The Physical and The Spiritual
One of the most devastating temptations faced by the early church was the dualistic tendency of Greek philosophy to see the physical world as inherently evil and the spiritual being deemed as good. This led to a variety of heresies in that initial period of church history where individuals would arise blasphemously denying the reality that Christ truly came as the God-man. These heretics had a major issue since they believed the physical world was inherently evil, they could not assert that God became a man for to do so in their eyes would be a wicked act. Such men as Athanasius, Augustine, Irenaeus, and countless others arose to combat these heresies holding to the Gospel truth.
Biblical Christianity has always taught that God created this world and called it very good (Genesis 1). To be human is to be fallen (Genesis 3). Yet, to be redeemed is to be restored to a right relationship with God which dramatically changes not only our spiritual lives but also the way we go through this physical one. As a simple illustration, the pagan given to sexual immorality renounces such actions casting them aside once they are saved by the Gospel of grace. The spiritual reality directly impacts the physical. I cannot believe that Christ is King without it having an impact on my life today. My spiritual transformation influences the way my earthly, physical life is lived. Such is the reason why Paul could say if he were to die it was gain to be with Christ and yet if he remained on this earth he would do so for fruitful labor seeking the progress and joy of others in the faith (Philippians 1:21-26). To say that Christianity does not impact the spiritual is to give way to the errors of material secularism which denies anything beyond this life exists. Just as devastatingly, to deny that Christianity impacts the physical is to fall prey to the falsehood of dualism which does not understand the glory of the incarnation or where God became man or God’s act of creation in the beginning.
A Daily Influential Christianity
The biblical faith is gloriously true showing us the lavish blessings of divine grace from our Savior seated in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:7-8, 1:20) while also calling upon us to use this life in service to others for God’s glory (Philippians 2:3-4). What this means is that we need not only rich theological doctrine but also robust practical application in everyday life. As a believer, I need to not only understand God’s creation of man and the institution of marriage (Genesis 1-2) but also see how to live faithfully as a man. Doctrinally understanding God’s institution of marriage is the foundation for living faithfully as a husband or wife. Yet if we do not actually apply that understanding then we are hypocrites with mere head knowledge that does not transform. We need divine truth applied to everyday life so that we may live to God’s glory. The temptation of our day is to divorce our Christian theology from family, politics, education, culture, business, and all of these physical realms. In actuality God wants us to be involved in all these areas robustly applying His truth as we live with wisdom each day. We need a guide to help us at this goal . . . welcome to the book of Proverbs.
In the Proverbs, we see the way of wisdom and that of folly set before us (Proverbs 1:20-33). Here we read wisdom for enjoying marriage and avoiding the adulteress (Proverbs 5:18-23). It is in this book that we are shown the path of the diligent while also having set before us that way leading to poverty (Proverbs 21:5). We are cautioned as to how to avoid gluttony when we are in the presence of wealth and majesty (Proverbs 23:1-8). Insight is given as to how we deal with fools when we come across their path (Proverbs 23:9). Kings and rulers are given wisdom in order to understand how to be faithful in their duties (Proverbs 31:1-9). The picture of the life of a faithful wife is given being illustrated according to daily patterns (Proverbs 31:10-31). From business to civil government to marriage and countless other realms the book of Proverbs applies divine truth in practical ways as the guide we need to understand how to glorify God each and every day.
Each year on the blog I pick one theme to which I will dedicate a solid bulk of my posts over the year. 2020 was COVID, 2021 was governmental overreach, 2022 was the deconstruction movement, and in 2023 I will be posting several articles on passages from Proverbs. This does not mean every post will be on that topic, but multiple will be over the course of this year. I firmly believe that one of the pitfalls in evangelical circles today is both a low degree of doctrinal understanding and therefore also a lack of application of biblical theology in everyday life. The remedy to this issue is the declaration of God’s Word setting forth its doctrine and how it applies. My goal in spending time in the book of Proverbs is to hopefully contribute in a small way to a revival of wise living grounded in rich biblical truth.
I pray that this series unfolding over the next year will be fruitful in multiple ways, but chief among which is that you and I both will have a greater passion to understand and live according to God’s Word. So often, we can fall prey to complaining about the world around us to the degree that we forget our calling to actually build a life grounded in Christ by the power of His grace seeking the advancement of His kingdom. Unless the Lord returns, there shall be generations of Christians after us to whom we need to leave a faithful legacy. If we do not see the way that Christianity impacts both the physical and the spiritual we shall leave to them an incomplete testimony. May it never be! Let us be the believers who live all of our life according to all the commands of Christ in each and every endeavor. I pray unpacking the book of Proverbs will guide us down that path!