Good News for Christians

Worldview 3  For the Christian, I think one of the most important verses in the entire New Testament is Romans 12:2: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” The reason for this is that we are not saved just so we can continue living, breathing, and thinking like we always have. We are saved for a purpose and with the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit our discernment and understanding grow and we experience radical change in our attitudes and our thinking. In other words, the Christian life is a life of transformation.

Paul instructs us, in his letter to the Philippians: “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:12,13) And again we are taught: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) There are plenty of Bible verses with similar messages, the bottom line of which is the call to be more than just saved, we are to be disciples, living to serve and to please God.

One of the most important transformations we undergo, as Christians, is in the area of our worldview. A worldview is the way we understand the world around us. If you have watched the evening news, read a newspaper, or surfed on-line news sources within the last few years, then you probably have heard the term and are aware that there are a few competing worldviews out there. But whether or not you have given much thought to your worldview; you can be confident in one thing: everyone has one.

Prior to becoming a Christian, my worldview would have been most closely associated with what is called “secular humanism”. Secular humanism is most easily defined as the worldview in which humans are the primary source of our values and understanding of the world. It is the worldview that is presented in public schools, certain science journals, and so on. Many new Christians may hold on to this worldview at first, but as we study God’s Word, get involved in our churches, and experience the power of the Holy Spirit, God starts to transform our thinking and we begin to understand differently. We start to be transformed.

The Christian worldview, of course, is quite different from the humanist view and that of other religions. Space in this blog doesn’t allow me to dig to deeply into all the facts and information on the Christian worldview, but at the bottom you will find some links to assist you with further study. For now, I would like to address four basic areas in which our worldview is so very vital. Again, due to space constraints, I can only present a basic overview here. There is much more information available by clicking the links at the bottom.

1) Origins

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Human beings are a special creation of God, in his likeness, with special purpose and special relationship to our Creator. “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) We are created beings and not the result of evolution from some primordial ooze or lower life form. It is only when we understand our true origin that we understand the special value that human life has and we comprehend that we are much more than the result of random molecular mutations. “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” (Genesis 1:31)

2) Purpose

So we are God’s special creation and, therefore, we must have purpose. But just what is that purpose? Simply put, our primary purpose is to glorify God.  We see this in many verses but I’ll just list a few of my favorites:

“What are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority.” (Psalm 8:4-6)

“Honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” (Psalm 29:2)

“So that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.” (Romans 1:5b)

“The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” (Ephesians 1:14)

It is our status as God’s special creation and this purpose that highlights the inherent value in human life.

3) Morality

This is the area that is maybe the easiest to understand in concept, but often is the hardest to fully embrace in practice. The concept: that God created us and everything around us so, therefore, he establishes the rules, is clear enough. But the Bible is chock full of examples of disobedience, which should tell us something about the difficulty of obedience. Still, lack of obedience does not disqualify truth. Nor do our opinions about the rules.

In the secular worldview, society makes the rules; there is no eternity to consider and no true higher authority, so we are free to do whatever we feel is right. The rules society sets for itself are always subject to change based on the whims of the majority, or the minority if they have garnered for themselves enough power. There are no absolutes and no absolute authority.

In the Christian worldview, however, we have the Bible as our absolute authority, and we have a Living God as the ultimate judge. God made the rules and, like a loving parent, he established them in accordance with his purpose for us and to provide the best chance for our happiness. Psalm 119 speaks of living by God’s commandments; verses 1 & 2 say: “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.”

The bottom line: Joyful are those who follow God’s instruction!

4) Destiny

Christians realize they are sinners and believe there is a God who will judge the world and, therefore, they recognize people are without hope apart from the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Romans 8:1 says: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” The eternal destiny of the forgiven is, perhaps, the first element of a Christian worldview that a Christian grasps. And we understand the opposite is also true; those who do not have Christ are perishing. As it is written in 1 John 5:12: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.”

This is why Jesus gave us the great commission (ie: Matthew 28:16-20). And it is why growing in our understanding and worldview is so vital. Because “if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15) Understanding the Christian worldview is important to being prepared to share our faith. And when we share our faith and live in obedience to Him; we fulfill our purpose of glorifying God. The truly good news for Christians is that we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to drive our desire to grow in our Christ-likeness and to give us discernment. And our understanding of the Christian worldview is certainly one barometer of our growth!

