The Christian Worldview

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Christian Worldview

DISCLAIMER: This is not an evangelical document. It is only for information on motivations for values that Christians are likely to have.
You do not have to read the Bible to benefit from this understanding of the Christian worldview as relevant verses and teachings will be clearly marked throughout my book 'ACT With Faith; Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Christian Clients: A Practitioner's Handbook' only available at www.actwithfaithbook. com as my values preclude me selling it on Amazon.

This is merely an aid for therapists who have Christian clients in the hope of helping to expedite the therapy process.

''A Christian in the New Testament sense is literally a stranger and a pilgrim, he feels himself a stranger , and everyone involuntarily feels that this man is a stranger to him.'' Attack upon Christendom. Instant no 7. Soren Kierkegaard. 1854-1855.

WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?
Just to be clear from the beginning, not everyone who calls themselves 'Christian' is, necessarily, a New Testament Christian as described above. A 'New Testament' Christian has a very specific set of beliefs that can be encapsulated below:

· That Jesus is the only Son of God, and as such, a divine being
· That He came down to earth as a human
· That He was the only sinless person who ever lived
· That He died and rose again
· That by His death He paid the atonement for sin
· That He is ever present in the universe and amongst us now
· That the Holy Spirit is also present and able to perform miracles such as physical healing and victory in spiritual warfare
· That the grace of God is accessible by faith and provides the power for continual redemption

THE COVENANT OF GRACE
These beliefs result in behaviour that is strange to those who don't believe, as it is 'driven' by a completely different set of motivations.

The basis for these motivations can best be understood by considering the importance of the 'covenant of grace' in the life of a Christian.

The two covenants of law and grace present one of the major contrasting themes in the Bible. "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ..." Understanding the differences between these two covenants is of utmost importance for understanding how Christians live the Christian life as God intends.

The law of God is the what; the grace of God is the how.
The law of God reveals sin; the grace of God forgives sin.
The law of God indicates man's problem; the grace of God provides God's remedy
The law of God demands performance by man; the grace of God offers provision from God.
The law of God is the standard; the grace of God is the means.
The law of God is the spiritual measuring rod that evaluates lives; the grace of God is the nurturing resource that produces spiritual life.
The law of God tells us of the character of God; the grace of God reproduces that character in us.
The law of God is the effect God wants to see; the grace of God is the cause that brings forth that effect. Rom 6:14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD:
Grace theology, which relates to the spiritual perspective as described above, is based on the belief in a personal relationship with a personal God. Developing a personal relationship with God is what distinguishes the life of a New Testament Christian from all others. "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (Joh_17:3).

In fact, this relationship is considered, by radical Christian believers, to be the ultimate treasure in all of creation. Anything that competes is to be considered as 'rubbish'. "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians_3:7-8).

It is made clear, in the New Testament, that becoming increasingly acquainted with God is the way in which to increase the impact of His grace upon the lives of Christians. "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord" (2Peter_1:2).

STRATEGIC RELATIONAL QUALITIES:
The Bible explains that as this relationship develops, two strategic relational realitiesshould become evident in the lives of Christians:
- humility "Be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble' " (1Pe_5:5). God's grace is given to those who "walk humbly with [their] God" (Micah 6:8).
- faith accesses grace. "We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand" (Rom_5:2).

- Grace cannot be earned through rule-following but can only be accessed by faith

- ''Augustine’s (1991) own experience illustrates the problem. He distinguishes between his intellectual conversion to Christianity and his inner conversion. His intellectual conversion, an act of rational deliberation, was sabotaged, according to him, by the very strategies he put to work to attain his goal: complex philosophical reasoning, conceited striving for achievement and fighting a variety of inner challenges. All of these strategies were effortful and ambitious and prevented surrender to God. His inner conversion, which occurred after he had been trying unsuccessfully to live according to Christian Law, did not involve struggle or craving but was rather a simple and peaceful attainment''
(Augustine 2009 - Luc Van der Berghe)

Gal 6:15 Can't you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do--submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! (MSG)

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE COVENANT OF GRACE IN WORKING THROUGH THE ACT PROCESSES WITH CHRISTIANS:
The covenant of grace provides the basis for working with Christians. Focussing on the present moment, acceptance, defusion and experiencing of the observer self are all greatly facilitated by this understanding.
The power of grace is explained as being freely given when the Christian stops struggling against the human condition, accepts life as it is and not how her/his mind says it should be, clearly defines what is important in life and then takes committed action towards those values.

You do not have to read the Bible to benefit from this understanding of the Christian worldview as relevant verses and teachings will be clearly marked throughout the book 'ACT With Faith' available at www.actwithfaithbook.com 

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