<<culture, the general public>>
All citizens, as they are able, should be contributing to the good of their community. As Christians we should be advertisements for God in society by living lives of integrity, not meddling in the affairs of others or spreading gossip (1 Thes 4:11,12). Christians should also be catalysts for beneficial social change, especially in relation to moral issues. Like the Good Samaritan, Jesus would say to us, “Go and do likewise” – when you see a need, meet it (Lk 10:25-37).
We need to be abreast of the news and aware of social trends so we can converse in a knowledgeable way as to what is happening in the world in general. This is especially important for parents of teenagers so they can communicate relevantly with them and guide them in the ways of righteousness. We should speak and act in ways that are acceptable and appropriate to society provided they don’t detract from being a living witness for Christ or disobey Scripture. We can participate in anything inside God’s guidelines provided it doesn’t dominate our life or convey doubtful messages or influences to those watching on (1 Cor 6:12,13). Paul said, be careful in exercising your freedom in Christ so you don’t become a stumbling-block to others and be the reason they reject Christ or fall away (Rom 14:13,20,21; 1 Cor 8:9-13).
Society without God is doomed
Biblical standards because we are not to violate our Spirit-led conscience (Rom 14:22,23). Society that doesn’t follow God’s pattern, as established in the Bible, does not function as well. Consider the mayhem created when the Ten Commandments are flouted, for righteousness is beneficial, but sin is a disgrace (Ex 20:2-17; Prov 14:34). Sin like yeast has permeated society and even though we are in the world, we should not come under its influence and be squeezed into its mold by embracing its values (Rom 12:2; Tit 2:11,12; 1 Pet 1:14; 1 Jn 2:16). Although we are given free wills to make choices there will be consequences. As believers we must at all times live with integrity displaying the fruit of the Spirit, the characteristics of the Kingdom we represent (Gal 5:22,23).
Civilisation has rules that are designed for the wellbeing of all citizens and the smooth running of its affairs; however, humanity has inherited the rebellious nature from Adam and Eve and often flouts such laws. We are obligated to obey the authority’s laws unless they violate the commands of God (Heb 13:17). We then must choose which master to serve and accept the consequences from the other (Josh 24:15).
Increasingly today there are undesirable traits emerging in society such as:
* a self-centred focus – how does it affect me rather than looking out for the good of others;
* instant gratification, a ‘must have now mentality’ – like sex before marriage;
* a disposable mentality, get rid of anything not immediately useful or not being prepared to investigate what is wrong with the view to fixing it – a parallel to divorce;
* buy now, pay later, ignoring responsible decision making – there is always a day of reckoning;
* living for the present – little thought given to the next life.
These, and others, result from selfish, short-sighted rebellion against the proper ordering of society which God purposed [The Ten Commandments] and Jesus taught [The Sermon on the Mount]. Jesus acknowledged this when He said His followers are ‘in the world but not of it’ (Jn 17:14,16). While we currently reside on earth, we are to live out the values of God’s Kingdom by being the salt and light, which counteract the darkness and decay of society – we are not meant to be hermits. Most of our regular interactions with the unsaved are quite neutral, as they do not involve any approval or support from us regarding their lifestyle, even though we hold differing core values. We can still engage with them.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" – Psalm 33:12.
is not free to choose the consequences that come when the divine pattern are disregarded in favour of a liberal ungodly worldview.
See also: authority, community, consequences, culture, environment, handout/hand-up, race/racism, social action, social gospel.