Made in God’s Image, Part 3- The PURPOSE of Man

 This is a continuation of the "Made in the Image of God" series we introduced last week by Breck Wheelock. The overall purpose is to equip the church with God's view of men and women by countering the lies we're being told today from the world -- that claim we're evolutionary accidents who can be whatever sex we choose. These lies can bind us and our children, but the Truth will set us free!

Part 3: The Purpose of Man

Why are we here? What was man created to do? In this article, the concept of culture is developed as it pertains to the cultural mandate that is given in Genesis 1:28. Man was made to develop and transform the earth through cultural activity as God’s representative prophet, priest, and king. The application portion of the sermon addresses the error of dividing life into the categories of “sacred vs. secular,” as well as ideas that tend to undermine cultural community and activity (e.g., socialism and Critical Race Theory).

Thus far we’ve considered the dignity and the identity of man, and today we’re going to be focusing on the purpose of man.

   Once again, I will remind you that my overall objective is that we would have a better understanding and appreciation of man being made in the image of God. And one of our goals is to arrive at a good working definition of what it means to be made in the image of God. Based upon what we’ve learned thus far, we could say that to be made in the image of God is to reflect the righteousness and the interpersonal love of the Trinity to our neighbor, in accordance with our maleness or femaleness. But this is still an incomplete definition. To further round out this definition we need to consider the purpose of man.

 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen. 1:26-28)

 The Cultural Mandate

  I'll ask again: Why are we here? Why was man created? For what purpose? What was man designed to do?

   Theologians have put forth different answers to this question, but once more I shall turn to Herman Bavinck’s essay, The Origin, Essence, and Purpose of Man. In talking about the purpose of man, Bavinck gets right to the point:

Genesis 1:26 teaches us that God had a purpose in creating man in His image: namely, that man should have dominion over all living creatures and that he should multiply and spread out over the world, subduing it. If now we comprehend the force of this subduing under the term culture, we can say that culture in the broadest sense is the purpose for which God created man after His image.[1]

    In this quote from Bavinck, we see that man’s vocation—his calling and purpose—was to have dominion over the earth, to subdue it. And this idea of having dominion and subduing the earth is best summarized by the word, culture. Consequently, this divine ordinance that is given in Gen. 1:28—that man is to fill, subdue, and have dominion over the earth—is sometimes referred to as the cultural mandate (also known as the dominion mandate, or the creation mandate). 

   Bavinck goes on to say that this cultural mandate does not constitute the entire content of what it means to be made in the image of God; however, it’s certainly not an arbitrary or incidental addendum to the concept of man being made in the image of God. On the contrary, the emphasis that is placed upon this mandate, and its close relationship with the creation of man according to the image of God (as soon as God creates man in His image, He gives this mandate), conclusively indicates that the image of God in man comes to expression and is made manifest as man fulfills this mandate. It is through the fulfilling of this mandate that the image of God—to a significant degree—is more fully explained and unfolded and realized.

   Therefore, if we are to properly understand our calling, our vocation, our purpose as human beings, we need to have a proper understanding of what is meant by culture. So, let’s take a moment to consider the etymology of the word culture so that we can better understand it and define it.[2]

Etymology and definition of the word “culture”

   The word culture is derived from the Latin word cultura, which is the past participle of the verb colere, meaning to plow or till. Cultura was originally used to denote the cultivation (the active care or tending) of plants and animals. Hence, we speak of agri-culture (agros in Greek means “field”) as the caring and tending of soil to grow crops, and the rearing of animals for food, wool, and other products.

   Interestingly, and not insignificantly, the term cultura was also used in a religious context to mean worship. The idea seems to be that in the same way the farmer actively fusses over his crops, so the worshipper devotes all of his attention to the deity he serves. Thus, cultura is closely related to the Latin word cultus meaning adoration or veneration. This is also where our English words cult and cultic come from.

   According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word culture was not introduced into the English language until the 15th century. Originally, it was used strictly in the agricultural sense, but in the following century it began to be used in a figurative sense to describe the development of the mind. Farming became a metaphor for the improvement or refinement of the mind by education and training (i.e., cultivating the mind; plowing the soil of the heart). By the 1800s (when the ideals of Enlightenment humanism had taken hold of Western society) the term culture came to mean the state of being refined in mind, tastes, and manners, and to the intellectual side of civilization. And we still sometimes use the term culture in this way today. A “cultured” person is one who is intellectual, well-traveled, and well-versed in literature and the fine arts—a connoisseur. By the end of the 19th century, culture began to be used to denote more generally the whole way of life of a group or society, not just its finer achievements. It was used to refer to the beliefs, behavior, language, and entire way of life of a particular time or group of people. This is primarily how we use the word today. Its usage has become more anthropological in nature than agricultural; in fact, at this point in time, the agricultural metaphor has all but disappeared. 

