Friday, October 20, 2006

Jesus Died For What?

My recent posts on sin and worldview remains on my mind. Someone (who, if I am correct, is very dear to me even though I missed the call last week, and a birthday in September … which is pretty common, isn’t it???? Did I tell you I saw an old mutual friend this summer after thirteen years??) commented that Jesus did not die for a worldview, but for sin.

While I understand the point being made, I wonder if that does not actually underline the whole reason that sparks my thinking on this matter.

It seems to me that we are so prone to focus on the actions of sin that we often fail to address what causes those actions. Because of that, we miss the real problem.

It is far easier to deal with actions than with the underlying worldviews that justify those actions. After all, actions are quantifiable. They are easy to see, and we can offer the time-tested advice, “Stop it.” We can resort to measuring spiritual growth by whether or not we see the action. We can resort to daily accountability: “Did you do it?”

Addressing worldviews is far different. It is much harder because worldviews are sneaky. The reason we hold them in the first place is because they make sense to us. They justify the way that we desire to live. They comfort us. And because they make sense to us, it is much harder to change them.

So a drug addict exchanges his drug habit for a church habit. He is growing spiritually right? If we take an action-oriented view of sin, we conclude “Yes.” And we point to him in our congregation as a great example of God’s transforming grace. But if we have not explored and addressed the worldview that allowed him to think drugs were okay, we have not actually addressed the problem. Perhaps all we have done is exchange the satisfaction of an old way of life (drugs) for the satisfaction of a new way of life (religion). Perhaps the underlying worldview has never changed.

We must understand that all sin springs from a similar worldview. It is a worldview that causes us to think our minds are qualified to assess the rightness or wrongness of a particular action or thought. So the drug addiction of a drug user springs from the same worldview as the self addiction of a narcissist. The sin starts in the mind, and expresses itself in the actions.

All of that to say this: Worldviews are as much as a sin issue as actions are. Jesus died for our unbiblical worldview, just as much as for the actions and thoughts that spring from it.

Real change will come when we bring the way that we think (our worldview) into conformity with Christ as revealed to us in Scripture.

We need to view sin and life in the big picture. Everything we do is ultimately a statement of theology, from the arguments that we have (and the way that we have them), to the very deepest hidden compartments that we hope no one sees. It extends from the public life in the assembly of believers to the private life in the solitude of the mind. Everything in our lives is ultimately saying something about what we believe about God.

So we cannot relegate it simply to the realm of actions. They are simply the expressions of the way that we view life.

The first necessity is regeneration. Regeneration is the implantation of spiritual life into the spiritually dead. It is ultimately a work of God on the mind, by which the formerly rejected truth of God is made attractive and sensible to the mind formerly darkened by sin, ignorant, and hardened (Eph 4:17-19).

Sanctification must continue with the work of God on the mind, by which we daily renew our minds by the truth of God as found in Scripture (cf. Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:22-24).

If we separate the way we think from the problems of sin, we will find it difficult to find real change. We will take a hard job and make it virtually impossible. We will teach others to live a life of joyless conformation, rather than joyful transformation.

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