The Christian In the World

Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013 in Culture

You are familiar with the truth, “The believer is to be in the world but not of the world.” We are fallen people living in a fallen world, and we need to remind ourselves of this daily lest we fall into despair. More, if we have received Christ Jesus as Lord, we have the joy and the hope that we are God’s people in God’s world and we are called to serve Him where He has placed us in this world for His glory and for His name. We who are fallen yet redeemed are not to be worldly. The Christian is to be in the world but not of the world.

This does not come without difficulty. Great tension has and does exist as one seeks to strike the balance. Some withdraw from the world in an effort to be “not of the world” while others assimilate in an effort to be “in the world.” Neither of these extremes is necessary when we recognize what it means to be a Christian in the world, to be salt and light to rottenness and darkness.

Dr. Carl Trueman wrote the following in a Reformation 21 blog on the church fathers (otherwise known as patristics):

The pre-Constantinian context of much patristic theology offers a paradigm of how Christians can operate as a minority in a hostile or indifferent society.  I am often struck by the difference between the early church apologists approach to the Roman Empire (`don’t persecute us because Christians actually make the best citizens’) with the modern approach of `don’t mess with us, we’re Christians’ where Christianity can sometimes look like little more than a cultural idiom for protesting Communism, secularism etc.

For further study on living as a Christian in the world, listen to Dr. Graham Cole’s recent message preached at Grace Covenant. It is filled with quotes from the early church fathers and apologists along the line of Trueman’s thought. More, Cole shows from Scripture what the title “Christian” meant in the early church. It is worth a listen.


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