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[THEME] 2 Corinthians 5:15

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 

Wednesday, 22 November 2023 13:57

THE CULTURE OF CHRIST Featured

Written by Esther Nechesa
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THE CULTURE OF CHRIST. ( Agreement between Christ and culture).

Definition.
Culture is defined as norms,values, beliefs,customs and duties that we are used to. Culture is achieved through socialization. It's also way of life of a group of people eg. Values, beliefs, behavior, symbols; includes: religion, food, mode of dressing, language, death and burial rituals, initiation, naming of children, music and art.(remember all are tainted by sin).


Culture of Christ; It's a culture of covenants and ordinances, high moral standards, sacrifice, forgiveness and repentance and caring for the temple of our bodies. All this bears witness to our commitment to God.
It's a culture governed by the priesthood, the authority to act in God's name, the power of God to bless His children (copied).
Personally I understand culture of Christ as the precepts, statutes, commandments, living by and in the word and fulfilling the word.


INTRODUCTION.
When this thought culture of Christ came through my mind, I asked myself several questions, how this was applicable to me and the culture I belong to with those that I identify myself with; church culture, individual culture, family culture, country culture, the culture of friends (in general the culture of the world). I developed the urge to understand how culture and Christ are related. Studying this thought within me brought about insights of identity, worth, culture; Each insight had something in common: OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.

The world
We live in a pluralistic, fragmented and a global village like world that contains different cultures. These cultures do change and vary from one community to another. For example the mode of dressing. Africa abandoned their initial culture of dressing and adopted that of the Western countries.
It's well known that a community , society or a family cannot run without culture. They ought to have directives to govern their conduct and relations. As said earlier world culture varry, for example Kenyan culture won't apply in every country; and so the world culture cannot define our identity. In Kenyan context, citizens are socialized to speak in Swahili as the national language, but when a Kenyan citizen gets to Uganda he will no longer communicate in Swahili because Ugandan citizens won't understand. Therefore the Kenyan citizen identity isn't known. (Speaking of the personal identity). In other words world culture identifies us with the community society but won't define our personal identity.
CULTURE OF CHRIST.
With the culture of Christ it does not change. This is because we have one thing in common across the church irregardless our tribes, colour, origin, size, height and age ; the holy spirit. Through the holy Spirit we find our identity in Christ. We can fit any place anywhere because he guide us and leads us in the right ways to follow. Helps us to speak one language, spiritual language. He reminds us what we should do at the right time. Helps us to be committed and walk in holiness. The more we cultivate our relationship with Christ in our conduct, speech, forgiveness, repentance and living sexually pure lives the more we become renewed, refreshed and Christ like. 1 Timothy 4:12-16. Trust me no one will ever despise you.
Just as society cannot run without culture thus to Christ: salvation. For salvation to coexist we need to cultivate our culture of Christ by putting our trust in Christ. Living holy lives led by the identity of the culture of Christ holy spirit. Lead prayerful lives and emulate Christ. Salvation is one of the culture of Christ. It's a process and it's met by placing our faith in Christ. It develops step by step through drawing from Him. Isaiah 12:3 . Just as culture is learnt from childhood to adulthood so is to salvation. It's a continual socialization process. Salvation needs time, commitment, learning, listening, digging deeper and becoming deeply rooted into the word. It needs commitment because we've already made promises , vows and covenant with our maker and so it's a requirement to live by it and not deviate.
Culture of Christ brings forth new ways of life in the world culture. In fact it brings moral values. Helps people to coexist harmoniously, peacefully and in love with others in the society. Christians are the salt of the world, and a city set on a hill, they are called to transform the world's culture and not to be changed by the culture of the world. Romans 12:1-2. We are called not to be conformed to the world but to be transformed by the renewing of minds that we may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Within the existing world culture, we do things differently in the way that pleases God. Yes same culture in a given community but in the norm of Christ that will eventually bring a positive change in the people who dwell in the place. Here are some biblical examples noted:
Culture of Christ foster an outstanding solution. A forever solution. The Israelites used to give sin sacrifice and it was to be without blemish as a ransom of their sins. Though they offered sin offering it was partial fulfilment of the redemption of their sins. God sort a lasting solution to the remission of sins and gave His son Jesus Christ that whoever believe in Him may have eternal life. John 3:16. The Israelites believed in killing of the animal and so God in line with their culture he chose to lay down His son who provided a forever solution not partial but satisfying and gratifying; which has no doubt and guilt. Through repentance of our sins in Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven.
The early church lived their culture and the church grew in number. The culture of breaking bread, were guided by the Holy Spirit. If the world culture can be carried out in a manner that pleases God then it's worth living. In other words if the culture does not grief the Holy Spirit and edifies the spirit then it's worth living. But if it grief the Holy Spirit then it's worth letting it go. Phil 4:8. There comes two questions from this statement; what am I doing that I should stop doing? What am I not doing that I should start doing? On the basis; that which brings glory to the Creator. Yes as a born again Christian, the heir of the kingdom, the chosen one of God, led by the Holy Spirit, we should have confidence in Him that he's in control. The most important culture with which we can identify ourselves with is the culture of Christ.
Acts 6:1- A complaint arose from the process of food distribution among the widows. This was their culture, that food was to be given to the widows for free. Though it brought people together the activity often resulted to complaints and Lamentations. To engage Christ the disciples decided not to serve the tables but to continue in the word of God. This is what I mean; they tried to unite and make peace by allocating those who would do the service (food distribution) .The role of the chosen was to change the old culture and bring in Christ's culture. ( Clearly depicted in the character of men chosen) Acts 6:3. They were to be of good reputation and full of the holy Spirit; for them to remain firm and not allow any hint of change in them rather they were to change the minds of people around them. They continued with the culture of food distribution, but in order and considering equity. They pleased and glorified God in this. By doing so they were able to spread the gospel and many were converted to Christ and joined the group of the disciples. Acts 6:7.

