For a long time the 11th commandment for evangelical Christians has been to redeem the culture, instead of redeem the time (Eph 5:16).
The culture spends its time chasing dollars, watching football, and getting drunk.
Culture-saving Christians say there is nothing wrong with a buck, enjoying sport, or having a drink every once in a while. (Jesus turned water into wine, right?)
Redeeming the culture does not require changing what is done, but only why it is done. Col 3:23 is the theme verse for redeeming the culture.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” – Col 3:23
Another round for Jesus!
Redeeming the culture means to do whatever the culture does, participate in unsaved culture, and redeemed it by doing it while being a Christian. “Christians can do that, too!”
The culture thought Christianity was something that was no fun, avoided “sin”, and only talked about God, but they were wrong!
Christians can play football, be millionaires, celebrities, famous singers, drink alcohol, pursue their dreams, and waste their life just as well as the culture.
If a successful businessmen is a Christian, he has redeemed the culture because he sells fake flowers and fabric to a culture that could care less what he believes.
If a pro football player is a Christian he can redeem the culture by “thanking the Lord” after each touchdown pass. This small token is seen as sufficiently supplanting the Sunday sermon for thousands of men who skipped church to watch.
Redeeming the culture means to do what everyone else does, but do it for the Lord, which means the majority of us are bums for Jesus.
Redeeming the Time
On the other hand, serving the Lord changes what we do, because it takes time away from serving ourselves.
It takes time to do God’s will: save souls, edify saints, study to show ourself approved, pray without ceasing, and judge all things.
Serving the Lord requires cutting off some things that take time away from serving the Lord. Then, we use that time to do God’s will.
When we change what we do with our time, it is called redeeming the time. The time is redeemed to do God’s will.
What you were doing, which was culturally acceptable, was not accomplishing anything for the Lord, but now it is put to better use accomplishing God’s will.
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – Eph 5:16
The days are evil, because they are not spent doing God’s will. Time can only be redeemed by changing what we do.
If this sounds too demanding, then you understand correctly.
Redeeming What God Wants
Redeeming the time requires your life. Redeeming the culture only requires you change the restaurant you eat in, the channel you watch, and the quarterback you support.
Anybody can partake of the culture with a cross necklace on, but the culture cannot do what Christians can do: redeem the time to do God’s will.
Redeeming the time is how we do God’s will. God does not want the world’s culture; he wants you to spend time doing his will (1 Tim 2:4, 1 Thess 5:16-18).
Redeem the world’s culture and you have wasted your time.
Redeem the time, and your culture will change.