   With this etymological history as our backdrop, for our present purposes, I shall give you David Hegeman’s biblically-based definition of culture (which I’ve modified slightly). He defines culture as the product of human acts that are worshipfully undertaken for the developmental transformation of the earth according to the commandment of God. I like this definition because it highlights the fact that real change must take place on the earth or culture has not occurred. It also highlights the fact that cultural activity is a form of worship because it is being obedient to the cultural mandate that God has given to us as image-bearers. Thus, to intentionally disengage from cultural activity is to be disobedient to God’s command to subdue the earth (we will say more about this in our application section).

 Clues to our culture calling in Genesis

    Having considered the etymology of the word culture, and having defined the term, let us now return to Genesis so that we might more clearly recognize our purpose, our cultural calling. There are several clues in the early chapter of Genesis that point us to man’s cultural calling, that man was to transform the earth through workmanship and creative ingenuity. 

   For example, in Genesis 2:5 we read that “no shrub of the field was yet on the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.” Here we have an explicit reference to man’s vocational calling to work the ground and cultivate it. And a few verses later (10-12) we see another clue, albeit much more subtle. 

Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there as well.

    Why does the text mention that there is gold in the land of Havilah, along with bdellium and the onyx stone? This is not an insignificant detail; every word of Scripture is important and is there for a reason. Why, then, the mention of these materials that were hidden within the earth? I think the text mentions them to clue us in to man’s cultural calling; they were put there by God for man to unearth and put to good use in fulfilling the cultural mandate. They are but a sampling of the buried treasures given to man to transform the landscape of the earth. I think we’re meant to connect this with verse 15 that immediately follows, “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and tend it.” Here again we are explicitly told that man was made to work the earth, to open it up.    Man’s special relationship to the earth is further seen in the linguistic link between the Hebrew word for “man” (adam), and the Hebrew word for “ground” or “earth” (adamah). Both of these words share the same root word (adom), which means “to be red.” Thus, there is a verbal and relational link between the ruddy complexion of man and the red clay of the earth from which man was formed. The etymological association between the word adamah (ground or earth) and the word adam (man) reinforces the relational link between humankind and the ground. Man was made from the earth, yet the earth was made for the man.  

   Now, let us not think that man’s cultural activity was strictly confined to farming or agriculture. Gold and bdellium and onyx stones really have nothing to do with farming or agriculture. Man was to use his intellect to take all of the resources that he had been given within the earth, and use them to create all different kinds of cultural products. Indeed, by the end of chapter 4 of Genesis, we already see some of Cain’s offspring producing musical instruments, and others becoming craftsmen of bronze and iron.    But let us not think that cultural activity is restricted to industry—to the processing of raw materials and the manufacturing of goods. In naming the animals, Adam was engaged in a cultural activity. It required careful observation and analysis, which is the basis of all science. Adam didn’t flippantly give names to the animals. He put thought into all of the names that he gave them. I have no doubt that he gave every creature a thorough inspection before giving it a name. We can infer this from the thought that he put into naming his female counterpart and wife. “This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” He’s observing and analyzing. “She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.”  The word because indicates to us that there was reasoning behind the name woman. In fact, Adam is using wordplay. Just as man (adam) was taken out of the earth (adamah), so the woman (ishshah) was taken out of the man (ish). Adam is playing on the word ish to indicate the concept of unity in diversity. “The woman is like me (ish), but at the same time is different from me (ishshah).” And later on (Gen. 3:20), Adam gives his wife the proper name Eve. Why? What is the reasoning behind this name? Because she would be the mother of all living (chavvah—life-giver). Adam was very thoughtful in the names that he chose. He observed and studied and reasoned before coming to a conclusion, which is the foundation of all of the sciences.

