Everyone has a worldview. It is a way of thinking and acting based upon one’s assumptions about life. Worldview is the architecture of ideas that influence our behavior and decisions, our relationships and values.
Our worldview involves our attitudes toward other people, it shapes our ethical standards, and it guides the pursuit of our goals in life. Worldview influences how we think about everything from human nature, to the environment, politics, economics, and religion. One’s worldview may be formed by parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, friends, books, or the media. Worldview is our way of making sense of life.
I want to recommend a God-centered worldview. I believe it is a reasonable and coherent way of making sense of life. As a guide to forming a God-centered worldview, I recommend the book of Romans, the epistle that Martin Luther called, “the chief part of the New Testament, and . . . truly the purest gospel.” Luther went on to recommend that Christians should be intimately familiar with Romans and read it every day.
This is because the book is about God, what to know about him, how to be in a right relationship to him, and how to live for him. It has been said that “God” is the most important word in the epistle. Every teaching and topic in the book of Romans is related in some way to God. The book is showing us the way to a life centered in God and his will for us.
The writer of Romans, Paul, was “a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God” (1:1). His worldview and life’s calling were centered in God. He was saying that his message, the gospel, came directly from God himself. This gospel (good news) concerned the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and his death and resurrection.
Furthermore, the gospel of God is for people of all nations. Paul’s worldview included the whole world! He wrote that he had “received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith” (1:5). The Gentiles in this passage were the multi-ethnic populations of the Roman empire. The gospel was for them. Paul said he felt an obligation to bring the gospel to all kinds of people, Gentiles, as well as Jews (1 :15-16).
The ones who believe this good news message are “loved by God and called to be saints” (1:7). The word “saints” refers, not to an exalted class of spiritual heroes, but to all Christians, through faith in Jesus. They are called the holy people of God. This privileged identity surely helps them form a God-centered worldview.
What of those who do not believe? They cannot claim ignorance of God’s existence, Paul says. God reveals himself in all his glory and power in the beauty, immensity, and complexity of creation. “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (1:18-20).
Obviously, a God-centered worldview begins with an acknowledgement of God’s existence. Those who reject that are left to explore atheism, naturalism,, nihilism, or hedonism, as alternatives. In the last half of Romans chapter one, Paul discusses the tragic consequences of rejecting a God-centered worldview. Sadly, those who reject God exchange the truth for a lie (1:25).
He describes the Roman world of the first century. In speaking about Roman society, Paul describes our own. In the clearest language, he leaves no doubt about God’s righteous antagonism to evil in all its forms: ingratitude, sexual perversion, idolatry, greed, envy, murder, strife, deceit, slander, arrogance, boastfulness, to select a few items from Paul’s long list. “They invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy” (1:28-31).
For these reasons “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness”(1:18). A permissive society such as ours, which not only condones perversion, but promotes and encourages it, sows the seeds of its own destruction. This is one of the indications of God’s “wrath,” his holy revulsion against what is contrary to his revealed will.
This picture of a guilty humanity is a dark background against which the light of the gospel shines brightly. The good news is good because the bad news is bad. The message of Romans shows us the attraction of God’s good news as the foundation for a worldview with him at the center.
Pastor Randy Faulkner