The Christian World and Life View
by Rev. David Th.Stark , Copyright 1997
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The Christian World and Life View
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclestiastes 12: 13
Q.What is a "Christian World and Life View"?
A. The principles of God's Holy Word on which a Christian bases his or her philosophy of life both in theory and in practice.
I.The Ownership of the Creation
The first distinctive of a truly Christian World and Life View is the Doctrine of Creation. This doesn't mean the Christian merely recognizes evolution is a false philosophy and God created the world, but also that the entire creation exists as part of God's plan, and that everything exists (including the Christian) as part of that plan. There is no "chance" universe, or "luck" but rather God's unfolding and all encompassing plan. From the smallest sub-atomic particle to the fullest expanse of the universe, everything exists because God willed for it to exist, and He ordained its place in the Creation. The Christian acknowledges that everything belongs to God, and should be used for His glory.
ICorinthians10:26 For the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.
Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
1Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.
II. The Three "Creation Ordinances"
The whole of life may generally be summed up under the three "Creation Ordinances" i.e. those institutions which God established for mankind at the beginning of the creation, before the fall of Adam, namely, A.Marriage, B.Dominion (Labour), and C.the Sabbath.
When these areas of our lives are in accord with the Word of God we enjoy productive lives and the fellowship of God and his people. When these things are disordered in our lives we are usually unhappy and unproductive.
A. Marriage: Healthy families and honoring God.
Marriage was instituted by God in the garden of Eden between the first man Adam and the first woman Eve, whom God created to be with Adam as a helper and partner in his work of tending the garden and caring for the other creatures, whom God had placed under the dominion of the man and the woman.
Genesis 2:18, 21-25 "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him... And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."
Marriage being given to Adam and Eve in the Garden before the fall, it is an institution established for all of their descendants, throughout time. Though believers must only marry "in the Lord" (1Corinthians 7:39), nevertheless, it is lawful for persons saved and unsaved to marry, though not mixing with each other, and marriage is found in every civilized and "pagan" culture with varying degrees of corruption. This is clearly taught in Hebrews 13:4, "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."
Family Government in Christian Families
Although the headship of the man in the relationship of marriage was natural even before the fall on the basis of the creation order, after sin entered into the world the ordering of family government was more clearly established and continues even among the redeemed families in Christ's Church.
Genesis3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Ephesians 5:22,24 &25 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Colosians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
1Peter 3:1, 5 &7 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
The Heidelberg Catechism teaches this to us clearly.
"Q.108. What does the seventh commandment teach us?
A. That all unchastity is accursed of God; and that we should therefore loathe it from the heart, and live chastely and modestly, whether in holy wedlock or single life.
Q.109. Does God in this commandment forbid nothing more than adultery, and such like gross sins?
A. Since our body and soul are both temples of the Holy Ghost, it is his will that we keep both pure and holy; for which reason he forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words, thoughts, desires, and whatsoever may entice thereto.
B. Dominion (knowing and following our vocation in life)
The second "Creation Ordinance" which helps the Christian form his or her World and Life View is that of Dominion, or, in plain language, good old fashioned work.
To some in our declining culture it may sound like a shocking concept, but man was created to work, to follow his or her vocation in life, to the glory of God. As we labour to the Glory of God in our various jobs and tasks in life, we care and nurture and rightfully use the resources God has given us, thereby subduing the earth and putting it in good order. Some have misrepresented the Biblical teaching of Dominion as if was a mandate to abuse and pollute the earth, and strip it of all its resources in an irresponsible manner.
Many today try to advocate a "back to nature" philosophy and teach that it is wrong to use the earth's resources for the good of mankind. They are against cutting timber to build houses and furniture. They oppose growing feed crops for cattle, eating meat, or wearing leather garments. They believe that any "mark" which mankind may make upon the creation must inherently be bad. "Nature" left alone, unused, undeveloped, and full of weeds is their view of the good life. This is not the Biblical view. The Biblical view is that man must be responsible to God for his use of the creation. God owns the creation, and man as the image bearer of God must take care, develop and use the creation.
