Sacred or Secular
Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas, the sacred and the secular. As these areas are conceived to exist apart from each other and to be morally and spiritually incompatible, and as we are compelled by the necessities of living to be always crossing back and forth from the one to the other, our inner lives tend to break up so that we live a divided life instead of a unified life. Most Christians are caught in its trap. They cannot get a satisfactory adjustment between the claims of the two worlds. They try to walk the right rope between two kingdoms and they find no peace either. Their strength is reduced, their outlook confused and their joy taken from them.
I believe this state of affairs to be wholly unnecessary. We have gotten ourselves on the horns of a dilemma, true enough, but the dilemma is not real. It is a creature of misunderstanding. The sacred-secular antithesis has no foundation in the New Testament. Without doubt a more perfect understanding of Christian truth will deliver us from it.
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our perfect example and He knew no divided life.in the Presence of His Father He lived on earth without strain from babyhood to His death on the cross. God accepted the offering of His total life and made no distinction between act and act. “I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29) was His brief summary of His own life as it related to the Father. As He moved among men He was poised and restful. What pressure and suffering He endured grew out of His position as the world’s sin-bearer; they were never the result of moral uncertainty or spiritual maladjustment.
This truth must “run in our blood” and condition the complexion of our thoughts, if we would escape from the toils of the sacred-secular dilemma.
A. W. Tozer
Quite often we use Paul’s description of the war that wages the spirit against the flesh to validate the point we erroneously make that as Christians we are subject to the pressures of the flesh and the persuasion of the spirit. Should we read farther in his address of the subject we will find that he has discovered the path to victory. Let’s read again the passage.
“I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Do you see that although Paul begins by describing this war between spirit and flesh that the Law of Moses could not address successfully and neither can the efforts of mere religious exercises. Paul himself had attempted through the law and ritual to conqueror the flesh and had discovered the vanity of applying human effort to resolve the issue. He gives us the only solution possible; that solution being Christ alone. He does not leave us in the divided state of war between spirit and flesh but brings us to victory through the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit completing us in Christ. Indeed Paul says that “to be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life.” Further he says that “if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” He concludes by saying “that if you live according to the flesh you will die; it if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
All of this says that we are to be unified in Christ and this unbiblical concept of being divided between sacred and secular is a false conception. While it is true we are not perfect it is also true that “to whom you yield your members to obey, that’s whose servant you are.” Jesus was clear that we could not serve two masters. We must according to Him be the servants of mammon or God but not both.
The secret to this living is the application of Matthew 6:33.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
When the kingdom is our first and only priority than every part of our lives and being bases it’s conduct and actions on that precept thus bringing unity to our hearts.
Dr. John Thompson