This is the first segment of the next chapter in “Hand in Hand: Deepening Your Relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” He meant that when different parts are assimilated into a single entity, they deliver an effect that eclipses the simple addition of the parts. Some have compared this concept to a wristwatch. All the gears, works and pieces have nothing to do with time. Put together, however, a greater impact called “time measurement” appears.
We have looked at the separate parts of the believer’s relationship to Jesus Christ in the preceding chapters, but the greatest impact occurs when all parts combine into the outcome. Think of it this way. The human being cannot be defined as a collection of arms, legs, hair, skin and organs. When each of these elements come together to form a complete person, something very different emerges. Holistically speaking, life is more than leadership, prayer, social life, time management, etc. While we may isolate and study different aspects of the relationship, they have no meaning on their own any more than body parts severed from the whole have functional utility.
The act of believing propels one into a new and revolutionary dimension. One or two definitive relationship cannot explain the combined, total impact. Rather, the new birth encompasses all of life. Thus, Jesus is everything. Therefore if any person is [engrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (AMP).
When we say Jesus is everything, we mean that He encompasses the believer’s every significant relationship, every meaningful role, every worthwhile endeavor and every motivating aspiration. It is not enough to say that life would be meaningless without Jesus. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. John 1:3. Simply stated, there is literally no existence without Him He is the source and substance of life. He is past, present and future; he is all things visible and invisible; He breathes life and meaning into everything from the tiniest cell to galaxies of outer space. The Book of Job supplies the vestibule to this expansive concept. After Job and his friends spewed their questions about God out for all the world to see, God responded with this withering interrogation:
Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy? “Or who shut in the sea with doors, When it burst forth and issued from the womb; Job 38:3-8.
God continued with unanswerable questions that sent Job reeling. Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place? Job 38:16-19. On their own, Job and his friends could neither capture nor comprehend the majesty of God’s existence.
All Things Begin with God
Led by the cadre of prodigious Greeks in the fifth century B. C., philosophers and scientists have attempted to analyze the world throughout the centuries. They have used myths, mysticism and mathematics, along with philosophy and science in order to explain all things. A. W. Tozer said,
“The human mind requires an answer to the question concerning the origin and nature of things. The world as we find it must be accounted for in some way. Philosophers and scientists have sought to account for it, the one by speculation, the other by observation, and in their labors they have come upon many useful and inspiring facts. But they have not found the final Truth. That comes by revelation and illumination.” (Man: The Dwelling Place of God.)
This statement means that no eternal truth springs from the heart or mind of man. Such a conclusion humbles man and exalts God. Despite man’s most intelligent efforts, he will never bridge the gap between himself and divinity. No matter how ingenious his thoughts, how elaborate his schemes, how convincing his arguments or how widespread the acceptance of his views, man will never encapsulate the essence of truth unless God inspires his thoughts. The belief system that undergirds this argument is First Cause, which holds that everything that exists had to come from something else in existence. Therefore, the only place to start is Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The past cannot go back forever, then; the universe must have a beginning. The next question is whether something caused this beginning, or whether the universe just popped into existence out of nothing. We all know, though, that nothing that begins to exist does so without a cause; nothing comes from nothing. For something to come into existence there must be something else that already exists that can bring it into existence. The fact that the universe began to exist therefore implies that something brought it into existence, that the universe has a Creator. (Existence-of-God.com).
Your relationship with Jesus Christ shapes your thoughts about the world. It monitors your incoming ideas, alerting you to suspicious influences, whether they originate within your own mind or come from outside sources. You cannot validate ideas that stem from personal opinion, speculation, free-wheeling thinking or worldly trends. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. James 1:17-18. Conclusions originating from any source other than God have no merit.
The Christian Worldview
All primary mathematics students are taught to reduce fractions to the lowest common denominator. You divide both the numerator (top number) and the denominator (bottom number) by the numerator. In the nomenclature, 18/36 = 1/2. As we discuss the Christian worldview, we also reduce everything to its lowest common denominator. (There is a school of philosophy known as the “Lowest Common Denominator” view, and we do not espouse its principles.) But as it applies to believers, our worldview may be fully expressed in our relationship to Jesus Christ. He is our lowest common denominator. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “He [Jesus] who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:15-16. He expounded on this theme in context in his letter to the Colossians. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:8-10.
David Noebel writes, “A worldview is the framework from which we view reality and make sense of life and the world. ‘[It’s] any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world and man’s relations to God and the world.’” (David Noebel, Understanding the Times.) The Christian worldview holds that our purpose in life is to love and worship the Lord Jesus Christ, incorporating His values into our lives. This worldview permeates the whole of life and dictates the significance of every aspect of the human existence. Birth, death, marriage, child-bearing, family, work, in short everything that makes us human, falls under the purview of the Christian faith. Again, the Apostle Paul defines this perspective. God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. Acts 17:24-25. If we believe and accept this truth, the consequences are profound. For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ Acts 17:28.
We, therefore, cannot think of life apart from our relationship with God. Many issues of modern life, like sexual orientation, abortion, stem cell research, bio-engineering, genetics, transgenderism, euthanasia, must be defined by the Scriptures. Beyond those hot topics, our personal identity and humanness fall into the mix as well. Why is it important to state these positions? Because, the advance of popular philosophies that deny the Christian worldview and promote competing ideas has seduced many believers. Thus, they seem oblivious to antithetical beliefs that they hold simultaneously. For example, one cannot believe in the sanctity of human life and support abortion at the same time. One cannot believe creationism and yet accept the conventional theory of evolution. One cannot believe in the one God of the Bible and still agree with the pantheon of gods in world religions. One cannot believe in the absolute truth of the Scriptures and embrace relativism or post-modernism. Unfortunately, some have tried to blend these disparate views into a new kind of Christian position that holds onto the Bible with one hand and the world with the other. It is an unworkable paradox that eventually destroys one’s faith. The best answer for the Christian remains the reply given by the Hebrews in exile. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18.