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Secularism Be Damned
Recovering a sense of biblical reality
“I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you.” (Psalm 119:168)
One of the noteworthy characteristics of the wicked in Scripture is that they regard the living God as a distant and negligible reality. If the grand stage of human life is a play, God, for them, is a mere background character. A silhouette. A barely discernible figure tucked away on stage right, who, if He has any part to play in this theatre of existence, probably only exists to highlight the main actors. That God could be anything more — like, say…the transcendent Creator-King to whom all worship, obedience, love, and devotion is owed — never comes into their minds. They are too preoccupied with themselves: plotting trouble on their beds and enjoying the hollow pleasures of self-flattery (Ps. 36:1–4).
The righteous, by contrast, take an entirely different approach to reality. For them, the old hymn “This is My Father’s World” plays on repeat. And as they use those remarkable beauty receptacles otherwise known as “eyes” to look out upon “rocks and trees and skies and seas,” the righteous don’t simply see an endless landscape to be manipulated for their pleasure. Rather, they see the manifold wonders their Father’s hands have wrought and are moved to love and obedience: “I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you” (Ps. 119:168).
This, then, is the crucial distinction between the righteous and the wicked: the wicked comfort themselves with the insane lie that “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it” (Ps. 10:11), while the righteous acknowledge the old Reformation doctrine that all of life is lived coram Deo — before the face of God. The wicked fail to consider that “their deeds surround them; they are before My face” (Hos. 7:2), but the righteous meditate on Yahweh’s glory “in the watches of the night” (Ps. 63:6). They understand that every thought, affection, word, and deed is never neutral but unfolds, either rightly or wrongly, under the gaze of absolute omniscience. In the world God has made, there really is no such thing as secular space and the righteous know it full well.
In a culture that is currently engaged in a futile effort to push God to the periphery of public consciousness, it’s important for Christians to recover a sense of biblical reality. Despite what our unbelieving world would tell us, neutrality is a myth. Every human action — from making love to drawing up the building specs of an oatmeal factory — is done in service to something. Either it is done for the glory of God or for the glory of self; either for the purpose of further revealing the beauty of Triune resplendence or for the advancement of some lesser aim — but none of it is neutral. All our ways are before Him. All our ways are seen by Him. And all will be judged according to how faithfully or unfaithfully they served to glorify the Maker of heaven and earth.
So secularism be damned. Let’s learn to eat and drink to the glory of God again. Let’s learn how to fix cars and shingle roofs and raise children and teach Latin so that “in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 4:11). This big wide world doesn’t belong to the wicked, after all. It belongs to our God and to His Christ, and He shall reign forever (Rev. 11:15).
To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
This is my Father's world:
O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad!
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