Did you get the feeling today? By that, I mean the “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto!” feeling…
Let’s face facts. Those who hold that the Bible is completely true in all its parts, and absolutely relevant and applicable to our lives today are now in the minority in the United States. Honestly, we probably have been for a while.
So, it’s not always easy to be a Christ-follower. Our world has become increasingly foreign to us. Sometimes we’re not the most popular people. And certainly, our views about things are, at times, totally detested by the majority culture in the United States (and elsewhere around the world).
As our culture moves further and further from a Biblical worldview, we need to look more and more closely at the apostle Paul. He operated in a world that actually knew nothing about a Biblical worldview. Further, Paul’s world had absolutely no history or cultural memory of such a worldview. Imagine that world for a moment!
We will benefit greatly from studying his approach, because what we will see is that Christians who are both grace-filled and truth-filled can do very well in such a world. Even more, we will see that the Christian faith can not only survive in such a scenario, it can thrive and grow!
The city of Corinth was not exactly the kind of place that put godly morals on prominent display. Just the opposite! But the apostle Paul shows us we need not fear. It’s not necessary to shrink back and be silent. Rather it’s necessary to dive right into the fray.
Withdraw? Not at all! Instead, engage that world.
Notice, however, Paul’s engagement was not a political engagement. It was a law-gospel engagement. He “devoted himself exclusively to preaching.” We have a Savior to offer the world. We have divine truth to extend to our neighbors. We have amazing grace and certain forgiveness to give away. We have life and peace — in this life, and more importantly, in the life to come.
We, like Paul, need to teach and live in God’s grace and God’s truth — gently, winningly, and also pointedly. No, it won’t always be easy. We can expect that people won’t understand or agree with us. Some will actively oppose us. And some will go further than that and become abusive.
But that didn’t stop Paul. And it won’t stop us, either! When it comes to teaching about the truth and love of Jesus, we will not yield, but press on. When it comes to enduring abuse, we will not freak out or become unnerved, but quietly repay evil with good.
“Love!” is always our job description as Christ-followers. Love by sharing truth. And love by showing kindness.
“After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth… Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles'” (Acts 18:1, 4-6, NIV).
Lord, help me to be bold to proclaim Jesus to a fallen world, to proclaim divine truth to a deceived world, and to proclaim God’s love to a hurting world.
Our Bible reading for Saturday, June 27, is 1 Kings 18:16 – 19:21, Acts 17:22 – 18:8 and Psalm 78:17-31.
Header image based on "Dorothy and Toto" by Alex Beattie, CC By 2.0