Thursday, April 30, 2015

God and Government Pt. 6: The Indispensable Attitude of a Christian Citizen by Chris White

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of  the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”   --Jer. 29: 4-7

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,  for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  –1 Timothy 2:1-4

When Jesus stood accused before Pilate He said something we disciples should always take to heart:  “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 (John 18:36).”  Paul underscores this in his epistle to the Philippians when he says “our citizenship is in heaven (3:20).”  On the other hand, Paul was never averse to using his Roman citizenship when it was a benefit to the gospel or the church.  Some like to speak of a Christian as having dual citizenship and this is certainly warranted from scripture but the paradigm I prefer is that of an exile or a sojourner in the world.  When the Lord disciplined Israel in the Babylonian captivity, he told them to seek the peace and blessing of the city of their exile.  They were to live in, work in, care about and pray for the well-being of Babylon but they were not to be fully vested in it.  They had a homeland and that was their true inheritance and it was to be where they placed their hopes and heart.  I believe Christians should care about the nation they live in and if we live by Christ’s great commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, part of that love should be played out in supporting laws and leaders who will promote a moral and just society.  I don’t even see any conflict with patriotism or defending the homeland of our exile through military service either. 

With that understanding, I think it is indispensable that we not forget that we have no inheritance here and that our nations date with destiny (which has been used by every candidate to describe Nov. 5th in my adult life) is not our true destiny.  We care, we vote, we pray but we recognize our King and Kingdom are what is most important.  If this be true, neither the problems of our country or the failures of our leaders are of any ultimate consequence but rather just another bump on the road of life.
Please pray.  Please vote.  Please rest in the joy of your Savior whenever another November election roles around!

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