“The gospel, you see, is not only a message for individuals, telling them how to avoid God’s wrath. It is also a message about a kingdom, a society, a new community, a new covenant, a new family, a new nation, a new way of life, and, therefore, a new culture. God calls us to build a city of God, a New Jerusalem.”

These three sentences changed my life. It’s not every day that you come across these sorts of sentences. You hope for them; you might look for them in the next book you pick up, and everyone knows that people are constantly scrolling down web pages for them. Some words will change you. And some words will just read.

There is nothing like skimming through pages, blogs, or tweets and then suddenly coming to a screeching halt. At that moment, your heart knows, but not in a “Favorite” or “Like” kind of way. Things just got real. And deep. It pops back up in your mind later. And then again. You even start noticing how your life has been moving along a bit differently ever since.

Gospel Sentences

Dr. John Frame wrote these startling sentences in his book, “The Doctrine of the Christian Life.” While I am not particularly well-read, I have heard people talk and write specifically about the Gospel ever since I was small. I was taught that Adam and Eve’s misbelief cursed all of humanity and the world, causing everything to become broken and incomplete. I was told that the Gospel is the answer to the problem in my soul and everyone else’s soul, and even the damaged creation.

So while I conceptually knew of this truth before, the little blurb from Dr. Frame’s book painted an illustration and brought it all to life for me. That is what God’s Spirit does in his impeccable timing. I learned anew that sin pervades everything, not just our souls.  But here’s the thing—so does the Gospel.

Culture in a Word or Two

A new culture.” As a Christian, with reborn eyes I see this remarkable fact: Christ saved my soul. And with my reborn eyes, mind, heart, and hands I see how Christ is changing the rest of the world—the culture.

“Culture” is such a loaded word. As cited in Frame’s book, Ken Myers defines culture as a “dynamic pattern, an ever-changing matrix of objects, artifacts, sounds, institutions, philosophies, fashions, enthusiasms, myths, prejudices, relationships, attitudes, tastes, rituals, habits, colors and loves, all embodied in individual people, in groups and collectives and associations of people (many of whom do not know they are associated), in books, in buildings, in the use of time and space, in wars, in jokes, and in food.”

All the things that Myers lists are occasions for knowing God. Everything is tethered to him. Sure, while new revelation has ceased, and truth is a finished work, we still continue to see more unfolding and reimaged through this finished work. A new culture.

An Eye for More

Think about this: No man can escape knowing God. This knowledge is indelibly involved in man’s general awareness of life. When someone believes the Gospel, this awareness becomes a renewed spiritual eyesight, and this eyesight applies to more than just the salvation of one’s life. The Christian life is not only about our saved souls; it applies to everything. Amazing!

Everything. The Gospel renovates us so that we may really know. God said it through Paul who describes “the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:10). We have been rewired to see everything for what it really is and what it should become.  Here lies a breathtaking view. With reborn eyes, we can see everything with splendid focus. What does that look like? Well, I think everyone with a regenerate view is spending their life explaining this.

Ask yourself about what you see and what you are making.  I say that pleadingly. Christian, what do you see? What could there be? Imagination is essential in kingdom-building and fixing our eyes on the unseen, and engaging our culture is the call.

Dream with Depth of Light to Every Sphere

The depth of our Creator is staggering, and we have such an adventure before us as we see his purpose illuminating and expounding all cultural aspects. It is so satisfying to watch masters of their craft proclaiming and reimaging truth. It inspires us and prompts us to sing their praises. But don’t stop at just watching other people work. The next time you hear about “engaging culture,” consider the depth of the Gospel.  Consider the depth of this light; it reaches everywhere. Dream with this. Deliberate on the treasures untold in your own sphere, and then go fashion and form.

And maybe with the help of some of these sentences, you will feel that our culture is big. It goes deep. This is something bigger than us and art blogs. We are in the middle of building something new, and we believe in it so much that we will always persist to build. And Christ will finish it.