We don’t want to be counted among the 90% of North American Christians whose worldview is informed by culture and the philosophies of this world, rather than by God’s Word. In fact, we can learn a lot from what the apostle Paul wrote to the Colossian Christians living in the first century as he addressed the cultural winds that were blowing in that day.
Not unlike today’s North American church, these Christians were in danger of abandoning the biblical worldview. They were moving further and further away from their grounding in God’s Word and embracing the philosophies of Greco-Roman culture. And so, Paul writes to inform them that Jesus Christ is not merely an addition to their worldview—he is their worldview. He doesn’t just fit into their philosophy and theology; he is their theology! Note Paul’s numerous references to “all things” in relation to Jesus Christ as recorded in the first chapter of his letter to the Colossians:
[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominion or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Col. 1:15-17; emphasis mine).
This means that all of life—everything in creation—is centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Thus, Paul’s words to the Colossians are relevant for all time as each generation seeks to build upon the firm foundation of God’s Word.
Rooted in God’s Word
Paul expressly states that those who’ve received Jesus Christ are to “walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as [they] were taught” (Col. 2:6-7). This is a simple statement, but so profound. How many Christians are looking for answers to the hard questions of life? And how many are looking everywhere but in the pages of Scripture? Paul implores Christians to stick to the Book—to look to the Word of God, reminding them of their roots and establishment in the faith in which they were taught, the faith that is grounded in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
This means that we don’t have to walk through life blindly. We have a roadmap to help us navigate so we don’t get lost. It’s the Word of God, which we’ve been taught. And we need to be reminded of this. God has given us his Word that we might have a firm foundation on which to build. It is the authoritative source and the standard of truth.
This is the reason the people of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church gather on Sunday mornings to be taught the Word of God and to be reminded of its enduring significance (Isa. 40:8). It’s also why Joshua, Moses’ successor, was commanded in Joshua 1:6: “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua was told, in essence, to stick to the Book. In verses 8 and 9, God said: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Despite this, so many people (even a large percentage of church members) are either sailing through life with no map, compass, or guide, or they’re sailing through life with a faulty navigation system.
Some people have said that men don’t like maps or navigation systems, nor do they like to stop to ask for directions. That’s certainly not the case with me! Even when I’m driving down the freeway with no immediate turnoffs to take, my navigation system is on the entire way because I don’t want to waste time making a wrong turn. I don’t like to get lost. And if you’re honest with yourself, neither do you. It’s a terrible thing to get lost in this life. It’s a terrible thing to travel through life with all its challenges without a map, compass, or guide.
But God, in his graciousness, has given us his Word. It’s a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psa. 119:105), enabling us to answer life’s hardest questions, such as questions about meaning, purpose, marriage, raising children, and questions that deal with suffering, death, and so forth. God’s Word applies to all the hard questions of life. Thank God that our lives can be rooted in the objective, authoritative truth of his Word as we stand amid the cultural winds of our own day. So, in seeking to cultivate a biblically sound worldview, we must be rooted and grounded in God’s Word, established in the faith, just as we’ve been taught.
Unshaken by the World
In addition to being rooted in God’s Word, Paul exhorts Christians to be unshaken by the world. In Colossians 1:8, he lists some of the ways the church was being challenged. In essence he tells them, “Don’t be shaken.” Or more literally: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” This is so important. If we’re not rooted and grounded in God’s Word, we’re going to be taken captive by the philosophies of our day.
While today’s philosophers may not be as sophisticated as the philosophers of Paul’s day, make no mistake about it, they are philosophers—and they’re backed by some very powerful forces. The philosophers of our day can be found everywhere—from the world of academia to the world of entertainment. They promote their propaganda through various media with the intention of taking our children’s hearts and minds captive. But I pray that the people of God would say, “No. Not on our watch. Not at this church. Not in this community. Neither we nor our children will be taken captive by the seductive philosophies of this world. We’re committed to discipling our children and grandchildren according to a biblical worldview, so that they’ll become loving, non-compromising Christians who aren’t afraid to stand against the cultural winds of their own day.”
The God of All Grace
So the question is: How do we do this? What’s the one thing that would motivate and move a people to stay rooted, to say “no” to the ways of the world, to say “no” to the philosophies of our culture, and to be rooted in God’s Word alone? What would move and motivate you? Well, the answer is found in Colossians 2:6. Paul says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.” How did you receive Jesus? Paul is saying, “You received Jesus by the grace of God alone.”
So the God of all grace who saved you and brought you into his family is the same God who will keep you firm until the end. His grace connects you to his Word, and this same grace will keep you connected to him. What this means in practice is that every day you wake up, you don’t rely on your own strength, but you rely on the strength and power of God, which is the manifestation of his grace at work in your life. It’s called sanctification—the God of all grace working in you so that you become more rooted and grounded in him. The process of sanctification is nothing short of what the apostle Paul calls ‘the renewing of your mind’ (Rom 12:2).
You see, the goal of having a truly biblical worldview is not just knowing a body of content—it’s coming to know the Author of that content. It’s not just about discovering more truth—it’s coming to know the Truth, which by the way, is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). So if pursuing a biblical worldview simply makes us smarter, giving us knowledge that makes our heads bigger, we’ve completely missed the point. It should so transform every area of our lives that we’re not only thinking God’s thoughts after him, but we’re also acting in accordance with his Word. It’s the God of all grace who not only brings us in to his family but keeps us in his family by rooting and grounding us in that firm foundation, which is the Word of God.
Excerpted from How Firm a Foundation by Robert J. Pacienza. Copyright 2023. Published by Institute for Faith & Culture. Used by permission.