Tuesday, February 22, 2011

God, Government and the Gospel

If you ever want to start an argument just talk about religion or politics and if you want an even bigger argument speak about both together. Sadly, many professing believers today seek to not commingle the two subjects. Yes they may speak of faith and speak of politics but quite often they do not speak of them as they relate to each other. Of course they may do so when it seems profitable to do so but even then often the attempt is muted. This is even true of many prominent church leaders many of which simply feel the churches lone calling is to proclaim the gospel, as they see the gospel, and that the church should avoid politics. Again, there are times the church will appeal to the Bible on such subjects as abortion and homosexuality but honestly this does not often come across as consistent.

Some in the “professing” church take the stance that many in the secular world take by speaking of maintaining a “wall of separation” as Jefferson spoke of between the church and state. Even though most take Jefferson’s intentions incorrectly and misuse his statements there is a biblical perspective where the state is not to have jurisdiction over the church. However, we as the church must never agree to separation of God from government since God does not see such a separation. Romans 13 is clear that God has a plan for government and that plan does not speak of His people being blindly subservient to the government or to be absent from its function. God’s plan is not what we see so regularly instituted today with government seeking to be God but is a plan where those in government are seen as God’s ministers of justice; justice as defined by God. Thus God desires His people to be involved in the working of the government that He allows to exist.

But how does the gospel enter into the conversation since many think that the church should be about spreading the gospel instead of involving itself in the affairs of state? I think the issue is not whether the purpose of the church is the spreading of the gospel but what is the gospel. The church in many ways has greatly minimized the gospel to being only about salvation from Hell, about escape from eternal punishment. The gospel is indeed good news and that includes much more than is so often put forth by today’s church, that of being saved from Hell. The gospel is about all that God puts forth in His word for His glory and for the good of His people. Seeking a government that functions by God’s all sufficient word would truly be good news. Lest it is misunderstood a Godly government will not save a people but can be used by God to lead men to the cross. This is not about works salvation but above all about glorifying God.

There is an intimate link between God, government and the gospel. A link that sadly is all too often truncated by the church. A truncation that seeks to remove God from government and thus allows government to be left to man and his own reasoning. If the church does not seek to impact government with the truth who can? We are the only ones with the truth since the world can only rely on its own, ever changing, ideals. We need to deliver the whole counsel of scripture so as to have government be the good news God intends it to be. God’s word contains all that is required of and for government to be a government that glorifies God. We need to be the ones that proclaim the good news for all of life that God’s word contains and that again pertains to not some of life but all of life, which includes government. Government will save no one only God can do that but again that does not preclude our part in delivering God’s word in government. Again, if we as the church do not proclaim the truth, all of it, who will. So let us not create a disconnect in life between God, government and the gospel but seek to align all that we do to His infallible and all sufficient word and thus work to give Him all the glory in every area of life. Not for salvation but because of it.

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