Theology Still: Seven Cautions for Christians (#4)

Jeremiah Burroughs was a puritan pastor, a member of the Westminster Assembly, and a prolific writer who worked for both the purity and unity of the church. He was considered the "prince of preachers" a couple hundred years before that other guy got the title. This is one post of a seven part distillation of the main "rules" from Burroughs' sermon on Phil 1:27 preached March 8, 1645. You can find the sermon in Gospel Conversation (Amazon, or WTS Books)

Seven Cautions for Christians #4: Know Your Culture's Corruption

"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ" Phil 1:27

To honor the gospel with your life you must pay attention to those sins common to your culture and context, not for the purpose of passing judgment on others, but to guard yourself from those sins which are more readily accepted in your particular context. This means we must not only know the word of God, but the world in which we live. This is a call to a kind of contextualization in our own spiritual warfare, for some of the battles we fight against sin today are different from other times and places.

The Lord expects that every Christian should look to himself in regard to the present times wherein he lives, and consider what the special sins are of that time, age, or place. There are commonly some truths which are more eminently revealed in one age than another, in one place more than another. Nearly every country has sins that are most dominant. You should consider, I say, what are the sins of the times, of the places where you live. Many think to excuse themselves because that which they do is but what others do. It is the common sin of the time and place where they live.

Do not allow the corruption in your culture be an excuse to indulge in a particular sin, but live carefully, as Paul says, "because the days are evil."

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV)