The church is not just a gathering of people. It is people who have a new way of seeing and doing things; they bring a holy culture. This article shows that it is a culture that witnesses to repentance and faith.
A Holy Culture
The church is a holy culture. It is not a subculture. It is a complete culture within itself. And it is a counter-culture to society. Its purpose is to change the culture of society into a Godly culture. The only reason we need to know the culture we are in, is to find out the best way to engage it and bring it into line with God‘s will and purpose.
This idea of a holy people being a complete culture, can be seen in both Old Testament and New Testament. God called Israel to be a people, not individuals but a people with a culture, a godly culture. They were to be a holy people. If they were obedient to the Lord, then other nations would notice them being blessed, and seek to join them. Being obedient would mean that
“Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts … ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’.”
Zechariah 8:22, 23
Peter tells us that NT believers “Once were not a people, but now you are God’s people”
(1 Pet 2:10), and “as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct”
(1 Pet 1:15). We know from the book of Revelation that at the end of history there will be an innumerable number from all nations and languages and cultures who will worship the Lord (see Rev 5:9 and 7:9-12). That worship in heaven, began on earth in the hearts of those who know the Lord.
God has provided His people with a complete and total ‘economy’ for life and godliness. In God‘s Word there are laws and regulations covering every aspect of life on earth. There was not an area of life over which God did not provide some regulation. He has given mankind a complete compendium of how we may glorify Him. Even in what many may call the mundane things of life, God rules and has spelled out His principles for us to follow.
God‘s Word tells us what went wrong with the human race and how we may be saved, but it also gives directions how to glorify God in everyday life in our work and in our relationships with one another, and in our respective callings in this world. Rules for running a business, a government, a family, a nation, etc, are given in such books as Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Exodus, etc. There are principles which are relevant to all generation and cultures over all time. God‘s Word is the only rule to direct us in our lives here on earth.
Craftsmen and artists are called by God to use their gifts and talents for His glory. All gifts are from God and are to be used for His glory.
Moses wrote “Bezalel … I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood to work in every craft”
Paul said “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).
The Church must not lose sight of the fact that its values and ideals and beliefs, and not the world‘s, are to be believed and established in society. The Church must ensure that its voice is heard. Christian beliefs and attitudes must pervade all the disciplines of our age in, law, physics, accountancy, biology, commerce, music, politics, architecture, business, social work, etc. There is little use of complaining when our children are told about evolution when Christians have opted out of education. There is little use of complaining when children can have an abortion at 14 years old when in school, without the parents knowing, if Christians remain silent and stay in the background of all discussions. We must make our views and principles known.
The Church with its holy culture, must engage society, not withdraw from it. The Holy Spirit uses people as the means of awakening and enlightening sinners to their real needs and how to glorify God in our daily lives. Christians need to be more conscious of their lives being a witness to others.
However, our primary task is to call our nation to repentance and faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. The Church will never be able to change the culture of society until it first convinces society of the reality of God. Generally speaking, we now live in a culture that does not believe there is a God.
So, the Church must first convince our generation of the truth that there is only one living and true God. No post-modern understanding of several truths and several gods! Only one God and only one authority and rule to direct us – the Holy Scriptures. We can only be a counter-culture to society when we ourselves are convicted of what we profess, and practise consistently the Word of God. May God help us to do that.
Donald C Macaskill