I have often thought that I was born at the wrong time in history. Perhaps its because I am such a fan of history that it is hard not to envision myself a part of those times. Others envision being born in other places, foreign countries and exotic places, and growing up completely differently.
I was thinking about this the other day and I realized that there are really no times I would have fit better in. All times had their pros and cons, often times more cons than I deal with now. So what is the solution? Maybe I was born in the wrong world? And that’s when it hit me, I wasn’t born in the wrong time, place, or world, but I was reborn in the wrong world. Duh!
It struck me that this is exactly what is expressed so often in the NT. I don’t belong here. Everything God’s work of sanctification is making me is completely in opposition to everything the world stands for. There is a great danger for those of us who are aliens to this world, sojourners in a foreign land, that we will forget that the awkwardness we experience as Christians in a world at war with Christ is a good thing.
In fact, that tension allows us to take action and make changes. We live in a world that is pragmatic, they are looking for what “works”. But the results they are looking for are completely misguided. Often times we stop looking for how to pursue what God commands, and start looking for what works by the world’s definition. When we do this we forget that the goal of the world is to find temporal pleasure, and that is simply not our goal.
Christians cannot live with an “ends justifies the means” mentality. As Paul writes in Romans 6, “shall we sin more that grace may abound? May it never be!” For believers our end is secure. Our means cannot be justified be our end because they do not cause our end. Our means are justified by grace. Our actions, then, serve an entirely different purpose. Our actions serve to point to and give glory to God. As such our actions cannot follow the pragmatic mindset. The greatest example of obedience resulted in the death of Christ–hardly a pragmatic end.