Theology Thursday: In the World, Not of the World

Man holding a cross in front of a sunset

And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.’ — Acts 17:6-7, ESV

In the World, Not of the World

Christians rejoice in the glorious calling of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has set us free from the chains of sin and shame (Colossians 1:13), and he has called us out of the world (John 17:6). However, Jesus has not called us to disassociate or remain passive toward the world. We are not given an excuse to check-out or ignore what goes on around us. Rather, we are called to love others through good works, which is a means of glorifying God (Matthew 5:16).

The Standard for Global Contributors

As mentioned in Acts 17:6-7, Christians should have a profound impact on the surrounding world. This does not mean that the world will love everything we do, but it means that Christians are actively working to better the world for God’s glory. In Acts, the people were enraged at Paul and Silas’ teachings concerning the Messiah. These men placed their lives in danger to tell of the life-giving news concerning Jesus Christ. They were clearly concerned about the eternal welfare of the men and women in Thessalonica. However, the mob accused Paul and Silas of upsetting the world or turning it upside down.

Christians must serve as global contributors with the right motives. Any works done for any other purpose than glorifying God, no matter how noble or true, fail to hit the mark. The Apostle Paul clearly states, “…do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The exciting news is that God has given us unique and differing skills to use for his glory. Grand Canyon University trains men and women to serve as godly scientists, lawyers, teachers, accountants, etc. God has also created us with different interests and hobbies which can be used for his glory. For instance, instead of insulting one another over two sports teams, maybe the sports conversations can gravitate to Gospel conversations. Building bridges to the Gospel is a powerful tool for making him known.

We Are the Body of Christ

Christians must look for ways to show the love and compassion of Christ. If the godless look to the Church, they should see the hands and feet of Jesus operating in his love (1 Corinthians 12:27). No one should care more for the lost, marginalized and hurting as Christ's followers. Serving Christ locally, nationally and globally should be the expectation. People are in desperate need of Christ across the globe. However, every opportunity to show the love of God is also an opportunity to tell of the love of God.

All of Life Is Sacred

Let’s not look at various activities in life as either sacred or secular. Rather, let’s seek ways to permeate culture with the love and goodness of God. With his Holy Spirit working in and through us, we truly can turn the world upside down.

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Approved by an Instructor for the College of Theology on Dec. 12, 2022.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.