Mind Renewal in a Mindless Age, Part 1Romans 12:1-2Theme: The Christian mind.This week’s lessons teach us how Christians should think. LessonAnother thing the doctrine of revelation will mean for us is that we will not back down or compromise on moral issues. You know how it is, whenever you speak out against some particularly bad act. People are likely to attack you personally, saying things like, “You’d do the same thing if you were in her situation” or “Do you think you’re better than he is?” We must not be put off by such attacks. Our response should be something like this: “I wasn’t talking about what I would do if I were in her shoes. I’m a sinner too. I might have acted much worse. I would probably have failed sooner. I wasn’t talking about that. I was talking about what is right, and I think that is what we need to talk about. None of us is ever going to do better than we are doing unless we talk about it and decide what’s right to do.”
Cheating, because everybody else does it?
Promiscuity, because that is the modern way of life and it is nobody’s business but our own?
Abortion, because the law allows it?
Divorce, because it seems the better option?
“What the secular mind is ill-equipped to grasp is that the Christian faith leaves Christians with no choice at all on many matters of this kind,” writes Blamires.1 We are people under God’s authority, and that authority is expressed for us in the Bible. If there is a God and if he has made us to have eternal fellowship with him, then we are going to look at failure, suffering, pain, and even death differently. For the Christian these can never be the greatest of all tragedies. They are bad. Death is an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). But they are overbalanced by eternal matters.
Second, success and pleasure will not be the greatest of all goods for us. They are good, but they will never compare with salvation from sin or knowing God. Jesus said it clearly: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). Or, from the other side, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).
That leads to a Christian response to materialism. There are two kinds of materialism: a philosophical materialism like that of doctrinaire communism and a practical materialism which is most characteristic of the West. We have been raised with a false kind of syllogism which says that, because we are not Communists and Communists are materialists, therefore we are not materialists. But that does not necessarily follow. Most of us embrace a practical materialism, which warps our souls, stunts our spiritual growth, and hinders the advance of the gospel in our time.
1 Blamires, The Christian Mind, p. 141.
Why is the truthfulness of the Bible essential for Christianity?
Give examples of both philosophical materialism and practical materialism.