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'For the Life of the World' Explores the Purpose of Salvation

Ask your neighbors the meaning of life, and you’re liable to get lots of replies, depending on their worldview. You might get blank stares, or hopes about family and career. An honest atheist might bring up the old bumper sticker, “He who dies with the most toys wins.”


But a Christian would say our purpose is to know and love God. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, man’s chief end is to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Well, that’s right, but what does that mean?


It’s certainly true that part of our purpose is to be saved from sin. But if that were it, wouldn’t God just rapture us immediately into heaven? Or is there something more to our life on this earth here and now?


If you’ve heard me talk about the new book I wrote with Warren Cole Smith, “Restoring All Things,” you know what my answer is. Christ’s death and resurrection has a personal impact but also has a cosmic impact. It has a future impact, but also an impact on all of life, right now, in the present. God is working to restore all things, including—but not limited to—individuals. And He calls on us to help.


Which “all things” am I talking about? Well, my friends at the Acton Institute have answered that question better than any other resource I know in their terrific DVD series called “For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles.” Seriously, I’ve not been this excited about a resource for Christians in quite some time.


This series of seven video lessons, each lasting 15 to 20 minutes, is quirky and yet compelling; entertaining and yet thought-provoking. And it’s all based around that question: “What is our salvation for?” I’m not just a fan… I’m a client. And by that I mean I’ve been co-teaching an adult Sunday School class using this material for the last few months.


The series begins calling Christians to think through the provoking Greek word oikonomia—from which we get the English word “economics”—and through a creative package of humor, retro furnishings, top Christian thinkers, and original music, it calls us to wrestle together with what it means to apply our faith in the various spheres of human life.


Underlying the series is the belief that Christians are called, as Chuck Colson believed, to live out Christ’s Lordship everywhere—in family, government, the arts, science, and in church. It all belongs to God and it must all be offered back to Him.


As the great Dutch statesman Abraham Kuyper declared, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry out, Mine!”


“For the Life of the World” unlocks what that means as well as anything I’ve seen, and it stars a marvelously eclectic cast, led by Evan Koons, the millennial who’s awkwardly working through the Christian meaning of life. Then there’s the Kuyperian scholar Stephen Grabill, and other luminaries such as Amy Sherman, John Perkins, Dwight Gibson, Anthony Bradley and Makoto Fujimura. And the original music is from Jars of Clay.


I’m not alone in my praise of this series. Christianity Today Executive Editor Andy Crouch says, “It is almost impossible to convey in words the sheer inventiveness with which these themes are explored by Koons, Grabill, and their collaborators.” Andy goes on, “They treat us to a balletic sequence evoking the Holy Trinity and the mystery of marriage; a Mumford-style hoedown on inaugurated eschatology; a wacky misreading, in front of increasingly indignant schoolchildren, of Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree;” and in the series’ most profound and rewarding episode, a wordless three-minute invocation of wonder and worship worthy of Terrence Malick.”


What else is there to say except that, especially now, as we face increasing cultural pressure, it’s the perfect time for families, churches, and small groups to go through “For the Life of the World.” Come to, click on this commentary, and we’ll tell you how to pick up a copy, along with my book “Restoring All Things,” at a special price.


BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at where you can read and search answers to common questions.

John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

Publication date: July 10, 2015

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