   Furthermore, when Adam first saw Eve, his response was very poetic (as we just read); he used rhythmical language to express his joy. This too was a cultural act; it was a foreshadowing of the arts.    Thus, cultural activity encompasses husbandry and agriculture, industry and manufacturing, science and the arts. To quote Herman Bavinck, “dominion of the earth includes not only the most ancient callings of men, such as hunting and fishing, agriculture and stock-raising, but also trade and commerce, finance and credit, the exploitation of mines and mountains, and science and art.”

   We see, then, that man has been engaged in cultural activity from the very beginning, and that cultural activity is very broad in scope. And this should make sense to us when we realize that cultural activity is fundamental to our purpose. Man was made to create culture. Eden was a temple, and man’s purpose was to expand the borders of Eden and transform the entire earth until it became a global temple of community worship. And even though man is now fallen, the cultural mandate has not been rescinded. The purpose of man has not changed. As Christians, we’re still expected to worshipfully develop and transform the earth to the glory of God, and we do this in a threefold way—as prophets, priests, and kings.

The threefold office of man: prophet, priest, and king.

   Man was made to be a prophet, priest, and king. As a prophet, man was to think God’s thoughts after Him, and to interpret reality in accordance with the revelation that had been inscribed upon his heart and that had been delivered to Adam. Man was to proclaim and uphold the truth throughout all of his cultural activity. As a priest, man was to serve God by developing and transforming the earth into a cosmic temple of worship; all of the work of man’s hands in cultivating the earth was to be performed in service to God, to the glory of God, and to facilitate the worship of God. And as a king, man was to rule in righteousness over the lesser creatures, to be a good steward of all of the resources of the earth that he had been given for fulfilling the cultural mandate, and to govern all things in accordance with the law of God.

   Therefore, man was made to fulfill his cultural mandate according to the threefold office of prophet, priest, and king. Man was made to tend and keep the earth (Gen. 2:15), and to exercise dominion over it and subdue it. (Gen. 1:28) In tending the earth—in working to develop it and transform it into a cosmic temple of worship—man would be acting as a priest. In keeping the earth—in watching over the earth and guarding it from evil intruders—man would be acting as a prophet (keeping to the truth, we might say). And in subduing the earth—in exercising good stewardship of the animals, plants, and other resources he had been given, and in his governing and ruling—man would be acting as a king.    Now, when Adam sinned, part of the curse that resulted was that the earth would no longer be fully compliant or cooperative; it would no longer be completely subject to its king. As we read in Gen. 3:1719:

 And to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife    and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

    Just as man had rebelled against his King (God), so the earth would now rebel against its king (man). The earth would not be so willing to yield forth its fruits. Only with great effort would it now allow man access to its rich treasury. Barriers of resistance were put in place—thorns and thistles. The ground was cursed such that sweat and pain would be required for man to eat and live. Not only plants, but the animals too, would no longer be as obedient and submissive to their ruler. In fact, some animals would become savage and even shed man’s blood. This is why God tells Noah in Gen. 9:5, “for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it.”

   All of creation was subjected to futility by Adam’s sin, and is even now eagerly longing for liberty, groaning to be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Rom. 8:19-22) But even though the creation has been subjected to futility and is now in a state of rebellion against man, nevertheless, man is still expected to fulfill his culture mandate, to act as a representative prophet, priest, and king. And because this is man’s purpose, he intuitively engages in cultural activity, even in his fallen state. The problem is that all of sinful mankind’s cultural activity is directed toward himself, rather than toward God. We see an early picture of this in Gen. 11 with the construction of the Tower of Babel.

   As mankind began to repopulate the earth following the flood, many people migrated east and settled in the land of Shinar. And they said to themselves, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves.” (Gen. 11:4) They were engaged in cultural activity, but it was all directed toward self-worship. They were communicating with each other so as to encourage idolatry; thus, they were acting as false prophets, which is one of the reasons why God confused their speech. They were developing and transforming the earth; they were baking bricks and making mortar to build a city and a temple-tower. But it was all being done to glorify and worship the name of man; thus, they were acting as false priests. They were exercising stewardship of the resources they had, and were ruling and governing so as to build a city and a kingdom. But all of it was being done in defiance to the law of God; thus, they were acting as false kings.  

   We see, therefore, that man was made to produce culture according to the threefold office of prophet, priest, and king; however, as a result of the fall, all of man’s cultural endeavors are directed toward sinful ends so long as he remains outside of Christ. Christ (the second Adam) was the perfect image-bearer because He perfectly fulfilled the threefold office of prophet, priest, and king. (Hebrews 1:1-4) And when we are joined to Christ, we begin to be conformed to His image, and we are reinstated as true and righteous prophets, priests, and kings once again, as we were always intended to be. As we read in 1 Peter 2:9:

 "You are a chosen race, a royal [kings] priesthood [priests], a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him [as prophets] who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."

    In this verse, we see that in Christ we are a royal (kings) priesthood (priests) that proclaims (as prophets) the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Thus, only in Christ are we able to once again fulfill our purpose of cultural transformation as prophets, priests, and kings.

 Fulfilling the cultural mandate requires community

    There’s one last aspect of the cultural mandate that is important for us to consider: the necessity of community. In order to fulfill his cultural calling—in order to develop and transform the earth into a global temple of worship as a prophet, priest, and king—Adam was going to need help, and lots of it. By himself, Adam couldn’t possibly fulfill the command to subdue the entire earth, to have dominion over all of the fish of the sea and over all of the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Such a task is far too great for one man to achieve alone. Thus, God created Eve to serve as a helpmate to Adam in fulfilling the cultural mandate. Together, Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and multiply, to populate the entire earth with image-bearers who would work synergistically to develop and transform the earth into a communal temple of worship.    Developing and transforming the earth is a complex, multifaceted activity that requires an equally wide-ranging array of skills and talents. Not every cultural activity utilizes the same gifts. The set of skills that makes for a good goldsmith are very different from the talents required to be a vinedresser, or a musician, or an architect, etc. Many different skillsets would be needed; innumerable men and women with unique and individual giftings—working cooperatively together—would be necessary for man’s cosmic temple to be realized.

   Even after the fall, God continues to assign to every one of His image-bearers differing gifts and talents—both in type and degree—in order to facilitate the fulfillment of His cultural program for man. Immediately after the fall we see vocational specialization: “Abel was a keeper of the sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.” (Gen. 4:2) The text doesn’t tell us why each brother took on the occupation that he did. It could have been that they had innate abilities which suited them to the particular type of job they chose, or it could have simply been preference. What is clear is that they chose two different occupations which were both related to the themes of “dominion” and “working” developed in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Thus, even after the fall, God continues to bless every man and woman with specialized natural talents and proclivities that are meant to be used in a communal effort to fulfill man’s cultural calling.

   There are a couple of beautiful examples that are given to us within the Scriptures where we see gifted men and women working together in a communal effort to fulfill man’s cultural calling. During the construction of the tabernacle and of Solomon’s temple, God called specific gifted individuals to lead the effort: Bezalel and Oholiab in the case of the tabernacle, and Hiram in the case of the temple. But there were many other individuals who were gifted by God for these tasks as well. With regard to the tabernacle, in Ex. 36:1 we read, “Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.” (Read chapters 36-39 of Exodus to see the details.)

   Many different skilled men and women were needed to construct the tabernacle, as well as Solomon’s temple. In fact, the variety of occupations used in the building of the tabernacle and the temple is astounding: lumberman, carpenters, spinners, dyers, weavers, embroiderers, seamstresses, metallurgists, goldsmiths, engravers, jewelers, tanners, perfumers, quarry workers, and stone masons. Then there were those who provided direct logistical support: tool makers, keepers of animals, seafarers, and laborers. In addition to the craftsmen and laborers, there were those who were involved in the worship activities after the sanctuaries were completed: priests and attendants, musicians, singers, musical instrument makers, and psalmists (composers).

   This is what fulfilling the cultural mandate was meant to look like! The tabernacle and temple were both emblematic—on a small scale—of the grand diversity which was to mark the global cultural endeavor given to man in the Garden of Eden. And they point us forward to the wondrous cultural potentialities that will be released after the return of Christ and the consummation of all things, when a glorified, sinless humanity fulfills with perfection the cultural development of the New Earth (we will discuss that topic more next week). 



  1. How are you shaping the culture?

   Notice that the question is not, “Are you shaping the culture?” The question is, “How are you shaping the culture?” All of us are shaping the culture to some extent; we can’t help it, it’s what we were made to do. 

   Do you realize that everything around you right now is the work of man’s hands that was brought forth from materials of the earth? This building, the lights, the carpet, the chairs, the computers and sound equipment, the clothes that we’re wearing—all of these things are the product of man’s cultural activity, and all of them were brought forth from materials of the earth. As we exit this building, we find concrete being used to make a parking lot, paved roads and cars for transportation, telephone poles and wires for telecommunications, and on and on it goes. Marvel at how man, even in his sinful state, has developed and transformed the earth. Man cannot help but fulfill his purpose, his cultural calling. It’s what we were made to do.

