Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20, 21).
These are the favorite verses for those who believe “Politics is a dirty business and good Christians don’t get involved.”
Context, context, context! The Pharisees were asking Jesus when He thought the promised Messiah would come and set Israel free from the Roman bondage under which they were living. Jesus tells them that some obvious, observed, physical savior would not come to rescue them, but that their salvation from Rome would begin with them. It must begin in their own hearts!
First comes the observational, external, intellectual knowledge (eido) that the Messiah will come, but when He actually comes, it will be experiential (ginosko) knowledge (revelation) that He has already come—in their own hearts!
We have discussed at great lengths as to how that “coming” occurs. First, we become as “little children” (Matthew 18:2-5); Mark 1013-15; Luke 9:46-48; 18:16, 17), dependent on our Heavenly Father for everything, including what and how we believe.
Second, we are fully transparent about our sin, with Daddy (“Abba” – Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6) and with those with whom we live, i.e., ”walking in the light” (1 John 1:5-10).
Third, we know in our hearts (ginosko) that Daddy has forgiven and even forgotten all our sin! “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more’” (Jeremiah 31:34.
Since Pentecost, we have been living in this “New Covenant” (to which Jeremiah was referring), where Jesus has delegated His Spirit to live in us and live His life out through us, to fulfill our creation purpose of ruling over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). Civil Government (politics) is one of the three main vehicles for that to occur (Genesis 9:6). How can Christians reject involvement in ⅓ of the fire power God gave us to accomplish what we were created to do?
Yes, sinful man will misuse and abuse God’s gift of civil government, but the Bible tells us how we can have a self-governing government to rule over us in God’s kingdom (E.W. Wines’ book, The Roots of the American Republic, demonstrates the similarities of the Hebrew Republic and the U.S. Constitution).
Our job, just as it is with the other two institutions that make up the “Ship of the Kingdom”—the family and the church—is to enthusiastically be a functioning citizen. That begins with participating whenever and wherever we can, as the Spirit leads us..
We have discussed the fact that in the New Covenant we are now no longer “living by the Law” and by our addiction to trying to be “good” as we try to keep it. Instead, we saw that we are now “living by the Holy Spirit within us,” as He Himself keeps God’s law through us, naturally, spontaneously and unconsciously. The Bible calls that “living by the Truth” (John 1:17)!
Can you visualize whole nations “living by the Truth?” There will never be a perfect nation, as none of us walk consistently by faith. We will inevitably succumb to greed, power, fame, arrogance, acclaim and all the other sins to which we ALL are susceptible.
However, make no mistake; Christians who have withdrawn from the public battle of politics have a difficult time seeing themselves among that group of susceptible sinners. They see themselves as “not involved in such dirty, sinful, pagan, political controversies. I’m above it all.”
Thus, the need in the civil government, just as in the church and the family, is for all our leaders in all three institutions to recognize their commission from God to extend the rule of Jesus over the earth. Then, they will learn to walk in the light themselves, publicly embracing the fact of their own, ever-present sin. Finally, our leaders will openly rejoice in God’s forgiveness themselves. They will show us the way. When they do, we will follow; never because of what they say, but always because of what we see them doing!. You make it happen, Daddy!