Evil is real and in competition with God for souls. Sin results in our loss of humanity. We become less than who God created. The more we give in to evil the more we decrease our humanity. The image of God, in us, is not lost but is corrupted. Our inherent image of God means that no matter how far we may be from God we still know the difference between good and evil. (Romans 1:18-20)
The equation is: Through Adam sin entered human existence. Through Jesus restoration is extended by the grace of God. (Romans 5).
“The work of divine grace in cosmic atonement is integrally united in its regenerative activity in the individual life; the two are different aspects of the unity of God’s purpose to save men from sin, and of the accomplishment of that purpose through Jesus Christ. He has shown us the nature and goal of human personality; He has atoned for our sinful failure to realize that nature and reach that goal; He has become the center of the fullest development of human personality yet known to us. What Christ has to do for us, in this last respect, is to bring to realization the possibilities of our nature interrupted or defeated by the sinful will. Sin is the intruder, not Christ.” (The Christian Doctrine of Man, H. Wheeler Robinson, Principal of Regent’s Park College, London.)
Becoming a disciple of Jesus begins a process of restoration and transformation. The struggle for a Christian is the conflict of being a citizen of two cultures. (Romans 6). We are in this physical world, with defective societal standards of conduct with regard to family, justice, freedom of conscience, government, and economic fairness. But, we are called to not be of this world. That is the challenge. A Christian struggles to live a Kingdom view life in a Worldview society that has little or no interest in living in a way that reflects God.
As Christians we are restrained in our attitudes and treatment of others by the inherent dignity of every human, even non-believers. Psalms 8 reminds us “You have made him a little lower than the angels and have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet”. Even in our fallen state we continue to reflect the image of God. Somewhere deep inside his spirit the worldview man senses an incompleteness.
The Worldview man compensates for it with ambition and achievement; leaving his name to be known for years after passing from this world. Or he rebels against that inner spirit of God with destructive violent behavior. He may seek to hide from it in the excesses of addiction. He creates human gods whose standards he can meet. In desperation, he denies God.
Like it or not, his origin is in God. He has been made in the image of God even if that image now is but a shadow. And, he deserves to be treated with respect.
We should not be naive and expect our convictions to be welcomed by those who are trying to live without reference to the image and authority of God. People who are avoiding God by ambition, rebellion, destructive life styles, unsatisfactory shadow gods, and denial will feel threatened and respond accordingly. Prophets, Jesus, and disciples through the centuries, including now, have been punished for challenging worldviews.
The Kingdom view provides the Christian with a standard by which we can address current cultural practices in areas such as the family, marriage and sexual identity.
Coming Next: Part Four, The Human Family