Ok – the 2nd part of what I’ve been thinking about, in relation to 2 Corinthians 4:16 is this. How does the everyday Christian bring other souls to Christ? I mean, Jesus gave the great commission in Matt. 28, and yet we don’t always find the right conversation to drop the right words in. I don’t have the exact solution, but in a book I was reading with the Harding Academy faculty, I found some interesting pointers.
“It is our contention in this book that the Lord’s cultural commission is inseparable from the great commission. That may be a jarring statement for many conservative Christians, who, through much of the twentieth century, have shunned the notion of reforming culture, associating that concept with the liberal social gospel. The only task of the church, many fundamentalists and evangelicals have believed, is to save as many lost souls as possible from a world literally going to hell. But this implicit denial of a Christian worldview is unbiblical and is the reason we have lost so much of our influence in the world. Salvation does not consist simply of freedom from sin; salvation also means being restored to the task we were given in the beginning – the job of creating culture.” (Colson, 21)
All I could say after reading that passage of this challenging book was, AMEN! That is now how I grew up. Not that I fault my mentors and the preachers I grew up hearing, but the “cultural commission” is just not what I grew up hearing about. Like Colson said, I was told that the “social gospel” was everything BUT teaching the gospel to people so they may be saved. What about kindness? What about ministering to the needs of all humanity, “but especially to the household of faith?” Our thinking pattern seems to go like this all too often: teach the gospel. nevermind if a man is homeless, poor, outcast, homosexual, or however many marriages he’s been in. Teach him the gospel and he’ll live a new life. – What about showing him the gospel? What about passionately demonstrating a love for his existence, not “just” a love for his soul? Can we separate a man’s physical needs from his observation of our love in action? Colson puts it this way on the following page; “We are to bring ‘all things’ under the lordship of Christ, in the home and the school, in the workshop and the corporate boardroom, on the movie screen and the concert stage, in the city council and the legislative chamber. This is what we mean when we say a Christian must have a comprehensive worldview: a view or perspective that covers all aspects of the world.”
As in John 17:20-23, the true Lord’s prayer, Jesus asked the Father that He would empower us that we love one another, and that “the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” There it is… The cultural commission as plainly put as it can be. That we may be one; that we may demonstrate love as if Christ is the risen Lord and has done the same for us, that our actions in EVERY aspect of life demonstrate a radical NEW relationship we have with God through His Son. That we are the lepers, the lame, the blind… but Christ healed us nonetheless. Shouldn’t we help others? “Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Cor. 4:16. Others will see us, and others will glorify God because of our good deeds (Matt. 5)