Culture – Gospel in Life


Tim Keller |  October 30, 2005

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  • Glorification
  • Redemption
Isaiah 60:4-11, 17-21
RS 187-08

Isaiah 60:4–11, 17–21

In Isaiah 60, we find a prediction about Jerusalem becoming incredibly prosperous. But it’s not just about wealth. This prophecy paints a picture of a future where all nations bring their wealth to Jerusalem, resulting in a peaceful society. This mirrors what we see in the book of Revelation where God lives among us and we no longer experience death, grief, or pain. The main takeaway is that our destiny is closely tied to our cultural activities which reflect both our goodness and our flaws, our diversity, and our need for redemption.

1. The goodness of culture

The Bible tells us that our future will be in a physical world, where we continue to live, work, and express ourselves culturally. The material world has a special place in the Christian worldview, and all work, no matter how small it seems, contributes positively to our lives and mirrors God’s image. So, Christianity encourages us to participate in cultural activities, recognizing their eternal value.

2. The brokenness of culture

An ideal human culture would be free of violence, exploitation, and conflict, with everyone working towards the glory of God. Unfortunately, our society often views work as a measure of our value, leading to burnout, ruthlessness, and destroyed relationships. But by grounding our identity in God and seeking His glory above all else, we can work towards a culture of justice and renewal.

3. The true diversity of culture

Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21-22 show us a vision of a diverse city of God where every culture contributes positively. But if we turn cultural elements into idols, they can become destructive. We need a change of heart to put God at the center of our lives. Despite what some people might say, Christianity doesn’t impose itself but instead provides unique answers to every culture’s deepest needs by acknowledging and addressing spiritual forces within them.

4. What’s the key to the redemption of culture?

We all have a dark side, a void that craves for validation and love, and often leads us to act selfishly. But God offers us a transformative light through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. This light not only draws us closer to Him but also heals us. As followers of Jesus, we’re called to cause less pain and serve others selflessly, acting as catalysts for cultural renewal. By doing this, we draw others to God and earn the right to share the message of Jesus. All the while, we keep our identity and loyalty focused on God, looking forward to the cultural renewal He promises.



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