By honest and wise labour man is to pull the weeds, clear the fields for planting, use the mineral wealth of the earth for the glory of God and the good of God's people. The Christian is to be a worker, a grower, and a maker under God. He is to take the raw materials of the earth and bring them to order and usefulness. He will care for his environment, but unlike the modern environmentalists, the Christian will worship the Creator, not the creation.
The Christian understands God's plan of dominion and nurture. The non-Christian neither understands himself nor the purpose of the creation. He thinks it all may have just happened by evolutionary "chance", and has no meaning beyond the present. While he worships the soil, the Christian plows it, plants a crop, harvests it, and feeds his family (and the non-Christian, who opposes the Christian's dominion efforts, gets fed too.)
Genesis 1:26-28 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
After the fall, man was to labour in the sweat of his brow. Dominion was to continue, but now it would be with difficulty, for the earth would bring forth thorns and weeds. Work and dominion were to continue, and similar to the unbroken continuation of marriage, the Christian takes dominion as a restored image-bearer and a member of Christ's Church.
The Value & End of Our Labour
1Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Colosians 3:17 & 23 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Labour is required among all those able to work. Christian men are to work and support their families, and support the relief of those in need.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
The Apostle Paul took this matter seriously and gave clear directions to the Church both by his example and by command.
2 Thessalonians. 3:6-15 "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how you ought to follow us: for we did not behave ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but worked with labour and travail night and day, so that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves examples for you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But you, brethren, do not become weary in well doing. And if any man obeys not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."
C. Sabbath. If we will honour God with our labour, we must also show our submission to his Lordship by resting from our labours when he tells us to do so.
The third "Creation Ordinance" is that of the day of rest which God appointed after he had completed the creation in six literal days. He appointed the seventh day as a day of rest. We learn this first in Genesis 2:1-3 "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested [Hebrew, Vaiyishabboth] on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
The Sabbath is a special day.
The three thing God did in regard to the day of rest:
1. He rested in it. (It is to be a day of rest)
2. He blessed it. (It is to be a day to rejoice and enjoy God's works while we cease from our own)
3. He sanctified it. (It is to be a day set apart from the other six days of labour.
The Hebrew word for sanctify, "qadesh", has the idea of "setting apart", or "separating" something from common usage. Thus, the Sabbath is to be separated from the days of work, and given a special place.
In the two places in the writings of Moses where the Sabbath commandment is given, two very important reasons are given to us for its observance.
Reason #1, The Sabbath is to be a memorial of the creation and the rest which was instituted when it was completed.
Exodus 20:8 &11 "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy....For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."
Reason #2, The Sabbath also is to be observed as a reminder of the redemption from Egypt. This helps us understand the importance of the Lord's Day Sabbath rest for the Christian, when we celebrate not only our new Creation (cf.IICorinthians 5:17) but also our redemption by the resurrection of Christ.
Deuteronomy 5:12 & 15. "Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.... 15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day."
The Sabbath Rest Is A Perpetual Covenant Sign (Its not just for the Old Testament People)
Exodus 31:13 & 15 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh [is] the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth [any] work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
Isaiah 56:1 -2 "Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation [is] near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed [is] the man [that] doeth this, and the son of man [that] layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil."
Charitable Works may and should be done on the Sabbath.
This was the thing the Pharisees misunderstood. They thought it must be unlawful to anything on the Day of Rest. They fell into this error because they didn't follow Scripture in defining their faith, a common problem still with us in our day.
Isaiah 58: 8-14 "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I [am]. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And [if] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it]."
Our Lord also taught us that works of necessity may be done on the Sabbath.
The examples of watering our livestock, or helping some poor dumb ol' ox, cow, or donkey get out of a ditch in which it's gotten itself stuck show us that it is a day to help, not to hurt those things under our dominion and care.
Luke14:5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
We see that care may not only be taken for livestock, but for the physical welfare of ourselves and others also.
Mark 2:27-28 "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath."
The Sabbath Changed to the First day of the week at the Resurrection of Christ
The Sabbath is the day which God chooses. From the beginning of the creation until the resurrection of Christ it was celebrated on the seventh day. From the resurrection of Christ until the end of time it is celebrated on the First day of the week. It was then more strongly associated with the first creation recorded in Genesis 1-2. Now it is celebrated on the first day of the week in commemoration of the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, and the new creation to which we are belong.
