The church of the Lord Jesus has become hopelessly engulfed in political concerns as though it made any difference at all to the interests of the Lord. A great delusion has overtaken Christians in which they have forgotten what is important to Jesus and what makes for a real contribution to His eternal kingdom. May the eternal kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ once again dominate in the minds of His people.
Political purpose has absolutely no place in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ
John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.
If there was ever a time in the history of Christianity in which the people of God should have acted to overcome the opposition of the world it was when Jesus was being handed over to the Roman authorities. It cannot be ignored that Jesus expressly taught His disciples to not resist His arrest.
His reason for not resisting provides a lasting principle that is being overtly ignored by modern evangelical leaders. Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world.
This was said by Jesus as He was being tried by Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus if He was the king of the Jews and then mocked Him by saying that Jesus’ own nation and chief priests had delivered Him over to the Romans.
After verse 38 it then says, ‘Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”‘
Yes, our Lord Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords and for this reason He was born and came into this world. What is being overtly ignored by evangelical leaders is that Jesus expressly says that He does not consider the Jewish kingdom, which has rejected Him, as His kingdom! Yes, as John writes in the first chapter that He had come to His own, but also that they were children of the devil.
The point is, if Jesus counted the Jewish system definitely not of His kingdom then how could any other nation begin to think so? How could the disciples of Jesus ever begin to think that they could create a Christian utopia upon this earth when Jesus has declared emphatically that His kingdom is not of this world?
Instead, Jesus says that He came into the world to testify to the truth and that all those who are of the truth hear His voice. Namely, those who hear Him are counted His church, His bride, His people, who are born of the Spirit.
Philippians 3:3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh….
Objection: But surely as the people of God we are to oppose evil and do all that we can to stop evil?
Yes, we are to oppose evil, but we must see what the means are that God has given to us. Voting, if available in your political system, can at best restrain evil. It cannot change the hearts of men. Remember that government, according to God’s design is only an instrument for punishing wrong doing, it cannot advance Jesus’ kingdom. Government weilds a sword to enact justice, not the ministry of the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
If there is no law in a land securing justice it is not because the righteous have failed to ensure it was successfully voted for, but because ungodliness dominates in the hearts of its people. The ungodly will continue to do wickedness even when laws are in place because the whole world lies in the power of Satan’s kingdom of darkness. So many Christians think that they can make a difference for Jesus by winning a vote on some issue or for some candidate, as though Satan’s kingdom can be lessened by something other than the gospel.
The best that can be obtained by political purpose is the restraint of evil, and that is ever only temporary. It accomplishes nothing as far as hindering Satan’s kingdom. This is evident in how Satan’s kingdom is exceedingly powerful in its many forms of false morality and piety. Nevertheless, Jesus’ kingdom finds opportunities in all of Satans’ stratagems regardless of their lies, even when nations boast in evil outright.
The main point here is that too often Christians tend to think as though we were on our home turf and that the development of evil was an unusual thing or in conflict with some perceived norm of a Christian standard that is being newly undermined. Political purpose is intrinsically flawed because this world is bound to Satan just as it is bound for a complete destruction. We have no hope here of an everlasting foundation, for this ground is cursed.
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Notice that it says that our struggle is not against ‘flesh and blood’. While individuals may endeavor to pass laws that are against the will of God our opposition to it is not on the level of what can be done against flesh and blood. There are greater powers at work and struggling to get people to vote against ungodly laws is to operate on the same fleshy level as those lost in the world. If someone would argue that we ought to struggle politically against the lost ways of the world because we are struggling against powers and world forces, realise that these powers and forces are those found in heavenly places.
Our struggle is not about getting certain laws passed so that we can get sinners to stop sinning. When the church makes its work a political one it has undermined Jesus’ kingdom in two essential ways.
The two essential points in understanding Jesus’ kingdom are these:
- Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world
- Jesus’ kingdom is advanced by no other means than the truth of the Word of God
As a final argument, if we subscribe to political struggle as an imperative of the church consider this, to what extent are we to go?
Lets say that we finally outlaw abortion, but then what? Do we then outlaw homosexuality, pornography, adultery, gambling, use of tobacco and alcohol, profane bumper stickers, the public display of anything non-Christian, blasphemy and disrespectful actions and words, and any others sinful acts. These are all sins of commission.
But what about all those sins of omission? To not pray and not to give thanks is a sin. Not respecting God’s Word is a sin. Furthermore, if we are to pray we must do so in no other name than Jesus. So, to not sin we must pray in the name of Jesus only! Nor allow prayers to false gods. If we are to honor God’s Word then everyone should whether they are Christians or not. The point is, if we are going to purse God’s Law as a political responsibility then we must go all the way. It must be as God wants everything to be and nothing less.
There is one slight problem. Jesus does not teach us to think this way nor do any of His disciples. At a time of ungodly rulers, kings, and emperors, we find the gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the epistles, instructing us to pray, preach, and to love all men, to honor authority, and to pay unjust taxes, and above all else, to look by faith for the coming of a new heavens and new earth, in which righteousness dwells, as all these things are destined to perish with a consuming fire.
- Patriotism is acknowledged in the Bible, as even God has determined the boundaries of the nations and all peoples will appear before God according to their respective nations, though nations are considered nothing in comparison to the Lord
- We are to love our country, pay taxes, and honor our leaders and pray for them
- We are to defend our nation and our neighbors, just as we would defend our families
- As citizens we may participate in the political process, but with the understanding that Jesus’ kingdom is of another realm