false postures can show themselves here in how we view the things we have mentioned and which we are battling in our society today.
Will we view everything thru the lens of the Bible and the gospel? Or will our flesh or some other source guide our thinking? How will we view and work thru how we view self. Others. Race. Justice. Government. Racism. Injustice. Division. What is or are the solutions? Where do we look?
For the believer, we must be informed by the Bible and not primarily by culture. Bible over feelings. Biblical wisdom over our own wisdom. Faith over flesh.
Satan, thru the things and systems of this world, seeks to do the same today as in Haggai’s day. To ignore God's work for our own. ignore God's agenda and ways for our own. Satan seeks to distract us from what is most important, God's kingdom and the advancement of the gospel, by focusing us on our own kingdom or in doing things according to the wisdom of this world.
Our tendency is to fall in love with this world and seek it over the Lord. Our ways and agenda over His. To subtly over time blend and settle in with culture, slowly taking on the ways and wisdom of culture. Indoctrinating us slowly so we notice it less. To forget that we are the temple today. God dwells in your believer. That is why joining the world and loving the world is so offensive to God.
That is why I used the word rival. The world we live in today offers many rivals, counterfeits to what Christ offers. Disguises of truth in Satanic lies. All with the goal of pulling us away from Christ, deceiving us, getting us to waste our lives on lies, seeing each other wrongly, fighting wrong battles in wrong ways, lacking love, full of pride and arrogance.
And at the same time, getting us to forget that we are here in this culture for a reason, a purpose. God is not overwhelmed by Satan and his attacks and efforts. They are nothing new, as they have been around forever. As such, we as believers are not ill-equipped to defend ourselves from falling into the traps. There will always be a temptation to settle for less than Christ, to look for something in addition to Christ, to add to or take away from the work of Christ, to get distracted. To assume a false posture or approach to God to gain what only can be gained thru Christ. To fall in line with the ways of the world and its philosophies. These are false postures where Christ ceases to be supreme. Even to ignore what we see around us and act like it isn't happening or to write off the world and not care. All are wrong postures.
Our physical location and all that it brings cannot be ignored. Paul didn’t do that, and neither can we do that. We are not to isolate, but rather to insulate, that we would understand what it means to be IN Christ and all that the gospel brings with it to defend against the allures and attacks of this world. To be so fully satisfied in Christ that this world would have nothing to offer us, because Christ’s work is sufficient. And in this believers would not turn away to worthless things of this world. Insulated so we can go into the world and the world not get into us.
This is part of what is involved and called for in the Bible and why the Bible calls us to being separate from the world. To be distinct. We must be “in the world,” but not “of the world.” Our satisfaction is not in or of this world and its ways. This world truly is not out home. We are here, and that cannot be ignored, but we are here for a reason – to be lights among a dark sinful world. Not to enjoy the world. Look at 2 Tim. 2:4. We are here on a mission, not to settle in and be comfortable or distracted by this world from our mission. This physical world is our mission field, not our home. We can’t settle in too much where we lose our distinctiveness as believers.
So much is wrong with our world and has been since the Fall in recorded in Genesis. We see this every day. But the posture we as believers must maintain is that the Gospel of God thru Jesus Christ is the only real and eternal solution. What lies beneath all that we see is sin. And that is why we remain in enemy territory, because God has commissioned us as His ambassadors and equipped us with the cure for this foreign land in which we live.
We must keep this perspective. Other people who are different from us are not the enemy. Other people who are different from us are not the problem. Sin is the issue. Satan is the enemy. People are the mission field, not the problem. The solution is not us being better people on our own. The solution is the gospel. Christ in us, the hope of glory. Only Christ in us can defeat the flesh and sin. Put to death the deeds of darkness.
May we be a people whose position of being "IN CHRIST" dictates everything about our lives. May we put this on as the Bible says. May this be our posture. How we see ourselves. Others. Race. Justice. Government. You name it. Gospel saturated understanding towards these informing all of our lives. May our lives be informed and guided by the gospel. First in us, flowing to the world around us. Our own forgiveness guiding our treatment and pursuit of others.
And when we differ in the body, may the grace and reconciliation first offered to us in the gospel inform our differences with each other. Seeing each other as family and not enemies. May God's pursuit of us guide our pursuit of others. We are here for the advancement of the gospel. May our lives be informed at every turn and in every issue by this gospel, both how we see ourselves and those around us. All to the glory of God and the advancement of the gospel.
This world is not our home. It is our mission field. We are ambassadors of God equipped with the gospel and as such fully-equipped to do every work God has for us. May this be our posture before a watching world.