Seeing

Not everyone sees things the same way. I am not referring to the well-know phenomenon by which otherwise trustworthy witnesses swear an event took place in different or contradictory ways, but to something far more basic and much more important.

I am talking about the way Christians ought to view the world and the events that take place in it, in contrast to the way unbelievers, as well as untaught and disobedient Christians do. There is a difference, and it is great. Indeed, in life it is the difference that makes all the difference.

Many Christians have the idea that becoming a Christian is a matter of having one's sins forgiven and adding a few nice things to the achievements of one's previous life. Nothing could be further from the truth; Christian living does begin with the forgiveness of sins, and there is much to be found that is new, but that isn't all. A dramatic change takes place when a person is regenerated. His whole life is radically affected by the coming of the Spirit. This newness the Spirit brings is not an addition to the old life; rather, He is busy replacing old ways with new ones. All of our past ways must go and new ones must take their place.

This change is what Paul had in mind in 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Ephesians 4:17. And it is emphasized in depth in 1 Corinthians 2:8-16:

What eye hasn't seen and ear hasn't heard, and what hasn't been conceived by the human heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him. To us God revealed it by His Spirit.   (1 Cor. 2:9, 10)

There is a whole realm of reality, about which Christless eyes know nothing, that God has opened to His redeemed sons. This realm is discovered in His written Word. That Word was produced under the direct supervision of the Holy Spirit; He was the agent through whom God revealed it. That very same Spirit has now come to help us to interpret and to implement the teachings of that Word (vv. 11-16). Because we have such a revelation and such an Interpreter to enlighten and to mold us by it, we are capable of becoming entirely new in all of our ways as we see all of life from that new perspective.

Now, it is not the newness of life that results from the new perspective-viewing everything in the world through the principles of divine revelation, thus getting God's perspective on it-about which I am concerned in this chapter; my immediate interest is in the fact of the new perspective itself. Until Christians become aware of the possibility and the necessity of a different perspective on life and all of its activities and events, they cannot be expected to search for or discover it. And if they make no effort to discover God's perspective on all of life, we cannot expect them to make the changes in thinking and in living a new perspective demands.

Because the Christian has not been taught that he has available a heavenly viewpoint, he has succumbed to an earthly one. This teaching failure is the source of eclectic thought and activity in so many areas of life (e.g., counseling, education, church organization and administration, etc.).

The failure to note this difference has caused what the Bible calls "worldliness. " Worldliness is not violating some man-made list of dos or don'ts (even though some of these may be in accord with biblical teachings); it is thinking and acting as if one had no more ability to perceive God's perspective on whatever he is contemplating or doing at the moment than a pagan does. In short, it is viewing and living life from the world's perspective in exactly the same way as those who know nothing of God's revelation.

We will be able to fulfill God's command to live no longer "like the Gentiles" (Eph. 4:17) only when we no longer view life as the Gentiles (unsaved people) do.

How thoroughly do you know the Scriptures? Has the Bible become a practical Book for you? Is the Bible useful in your daily living? Do you know how to gain a heavenly perspective on everyday affairs? If you are like so many Christians, you will have to confess that, indeed, the Bible is rarely used, except in the most obvious situations, to help you gain a different perspective on life, and that you do, in fact, live day by day on much the same basis as those who know nothing about Christ. That is a sad commentary on the church in our day. We have failed to teach members of the body how to look at all of life from a divine perspective. We have failed to give them the tools and the methods by which they learn to use the Bible in daily living. Church members have been willing to muddle through life, living very much like their "respectable" next door, unbelieving neighbors. Why haven't the members of the church demanded that their leaders tell them how to use their Bibles in a practical way?

You may wonder where to turn for such help. I suggest you talk to your pastor or to the elders of your church and ask them to provide a course on how to use the Bible in a practical way. If that fails, you may find help in a book I have written for this very purpose, What to Do on Thursday. This chapter is not a commercial, and I am not trying to get you to buy this book; I genuinely believe the best way to do this is through a course at your church. I mention the alternative only in case this avenue is not open. Whatever way you find best, you must discover how to make the Bible the practical Book God intended it to be. You must learn how to use the Bible daily, throughout the entire week, bringing it to bear upon the many events in which you participate. Then, and only then, will you begin to develop a biblical perspective on life. The matter is important. God's revelation and the Spirit provide an alternative to the defeat and misery that come from worldly thought and lifestyles. Think seriously about this matter, and take the steps necessary to live life according to God's perspective.

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583

 

         

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