The distribution of food was done in their culture but still there was disputes. When the disciples embraced that of Christ ( unity, togetherness, love, forgiving, repentance, caring etc) no dispute arose instead they increased in number due to good reputation.

In my study of this topic through the revelation of God and help of the holy Spirit, I agree with Elder Jackson's work quoted by Liz Darger; a young woman full of zeal for Christ that culture of Christ attributes to the following;
1. Charity,true Christ like caring ( the distribution of food to the widows) is the bedrock of this culture. We feel real concern for the needs of our fellow man, temporal and spiritual, and act on those feelings. This dispels prejudice and hatred.
2. We enjoy culture of relation, centered on the word of God as received by the prophets ( and personally verifiable to each other one of us through the holy Spirit) . All humankind can know the will and mind of God.
3. This culture champions the principal of agency. The ability to choose is very important for our development and our happiness. Choosing wisely is very essential.
4. It's a culture of learning and studying. We seek knowledge and wisdom and the best in all things.
5. Its a culture of faith and obedience. Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of our culture, and obedience to his teachings and commandments is the outcome. This gives rise to self mastery. It's a culture of prayer. We believe that God only hears us but also helps us.
6. It's a culture of covenants and ordinances, high moral standards, sacrifice, forgiveness and repentance and caring for the temple of our bodies. All these bear witness to our commitment to God.
7. It's a culture governed by the priesthood, the authority to act in God's name, the power of God to bless his children.( The chosen ones, Stephen are laid on hands by the priests and are authorized to work). It edifies and enables individuals to be better persons, leaders, mothers, fathers and companions and it sanctifies homes.
8. True miracles abound in this, the oldest of all cultures, wrought by faith in Jesus Christ, the power of the priesthood, prayer, self-improvement, true conversion and forgiveness. It's a culture of missionary work, the worth of souls is great.
9. In the culture of Christ women are elevated to their proper and eternal status. They are not subservient to men, as in many cultures in todays world, but full and equal partners here and in the world to come.
10. This culture sanctions the sanctity of the family. The family is the basic unit of eternity. The perfection of the family is worth any sacrifice because as has been taught, no other success can compensate for the failure of the home. The home is where our best work is done and where our greatest happiness is attained.
11. In the culture of Christ there is perspective and eternal focus and direction. This culture is concerned with things of lasting worth! It comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is eternal and explains the why, what, and where of our existence.( It's inclusive and not exclusive). Because this culture results from the application of our saviors teachings, it helps provide a healing balm of which our world is in such desperate need.

We need to cultivate culture of Christ in our lives so as to live lives full of dignity, and pleasing to our maker. We should be ready to abandon all things that grief the spirit and embrace holiness, Ephesians 4:30. To understand our identity and worth we should be ready to submit to the culture of Christ, be renewed in our minds and transformed in the word of God. SHALOM!!

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