May 27, 2020
We’ve been in quarantine for more than two months now, and our mobile devices have become a window where we see what is happening in the world. In fact, social media has not just become our primary source for news and information; it has become a major avenue where people air their sentiments, particularly towards the government.
Over the last two months, we’ve seen and heard all kinds of news that sparked debate, created controversies, and ignited dissent even among Christian circles.
Christians face the dilemma of whether it’s okay to comment on the things that are happening around us, or if it’s better to keep quiet and just pray.
The Bible tells us that Christians have dual citizenship in the world.
While it’s true that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), we also hold citizenship in this broken and sinful world.
We are in this world, but we are not of this world. But this doesn’t mean that we are completely separate from the world, lest we become passive Christians who make no impact.
Jesus said we are the salt and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13–16), which means that we have a calling and a responsibility to make a difference today as we look forward to the future glory that God has promised.
How do we balance both facts and faith in response to the problems we see around us?
We can influence the world around us by recognizing the brutal facts and understanding them according to the truth of the Scriptures.
“Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible,” said Karl Barth, a Swiss theologian, in an interview with Time Magazine.
The Bible and the newspaper—or your social media newsfeed—give us two important and different lenses on how we can properly understand our culture and society.
Our newsfeed tells us how the world looks like today and informs us on important events that are affecting and shaping society. It gives us clues on the world’s current economic, cultural, and socio-political situations.
But more than that, it gives us a picture of how sin has destroyed the world we’re living in.
The Bible, on the other hand, reveals to us God’s blueprint for the world. It tells the narrative of what the world looked like, why the world is in its current state, and what the world will be like when God finally restores His entire creation.
Moreover, aside from giving us a glimpse of God’s original design for the world, the Bible also teaches us how to influence our culture and society, and how we can address the brokenness that we see around us.
While the news shows us how the world is fast-changing, the Bible tells us that God’s plan for the world is constant.
If we want to know how to properly respond to the issues that are happening around us, we need to have both the newspaper and the Bible—the former informs the mind, while the latter transforms it.
How do we find the balance between “the facts of the matter” and “the matters of our faith”?
1. Information and Transformation. Let the news inform us about our culture and society, but let the Scripture transform us and the world around us. Let the Scripture interpret our culture, not the other way around.
2. Relevance and Revelation. We have a tendency to be so immersed with our culture that we end up being influenced and defined by it. In the same way, we have a tendency to be so caught up with the revelations of Scripture that we end up being disconnected from the reality of the world.
If we want to make an impact in the world, we need to let our revelation from the Scriptures guide us to influence our culture.
The facts tell us about our current culture. They help us see and understand the brokenness around us. But we must not stop there.
We have the Bible to teach us how to respond to the injustice and brokenness in the world. As we allow the Bible to transform us, we can also be used by God to transform the world around us and to bring it back to its original design.
In the end, our life and our testimony will be the living proof to the world of what it means to be a Christian who understands the facts yet moves in faith to be used by God in transforming the world.