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God’s Intended Culture

“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen 1:28)

In the Bible Jesus says: “Christians are in the world, but not of the world.” But what exactly does Jesus mean by that? Since we are “not of the world,” there are many Christians who have taken a negative attitude toward culture. To them, the Church is in constant conflict with the world —it is us versus them. So our “job” is primarily to rescue as many sinners as we can from a world that is perishing.  many Scriptures to back up their theses. Bible verses such as “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Satan is the “ruler of this world” (John 14:30; 16:11) and the “god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4). The world knows not God, neither the children of God (1 Cor. 1:21; John 17:25; 1 John 3:1, 13). The world hates the Christians (John 15:18-19; 17:14). Christians are not to “love the world or the things in the world,” that “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). This world is passing away (2:17), and we must do everything we can to oppose and overcome it by faith (5:4). Even Jesus Christ Himself does not pray for the world (John 17:9). More than that, the world hates Jesus because He testifies that its works are evil (John 7:7). Then Paul even speaks of having the world crucified to himself, and himself being crucified to the world through Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:14). “Whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). In the last 6 months I have begun to take a different view of all of this. In studying the word both by myself and in my coaching sessions with my late coach, who outside of my Lord Jesus, I would not even be writing this  article a few things have come to my attention.

The Bible also tells us that “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” not “to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). Jesus Christ is “the light of the world” (John 8:12), “the Savior of the world” (John 4:42), and “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2). “That God, in Christ, is reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19). Eventually, “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). For there will be “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). “The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:3-5).  All of this  in the Bible  can be confusing concerning the world, blowing hot and cold at the same time? Knowing the whole counsel of God’s Word is very important.  It is NOT the  “Word” one holds, it is the depth of the “Word”.

When the Scripture uses the word “world,” it means, The world is God’s created order (or masterpiece) for His own enjoyment. The Bible says that “all things were created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16). “For Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11, KJV). That is why although the world is fallen, God still loves it— and so should we! In fact, He loved it so much that He sent His Son to reconcile all things in the world back to Him (Col. 1:20). So this world, which God loves and Jesus saves, is not totally evil. But nevertheless, it suffers the effects of sin and the way sinners have treated it. Acts 3:21 says that the plan of God now or in this age is to restore all things to its original purpose and intention. To shun the world, or even to hate it, is to walk in rebellion against God. The world also implies physical lands or nations. Jesus says that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). To Christ, used in this context, the world refers to countries and physical territories on planet Earth.

When God created man and put him in the Garden of Eden, He gave him the responsibility “to tend and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). To tend the land means to plow or to cultivate the ground. But in the Latin, it is the word cultura, where you get the English word “culture.” Herein lies a very important truth: culture is God’s original purpose for man! It is not a concept from the devil. It is an idea from God. God wanted Adam to “do culture,” taking the seed He has put into Adam’s hands and releasing its potential into a mighty harvest. Therefore, in its earliest and simplest definition, culture means taking the raw material God has given to man, and creatively nurturing it to its fullest potential. Because doing it requires creativity, each time we do culture we are actually reflecting the image of Elohim—the God who is creative. Consciously or subconsciously, the human race has been doing many things that are in opposition to God the father’s desire to LOVE one another.As we develop the social world and harness the natural world, we are creating culture and building civilization upon the world that God has ordered. In theology, this is called the “cultural mandate.” As we do that, we are given the awesome privilege to be God’s co-creators! No wonder King David stood in amazement as he pondered on the whole purpose of man: “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels [more accurately, ‘Elohim God’], and You have crowned him with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:4-6). As you go about your day realize you are indeed God’s masterpiece you were in fact designed for accomplishment, now go forth and take back the Kingdom with Joy, Peace, and His Righteous!

This article is dedicated to my late friend/coach “Larry”

RIP

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