Over the past 30 years, I’ve been challenged by the writings of Christian thinkers like Francis Shaeffer, Nancy Pearcey, and Vishal Mangalwadi. Christian worldview studies have always interested me because, as a Christian, my worldview and way of living are shaped by what I believe to be true.
Every day, however, I encounter worldviews very different from, or even opposite of, a Christian worldview. Here are a few worldviews believed, promoted, and lived out in this current age:
- Hedonism aims to pursue as much pleasure as possible.
- Nihilism believes life has no meaning and values are baseless.
- Existentialism says we’re responsible for creating our own meaning.
- Naturalistic Pantheism aims to care for the environment.
- Humanism is centered on human potential.
- Classical Liberalism emphasizes the importance of individual liberty.
Before we’re church leaders or church planters, we’re Christians living out a Christian worldview. Unlike Hedonists, Nihilists, or Humanists, we believe in an eternal trinitarian God who created the universe. He sent Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, to live the perfect life, to die on a cross, and to rise from the grave—conquering sin and death. He created us as eternal beings, and we’ll experience eternal death or eternal life depending on whether we truly know God as our Father. This is our worldview, and we find a clear plan for what it looks like to live it out in Romans 12.
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1–2, CSB). Someone could serve and love people their whole life, but without being rightly related to God, they’re just like Hedonists or Pantheists. Click To Tweet
Throughout the first 11 chapters of Romans, Paul unpacks the wealth of what God has done for those in a right relationship with him. But in Romans 12, Paul turns his attention to our response to God’s mercies. It causes us to ask, “so what? How should I live in light of all of the mercies of God?”
A Right Relationship with God
Why does being rightly related to God matter? We must know, remember, and be moved by the things God did for us. This love is what distinguishes the Christian worldview from all others.
Three phrases in Romans 12:1 emphasize this:
- “Brothers and sisters” – Paul is writing to a specific audience. Brothers and sisters are those of us who are rightly related to God.
- “Therefore” – Paul spent 11 chapters in Romans unpacking what God has given to those in relationship with him. We then see a common pattern he uses in the epistles of the New Testament. Paul tells us to look at what God has given us, then, in light of what God has done, it shows us how to respond.
- “In view of the mercies of God” – To summarize, Romans 1–11 says this: God saved us, showed us great kindness, brought us forgiveness, gave us freedom, reconciled us to himself, glorified us, gave us eternal life, adopted us, and gave us the Holy Spirit. He brought us peace, and hope, and made us righteous.
Together, these phrases tell us that nothing else matters if one isn’t rightly related to God. Cleaning yourself up may yield some beneficial results, but it’s spiritually irrelevant and worthless. Someone could serve and love people their whole life, but without being rightly related to God, they’re just like Hedonists or Pantheists.
A Transformed Way of Living
Now that we have the gospel, are brothers and sisters, and understand the mercies of God, we should live transformed lives. The Christian way of life is one of worship where we present our entire selves as a living sacrifice. Dead sacrifices aren’t acceptable. Jesus already made the final death sacrifice required by his covenant.
The gospel demands a life entirely different than the people around us. It doesn’t mean we don’t drive cars, live in houses, eat delicious food, take walks, or have good conversations. The whole of the Scriptures points us to ways we live differently than those who haven’t embraced God’s mercies. The Christian sees other Christians as brothers and sisters. The Christian sees non-Christians with compassion like sheep without a shepherd and seeks to point them to be in right relationship with their Creator. The gospel demands a life change involving your participation, effort, and commitment. Click To Tweet
A Holistic and Invasive Change
The gospel of Jesus transforms lives. But God’s mercy doesn’t automatically produce a transformed and countercultural life. Paul urges us to make conscious decisions to live a particular way, not conforming to the world around us. The gospel demands a life change involving your participation, effort, and commitment.
Gospel transformation is holistic and invasive—the opposite of nominal Christianity in which someone hasn’t responded to God’s work. Transformation isn’t a small change like changing your shirt. It’s a new set of glasses to see and engage with the world differently.
A gospel worldview should impact everything in our lives: our possessions, sexuality, marriages, singleness, speech, how we exercise power, how we treat people, how we view non-Christians, how we interact with Christians, and how we parent. Everything.Gospel transformation is holistic and invasive—the opposite of nominal Christianity in which someone hasn’t responded to God’s work. Click To Tweet
My prayer is that we plant and lead churches where we continually preach and teach that everything begins by being rightly related to God, and remind people of his mercies. May our churches be where we live, teach, and disciple people toward holistic and invasive gospel transformation.