Friday, August 11, 2006

What Does it Mean to be Worldly?

Aaron Blumer recently posted the second part of an excellent series (Part I here) answering the question "What Does Worldly Look Like?" For many believers, abstaining from worldiness means just doing the opposite of whatever is popular, stylish, or mainstream among non-Christians but Aaron demonstrates how this notion is both biblically and logically unwarranted. Certain forms of worldliness may, in fact, be popular but what is popular is not necessarily worldly.

Concerning the reasons for the confusion over what "worldly" means, Aaron says:

The most important for our purposes is that the meaning of “worldly" depends on the meaning "the world," and many are confused regarding what "the world"” means. What exactly is it that disciples of Christ should not be “like"? How much does it have to do with garments, music, hairstyles, or theaters?
These posts called to mind one of the most memorable definitions of worldliness I've come across. It's from David Wells's book, Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision:
Worldliness is that system of values, in any given age, which has at its center our fallen human perspective, which displaces God and his truth from the world, and which makes sin look normal and righteousness seem strange. It thus gives great plausibility to what is morally wrong and, for that reason, makes what is wrong, seem normal.


Jeff Burton said...

I had heard that definition that you quoted before and I like it. Thanks for reminding me of it.

Anonymous said...

Hello Keith,

Today, I began a series entitled "The Grace Series: Romans 5:1 - 'The Grace of Salvation'" Part I. Here is an excerpt from the middle of the post:

"Today, I want to focus on the first verse in Romans 5. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God." Now this word justification is not the first time we see in the book of Romans. We see it a variety of times certainly in chapter 3, "By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight. Being justified is a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus." Romans 3:28, "We maintain that man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law." But when we examine this term, justification, we find that it means literally "to declare innocent or free from any or all guilt." It is the language of the lawcourt. It's like a lawyer is talking. In salvation terms, it's God declaring, "You're righteous, holy, free, and forgiven." Now this term does not mean to make righteous because that is what God does in sanctification as His grace is dispensed in our lives. Sanctification is the growing in Christ's likeness. But his term (justification) means to declare righteous and holy. It's not a pardon, but rather and acquittal. "Not guilty! Free from punishment from penalty." Justification is that gracious act of God whereby he declares a sinner righteous and free from any guilt or punishment upon there putting faith or trust in Jesus Christ. That is what justification means. Christ has paid for our sins; we are free at last!"

I thought you might be interested in reading the article. Let me know what you think about it.