   And please note that shaping the culture is not exclusively about making stuff. I know we’ve talked a lot about craftsmanship and using the physical resources of the earth to transform the earth. But the earth is also developed and transformed by our speech, by thoughts and ideas that are not physical. Man is both physical and spiritual in nature; thus, his cultural activity is both physical and spiritual in nature. Remember, man was made to be a prophet as well as a priest and a king; thus, both the tongue and the hands of man are actively plowing the earth in spiritual and physical ways.

   With that in mind, I ask you again, “How are you shaping the culture?” How are you shaping the culture of your work environment? Do you keep and defend and proclaim the truth as a prophet when you are around your colleagues and clients? 

   How are you shaping the culture of your home? When people come to your home, do they see that Christ-honoring culture is taking place there?

   You parents, who are acting as prophets, priests, and kings to your children, who are in the process of raising up the next generation of image-bearers, how are you shaping the culture of your family? How are you fostering culture with your children? 

   This past Christmas, my wife and I decided to buy an aquarium for our three daughters, and it’s been quite the cultural undertaking, let me tell you. There have been many fish funerals and moving eulogies delivered by my children. But this cultural activity has knit our family together in wonderful ways. Over the past few years my wife has become somewhat enamored with plants and is constantly trying to grow different things, and she and the girls have planted sunflowers and pumpkins and cilantro and many other things, and it has beautified our home and our neighborhood. Our daughters are constantly creating fairy gardens in the backyard or drawing or painting or making “Becorns” (little creatures crafted from acorns, sticks, and hot glue)—and these cultural products are a blessing to me and my wife. We love to see their imaginations at work and their talents being given expression. They’re doing what they were made to do and we’re trying to cultivate that. But above all, throughout all of our family cultural endeavors, my wife and I are trying to plow their minds with the truth, to sow the seeds of the gospel within their hearts. We’re always trying to direct their hearts to the Vine (to Christ) so that they would abide in Him and bear much fruit.

   How are you shaping the culture of your church and community? How are you shaping the culture of your neighborhood? How are you shaping the culture of the city, the state, and even the nation in which you live? How are you shaping the culture? And on the flipside (application #2):  

 2. How are you being shaped by the culture?

   All of us are constantly being barraged with the sinful propaganda of the world, and if we’re not careful we can soon find ourselves consuming and propagating its lies. 

   On an individual level, we have to always be careful to filter the ideas that are being presented to us—in the music we listen to, in the movies and television shows that we watch, in the news that is reported to us, in the social media we engage in, etc. We are to take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) Everything our mind takes in is to be held against the standard of God’s Word.

   On a church level, how many churches have compromised the integrity of the gospel due to worldly cultural pressure? How many churches are now embracing and even celebrating same-sex relationships and transgenderism? How many churches are now promoting the divisive and destructive ideology of CRT (Critical Race Theory)? How many churches are more concerned with sinful virtuesignaling and scoring “cool points” with the world, than they are with keeping the bride of Christ pure and unspotted from the world?

   Brethren, we are not to be conformed to the sinful culture of this world; we are to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. However, guarding our minds from being conformed to the sinful culture of the world does not mean that we are to disengage ourselves from cultural activity altogether because (application #3) …

  1. To intentionally disengage from cultural activity is to be disobedient to God’s cultural mandate  For decades now, many pastors have been of the mindset that the church is to be disengaged from cultural activity, especially with regard to political issues. Many pastors have bought the dualistic lie that life is to be divided between “the sacred” and “the secular;” they have fully imbibed the doctrine of Pietism, which says that Christianity should be a purely private matter and that God’s law has no place in the governance of nations. According to this view, issues that fall within the realm of politics, sociology, education, economics, etc., are not to be addressed from the pulpit. To get involved in “culture wars” is to get entangled in that which is deemed “secular;” thus, the “culture wars” of the day are to be ardently avoided for the sake of “preaching the gospel.”  

   This is an incredibly naïve and unbiblical view of the gospel. Such false compartmentalization of the gospel implies that there is nothing “secular” in the church, that there are no “secular” weeds (sinful ideas) that the enemy is actively sowing within the minds of the people that need to be confronted by the “weed-killing” power of the Word. Conversely, this false dichotomy implies that there is nothing “sacred” with regard to culture and society; that holiness within politics, for example, is a categorical impossibility.

