The Bible’s New Testament book of Romans, chapters 1-8, provides a fundamental perspective and useful resource on how God desires to shape our worldview. A biblical worldview in a society that gravitates to a sinful nature can be a challenge. Paul, however, provides insight that may not encompass every theological truth, but provides the basis of establishing a biblical worldview. Specifically, these chapters provide the essence of how Christians should view the natural world, human identity, human relationships, and culture.
The Natural World
Paul’s description of a worldview of the natural world is supported in the Bible several times. The book of Genesis begins with God’s creation of the heavens and earth as described in Genesis 1:1. Romans 1:20 also supports God as the master creator by explaining, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (NLT) But, because of man’s sinful nature, people turn away from Him and deny His power and divinity.
In Romans 1:21-23 Paul states, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.” (NIV) Despite the evidence of God’s existence, people turned away from Him, worshipped idols, and continued to relish in sin.
God created man in His image and put mankind over the rest of His creation. In fact, God has ranked man just a little lower than the angels and has anointed us with His glory and honor (Psalms 8:5). So, why is it we have an identity crisis? It is because of sin, we have fallen out of God’s grace. Romans 3:10 states, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (NIV) It is through Adam’s sin that we are all now held in God’s contempt. God understands man is bound by his sinful nature. But, Paul describes our opportunity for redemption in Romans Chapter 8:1-2, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (NIV) “Although the ‘law of sin and death’ is more powerful than our moral will-power, the ‘law of the Spirit of life’ more powerful than the ‘law of sin and death’. It has the power to liberate us.” (DeLashmutt) Through Jesus Christ, we are able to reclaim our human identity as God’s children.
Human relationships have been tainted with sin since Adam and Eve. God has provided other human relationships as a gift to us. It’s through these human interactions we demonstrate God’s love through us. Though human nature leans toward sin, especially in dealing with human relationships. Our refusal to acknowledge God will allow us to fulfill our own sinful hearts and desires. These selfish motivations lead us to fulfill the desires of our heart instead of the desires of God’s heart. In Romans 1:18-32, Paul provides a detailed description of the wickedness and immorality of the people. Sin is what separated us from God and a relationship with Him in the first place. God restored this, however, through our gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. Jesus’s life and human relationships, as described in throughout the Gospel, provide a perfect example of the biblical perspective on human relationships.
The biblical worldview on culture that Paul describes in Romans is a society that has systematically imploded. Romans 1:26-31 provides explicit detail on the Roman culture at that time. Sin was running rampant through the society. People knew God and they rejected Him anyway. This type of sinful nature and blatant rejection of God spread throughout the culture. (Romans 1:32) People were determined to live in defiance of God and by their own legalistic views of the law. Paul stated that those under the law were lawless because the people abused the law to provide selfish gains or as a means to stand in judgement of another, especially the Gentiles.
God meant for the law to be good, but man manipulated it to his own advantage. On the contrary, obedience demonstrates humility. Paul states in Romans 5:19, ” For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” (NIV) The philosophy in this scripture supports God’s desire for us to be the light in the world to shape our culture for His purpose and not our own. Paul maintains that the grace that we as Christians are under was achieved by one Man’s (Jesus’) righteous act (Rom. 5:18). (McCracken)
I believe that Paul’s epistle is just as relevant today and it was in his time. Paul’s thoughts and insight provide sound perspective for biblical worldviews for believers to mature in their faith. These biblical worldviews about our natural world, human identity, human relationship and culture are applicable to current believers because human nature has not changed. These messages are just as relevant to us today because there is still sin in the world that will not end until the Second Coming of Christ. In the meantime, we can use Romans 1-8 as a guide to align our biblical worldviews with God’s heart. Paul’s perspective on biblical worldviews, such as these, are just one of the many gems we can get from the Word.
DeLashmutt, G. Walking by the Spirit Part 1. Teaching Series from Romans. Retrieved on 5/1/15 from http://www.xenos.org/teachings/?teaching=527.
McCracken, R. (April 20, 2014). The Difference Between Legalism and Obedience. Bible Study with Randy. Retrieved on May 2, 2015 from http://www.biblestudywithrandy.com/2014/04/know-difference-legalism-obedience-romans-5-8/.