Life in the World

Blame it on reading too much Heidegger the past few weeks, but I've been thinking about what it means to live in the world (not at all in the Heideggerian sense). In the Lord's gracious providence, Dr. G.K. Beale preached an excellent sermon this past Lord's Day on Revelation 18:2-5, where he addressed what it means to live in this world as Christians, while simultaneously heeding our Lord's command that we come out of the world. You can get the audio here (the link to the sermon is on the left hand side).

Beale summarizes well our situation as Christians in his monumental commentary on Revelation (NIGTC (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1999), 898). After doing a brief biblical theology of "coming out" from the world, he writes, concerning 18:4:

Whereas the separation in Isaiah and Jeremiah and that of Abraham and Lot in Genesis involved both physical and moral escape, that in Rev. 18:4 involves only the latter. And Christians are not being called to withdraw from economic life. Nevertheless, they may be ostracized from the sphere of economic dealings because of their refusal to compromise. They are to remain in the world to witness (11:3-7) and to suffer for their testimony (6:9; 11:7-10), but they are not to be of the world.

A searching series of questions for all of us might be this: have I remained in and of the world? Or, have I sought to escape the moral corruption of the world, willing to suffer as I flee to my Lord Christ who suffered in my stead? May we all be willing to suffer for our unwillingness to bow to the world's idols this week, while we wait for our Savior.


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