   We are not to view the world in terms of “sacred vs. secular;” rather, we are to view the world in terms of obedience versus disobedience to the lordship of Christ. Thankfully, the pastors and teachers of this church do not subscribe to the doctrine of Pietism, and have not been afraid to engage in the

“culture wars” and have addressed them head-on from the pulpit. As Christians, we are not to intentionally disengage from cultural activity, for to do so is to be disobedient to God’s cultural mandate. 

  1. All forms of class warfare undermine cultural community.

   As we observed earlier, fulfilling the cultural mandate necessitates community, and this points us back to man’s identity, doesn’t it? Community implies relationality, and man’s identity is inextricably linked to his relationality. Thus, the communal effort that is necessary for fulfilling the cultural mandate reinforces man’s identity by encouraging relationality. We need each other if we are to work synergistically together to develop and transform the earth in obedience to our cultural calling. The Lord has gifted all of us in different ways and to varying degrees. He doesn’t distribute His talents equally among us. He gives some men 1 talent, others 2, others 5, etc. Inequality of blessing is therefore not unjust. Inequality of blessing is not unjust!

   Therefore, economically driven class warfare is wrong because it fails to acknowledge that God’s unequal distribution of blessing and talents is not unjust, and because it undermines cultural community. Indeed, all forms of class warfare undermine cultural community, whether they be economic in nature or ethnic in nature. Socialistic ideas (including the forcible redistribution of wealth) and ideas pertaining to CRT are to be rejected because they inevitably lead to cultural impoverishment. These ideas fracture communities and dissolve relationships between people groups. 

  1. In whatever work you do, do it to the glory of God.

   Man was made to work. Work is not a product of the fall. And all of us have been given different talents and abilities by God that are to be employed in worshipful service to Him.

   You young people, you have a vocational calling. God has gifted each one of you with natural talents and abilities. Prayerfully seek the Lord’s will for your life, ask Him to reveal to you the best way you can be of service to Him.

   Those of you who are now retired, continue to utilize your skills for the benefit of God’s people and for your surrounding community. Look for opportunities to teach the skills that you’ve acquired to the younger generations and to inspire them.

   And for those of us who are currently plying our trade, let us always do our work as unto the Lord, as an act of worship, remembering that we shall all have to give an account of how we invested the talents that He has given to us, and that to those of us who have been given much, much shall be required. 

  1. To whom is your cultural service being directed?

   As we’ve already observed, all of us are shaping culture to some extent. All of us are acting as prophets, priests, and kings in some capacity. To whom is your cultural service being directed? There are only two kingdoms in this world (one legitimate, the other illegitimate), and you can only be in service to one of those kingdoms. You cannot serve two masters; you are either a slave to sin, or a slave to righteousness. You either belong to the kingdom of light, or you belong to the kingdom of darkness; you’re either under the lordship of Christ, or you’re a captive of Satan, doing his will and serving his illegitimate domain.

   To whom is your cultural service being directed? To whom is your allegiance? There is no neutrality. You must take sides in everything you think, say, and do. If you do not belong to the Prince of Peace, then you belong to the prince of this world. (Jn. 12:31) If you’re not joined to the God-man Jesus Christ, then you’re joined to the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4), and all of your cultural activity is misdirected in worshipful service to Satan, rather than to God; all of the talents you’ve been given to be used in the service of God are being misused and misappropriated, and it will not go well with you in the day of judgment. We learn this from the parable of the talents in Matt. 25. You will be judged a wicked and slothful servant because you did not use the talents and abilities that God blessed you with to advance His kingdom and fulfill His cultural mandate. You will be cast into the outer darkness as a worthless servant, where there will be weeping without end, and gnashing of teeth in ageless agony.

   If you would escape this end, if you would fulfill the purpose for which you have been made, come to Jesus Christ. Believe and repent. Kiss the Son of God while you still can, lest He remain angry with you and you perish in the way. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.    


[1] Herman Bavinck, The Origin, Essence, and Purpose of Man.

[2] Much of what follows are insights that I gleaned from a little book titled, Plowing in Hope, by David Bruce Hegeman. It’s an excellent book and an easy read if you’re wanting to delve into this subject more. 


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