“Based”

Last semester a young college friend challenged me (dared me?) to try to use the contemporary slang word “based” during one of my college class lectures. Honestly, it was a bit tricky, since I first had to figure out what my twenty-something-year-old students meant when they used this word. But once I got a basic grasp on how it was used, I decided to try to fit it in somewhere, since for Christians at least, some things really are “based.” I’ll give you a handful of examples below.

According to Dictionary.com, people use this interjection “to express approval or respect, especially in response to a social media post.” The word, apparently—I say “apparently,” since I’m still trying to get used to this expression—can be used either positively or ironically. Since I’m 58 years old, and not sure that I’ll ever entirely get the ironic use(!), let me comment on a few things that for Christians really and truly are based.

Based. God created a beautiful world, not because he was bored (as Father, Son, and Spirit, he was perfectly content), but because in so doing he could wondrously display the glory he already possessed.

Based. Despite a worldwide rebellion, God set into motion a plan to rescue humanity from their sin and consequent judgment.

Based. God weaved together historical patterns and theological themes that pointed toward a Coming One who would perfectly fulfill God’s will in life and carry upon his own body the sins of the world.

Based. Everyone who places his or her faith in that One, Jesus the Messiah, gets united with him and shares in his life, inheritance, and future in the New Heavens and New Earth.

Don’t you agree? Those truths really are “based.” If anything in the world is “based,” I’m confident that these truths surpass them all!

My semester was nearly two-thirds finished, and despite my best intentions, I still hadn’t been able to slip the word “based” into any of my classes. But as I neared the end of one particular class session that focused on Romans 8, I began to draw out the main ideas related to living life in the Holy Spirit from one of the Bible’s greatest chapters. I was helping my students remember the seven main ideas about life in the Spirit in Romans 8 by using hand motions.[1] During the last one minute of class I had them all stand up and simultaneously chant and sign through these seven main points together.

“How do you live life in the Holy Spirit?” I asked.

(All in unison)

“Walk in the Spirit.”

“Set your mind on the things of the Spirit.”

“Put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit.”

“Be led by the Spirit.”

“Know the Fatherhood of God by the Spirit.”

“Hope in the Spirit…”

As I rounded the corner into the last ten seconds of class, I chanted along with them as they came to the last point:

“…Pray in the Spirit.”

And I seized my opportunity.

“And that’s based!”

I’m still unsure whether I used the word correctly—though my students were whooping and hollering after I said it—but I love to celebrate the great works of God, our participation in God’s purposes through our union with Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit…all for the glory of a glorious God.

Based.


[1] For an exposition of the seven ideas I was teaching in class, see my little devotional book, Walking in the Spirit (Crossway).

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