If you have not yet made the decision to repent and turn to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, I appreciate that you have read this far. And since you have, why not make this the moment you claim the promise of Romans 8:1 and have all your sins forgiven. Just open your heart and talk to God, confess your wrongs, and ask his forgiveness. For… ”If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

For those of you wanting to know more about the Christian worldview, here are some resources:

Answers in Genesis

J Warner Wallace

Institute for Creation Research

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

 

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Waterfalls

Waterfall2

Donna and I just completed our annual Memorial Day weekend getaway, once again visiting Lake Superior. This year, we were along the North Shore, near Grand Marais and Grand Portage, almost to the Canadian border. It was a wonderful trip just full of amazing scenery. Visiting Lake Superior is becoming a thing for us, as we have now visited several locations around the lake over the last few years. For me, Copper Harbor last fall and the North Shore this year have been my favorites.

We stayed at the Cliff Dweller on Lake Superior and I would be amiss if I didn’t take the time to mention this wonderful little hotel with the friendly and accommodating staff that felt much more like a resort than a hotel. The Cliff Dweller is situated right on the shoreline and overlooks the lake from each room. Every room features a balcony where you can sit and relax to the sound of the crashing waves while enjoying your morning coffee. It was a lovely way to wake up and start each day!

The North Shore area features many hiking trails, scenic overlooks, historical landmarks, and astounding geological formations. In Grand Marais, we discovered such wonderful eateries as The World’s Best Donuts, Sven & Olie’s Pizza, and the Angry Trout Café. The smell of campfire permeated the town as several businesses had outdoor fire pits going. Being so far north, Spring was just beginning, but despite being so early in the season, the weather cooperated such that we enjoyed hundreds of miles of top down driving and dinner outdoors overlooking the harbor.

Two of the most amazing stops on our journey came near the Canadian border. The first was the “High Falls” on the Pigeon River. This amazing work of nature straddles the border and is simply incredible to see in person. As torrents of water plummet 120 feet over the falls and you are sprayed by the mist as you watch from the man-made overlook that you come to after a beautiful half mile hike through the forest. In days gone by, this waterfall was such an obstacle to river travel that American Indians created a nine-mile portage trail to Lake Superior that became known as “The Grand Portage”.

The second amazing site was the Grand Portage National Monument. Here a reconstruction of the old fort holds a wealth of information about life in frontier times, complete with actors fully in character who bring the era to life and answer all your questions. The visitor center contains many artifacts from archeological exploration of the area along with recreated items and knowledgeable guides to explain it all. The rich history of the area combined with the awesome views of Lake Superior was overwhelming to the senses and fired my imagination of what life must’ve been like in those distant times.

It was here in Grand Portage that I came across the following quote, posted on the wall: “I believe in going back to the magic of the earth and the lake, the sky and the universe. That kind of magic. I believe in that kind of religion. A religion of the rocks, the lake, the water, the sky. Yes, that’s what I believe in.” Upon first reading, this quote might seem profound, but it left me with a feeling of sorrow. I find the thought that any person could come to this exquisitely stunning area and come to appreciate its magnificence yet seemingly miss that it was all created by the Lord God Almighty profoundly sad.

To witness the majesty of this area is to see the wonderful works of the Creator firsthand. And such elegant beauty should deepen our admiration and appreciation of the God who created it all; it should move us to praise the Creator not the creation. But the quote above seems to resound with just the opposite, which reminds me of what the Apostle Paul was moved to write in his letter to the Romans: “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature….(but) they traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” (Romans 1:19-20,25)

Whether standing in the mist of the High Falls or staring out into the vastness of Lake Superior, I am reminded that, though these things seem magnificent to me, they are but a mere teardrop compared to our Creator God. For God is infinitely vast, having created not only the planet earth and everything in it, but also the entire universe, the size of which we cannot precisely determine. It is God who set in motion all the laws of physics and science which we so earnestly study but scarcely yet comprehend. And it is this same immutable, eternal, and infinite God who has numbered every hair on my head, who cared enough about me…and you…to send his very own Son to redeem us so we might also live eternally in fellowship with him.

Yes, to think anyone could experience the beauty of the North Shore and miss the significance of its message about the Creator and about the love He has for each and every one of us fills me with deep sadness. And I hope this little blog will help you see that the very beauty you see in nature pales in comparison to the divine beauty God sees in you.

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” Psalm 139:17-18

God loves you. More than you will ever know or understand. If you’d like to learn more, please check out:

KnowGod.org

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.