Christ sanctified the first day of the week by his resurrection on that day, and he blessed it again by sending the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost to empower his Church to extend His Messianic dominion in the fulfillment of the great commission. Our real and eternal Sabbath rest is found when we trust in Jesus Christ to save us and "rest from our evil works, and allow the Lord to work in us by his Spirit" (cf. Heidelberg Catechism Q.#103.) We set apart (sanctify) the first Day of the week in celebration of this New Creation to which we belong by grace, and the Redemption fully accomplished for us by our Saviour.
The principle of six days of labour and one of rest still holds true, but God has now appointed the first day of the week as that sanctified day for his people. Because it is a creation ordinance, all men, both within and without the Church, saved and unsaved, are obligated to honour, the same also as the other laws of the Ten Commandments.
The idea that the unsaved are somehow excused from obeying the commands of God is a false pagan idea. If it were true, they would then be guiltless before God, and have no need for a Saviour. All men will be judged by the standard of God's word. On this basis, it is not only wrong for Christians to labour unnecessarily on the Lord's Day, it is wrong for their employers to ask them to do so.
The following texts show the change of the Sabbath rest from the seventh day of the week to the first day. The first day of the week (Sunday) is the day "sanctified by our Lord and also by his Apostles. The Apostles "sanctified" the first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath by gathering together with the Church on that day. We see these things from the following texts.
Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath [Greek: OPSE DE SABBATON(genitive plural), lit. "at the end of the sabbaths"], as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week, [Greek: EIS MIAN SABBATON(genitive plural), lit. "toward the first of the sabbaths"] came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
John 20:19Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you.
Acts 20:6-7 "And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first [day] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight."
Important note on the above text:
If the reader will notice from the above text, Paul and Luke arrived in Troas seven days and waited until the disciples met on the First Day of the week to meet with them. It is clear from this that they were not meeting on Saturdays, as some who wish to overturn the Christian First Day Sabbath try to claim. They were there on Saturday, but they had to wait one more day to meet with the Church. The early Christians did not observe a seventh day "Saturday" sabbath. They set apart ("sanctified") the First Day of the week (Sunday) as their Day of worship and rest, i.e. as their Sabbath.
The Christian Lord's Day Sabbath is also "sanctified" as a day for the giving of our offerings to God.
1Corinthians16:2 Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
The First day of the week was "sanctified" by the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower the Church to obey the great commission.
Acts 1: 7-9 "And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
Acts 2: 1-4 "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
Hebrews 4:8-10 "For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest [Greek: SABBATISMOS, lit. "a sabbatism", "resting" or "a sabbath observance"] to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his."
All three creation ordinances are rooted in obedience to God's commands.
Leviticus 19:3 Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I [am] the LORD your God.
Leviticus 23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day [is] the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work [therein]: it [is] the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
For a Christian to have a thoroughly integrated World and Life View incorporating the Word of God into every area of life and thought, he or she must recognize the three Creation ordinances of 1. Marriage and the family. 2. Dominion and labour, and 3. The Lord's Day Sabbath rest.
Like a three spoked wheel, if one is missing or warped everything else becomes distorted and strained. So much of the fruitlessness and frustration in many Christian homes and individuals is a direct result of failing to honour God in these three foundational areas.
The Christian should witness in word and action to:
1. God's sovereign ownership of all things.
2. The importance of the God ordained institution of the family.
3. The Christian's responsibility to use and nurture the creation to the glory of God.
4. The obligation to honor and keep holy the Christian Sabbath.
To have a Christian World and Life View means to have a conscious commitment, based upon one's gratitude to God for salvation in Christ Jesus, to honour by obedience the Commands of God in every area of life. This can only be accomplished in our lives by the Gracious Spirit of God, who writes the Law of God in the hearts and minds of His people.
The result of a thorough Christian (i.e. Biblical ) view of the world and of life is that every area of philosophy, science, religion and labor will be brought under the authority of God's Word.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.
"For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." 1Corinthians 10:26.
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