Posted by: SandreS | December 2, 2010

Influencing Governments

Christianity actively seeks to influence governments “for Christ.” However, God has not called the believer to “influence” governments. Rather, our sphere of divine influence is on the individual level. It is about personal relationships. We do not bring divine light for the purpose of brightening up the “jurisdiction of darkness,” but to contrast its darkness.

… In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15).

Take Paul in Rome for instance. He was given by God the opportunity to have influence with Caesar’s relatives. This influence was not an earthly political influence, but a heavenly one – transforming some of them to saints.

All the saints salute you, chiefly they who are of Caesar’s household (Philippians 4:22).

Those in the Body of Christ are “neither Jew nor Gentile.” “Gentile” is, of course, translated from the same word Greek word (ethnos) that is also rendered “nations.” Believers are no longer a part of the “nations” (i.e., “neither Jew nor Gentile”), but a “new creation” (II Corinthians 5:17), the “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15). For the Body of Christ there is no “us” and “them” of nationalism; we are no longer American or Canadian, Virginian or Pennsylvanian, Northerner or Southerner, Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Liberal, for we, “from now on, are acquainted with no one according to flesh” (II Corinthians 5:16 CLNT).

Our brother Frank Kujawa fittingly puts it this way:

Galatians 3 tells us that we are “neither Jew nor Gentile …” So what are we? A new creature in Christ. We new creatures no longer draw lines in the sand. All lines are divisions that cause conflicts. Conflicts can wound another emotionally, and ultimately lead to physical wounds, death and wars. A person in conflict is not free.

Think of it this way: Paul tells us that we are no longer Gentiles. During his time a Gentile was any nationality other than a Jew. So, in essence Paul tells us that we are “no longer of any nationality.” Nations and national leaders are for those who do not know the Truth. The Truth has set us free.

Paul’s instructions related to human governments are limited to our attitude and responsibility toward those who are in authority. There is no record of his instruction toward our influencing, changing or revolutionizing nations. Our instructions are:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all who are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (I Timothy 2:1-2).

Paul was not politically active. Take the issue of slavery for example. We do not have any record of Paul advocating, nor campaigning for its abolition. This was not his agenda. He was not an activist for social and political change. However horrible slavery may have been, and no matter how honorable the cause of abolition may have been, such advocacy was actually below his “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). He had a celestial agenda toward which he pressed, with lesser causes left to lesser callings.

Paul did not lecture governments and leaders on the evils of slavery (or any other cause). Instead, remarkably, he instructed the slaves and their masters directly.

Servants, be obedient to them who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatever good thing any man does, the same he shall receive of the Lord, whether he is bond or free. And, you masters, do the same things to them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with Him (Ephesians 6:5-9).

This passage is truly remarkable, when you stop and think about it; and it is only one example of Paul’s focus. Paul was the celestial apostle, writing to a celestial people, about their celestial calling and citizenship. He instructs them concerning the details of living here on foreign soil as ambassadors of their homeland, for truly we have been delivered, from the dominion of darkness” and have been “transferred … into the Kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13), having Him as our “only Potentate” (“Ruler,” Darby Translation, I Timothy 6:14), with “our politics [politeuma] being in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Do not settle for less.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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