“Is this vile world a friend of grace to lead me on to God?”. So asked Isaac Watts in his well known hymn “Am I A Soldier of the Cross?” It’s a rhetorical question and it is telling us that the world is not a friend of grace to lead us on to God. Being a follower of Jesus Christ in this world will not make one popular. Being a follower of Jesus Christ necessarily means that one is going to have values and beliefs and opinions and practises that offend the larger society. The Scriptures do not shy away from warning us that such is the case.
Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Col. 2:8 (ESV)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.1 Tim. 6:9 (ESV)But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.2 Tim. 3:12-13 (ESV)Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,  while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
There are all kinds of issues where biblical Christianity clashes with the culture at large. It cannot be otherwise. If we are saved by grace then it will take an act of grace to convince others that the Christians stand on certain issues is the right one. We should not think that the world is a friend of grace. If we live in a society that allows the free expression of opinion then we shouldn’t be surprised that when we express ours many people do not like it. The really surprising thing is how many believers seem to think that a Christian world view is going to be accepted. The Christian world view will not be accepted in the majority of the culture. Christianity has been spoiled in this part of the world for the last three hundred years. We should not think that the influence of the church that our culture has had is normal. It is not. If we need laws and acceptance and “Judeo-Christian” values to predominate in the culture then our Christianity is soft at best and quite possibly non-existent. All we need in order to live a God honouring life, is what God has provided – the fellowship of the saints, the Table of Christ, the Word of God and prayer (Acts 2:42). The Christian faith is a counter-culture movement at many levels and we should embrace the thought and the work that such a moniker implies. Let us work for the betterment of our culture through the infiltration of Christian principles into it, even as it has no time for much of what we hold to. Let us not think that the culture must accept us. Let us love one another and simply live for Jesus. It will be costly. It will be painful. And it will be how God wins more and more to Himself.