Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Two Kingdoms 10/21/2012
In our ongoing discussion about the pros and cons of the Minnesota Marriage amendment, I wish to add to the dialogue. Since all us have a basis of why we think what we think, why we say what we say and why we do what we do, it is needful to present the basis for the convictions on which we as Christians stand: The Bible is the Word of God and it is reality, or Truth. It is the revelation or self disclosing of God, the Maker of heaven and earth, Who revealed Himself in the New Testament through His Son, Jesus Christ.

I present two Scripture references for our consideration in this discussion in which we together will explore the question: What is relationship between the church and the state/government? The definition of church would be the true church of Jesus Christ, of which He alone is the originator and sustainer, and which is evidenced in this world through love for God and love for one another in accordance with the teachings of the Bible. When the word religion is used as a generalization to describe Christianity , it is misleading, for religion is mankind's effort to approach Godon our own basis, whereas Christianity is the spiritual kingdom of believers who have received that which has been established by God's coming to mankind through becoming human (Jesus Christ) in order to redeem us. Not all who name the name of Christ are representatives of His spiritual kingdom.

In the first reference, Jesus points to the reality that in His first advent to earth, He did not come to establish an earthly rule, for his kingdom is not of this world. The second reference, which is written after the death and resurrection of Jesus, teaches as to where governmental authority originated and of its jurisdiction in this world.

John 18:33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"
34 Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?"
35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?"
36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."
37 Then Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world- to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice."
38 Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

ESV Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,
4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.
7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Through these two references it is seen that there are two kingdoms that have been established by God, a spiritual kingdom and an earthly kingdom. Within the earthly kingdom we recognize that in this there is a certain amount of idealism, for God knew that governments were not going to be without fault, for we are sinful human beings. He established the ideal of government, the main functions of which are to promote justice and to punish evil. God never gives the state the right to do wrong according to its own definition of good and evil. The state (its God appointed authorities) is held accountable to serve as God's minister of justice.

All this presupposes that the government is operating in concert with God's desires. Even a brief knowledge of history reveals to us that by far the opposite has been true, in that governments have not operated mindful of the fact that ultimately they are responsible and accountable to the one who has given them the authority and responsibility to govern.

The Mosaic Law (Ten Commandments) and natural law (the inner voice of conscience) are the governing laws which enable people to love and care for one another within this earthly kingdom even if one has not entered into the spiritual kingdom through repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ rules His spiritual kingdom and He does this through love which He displayed through His life and which He teaches through His Word, the Holy Bible. This love is to be the preeminent characteristic of all those who name the name of Christ as their Saviour and Lord. This love for God and neighbor motivates Christians to be thankful for their leaders, to pray for their leaders, and to be honest, obedient and caring citizens in this world, so that, as much as possible, we may live peaceful and quiet lives in a godly and dignified manner. This life lived is pleasing to God our Saviour who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Throughout the ages, when natural law and the voice of consciense have become darkened in the leaders of nations, the revelation of God has been left aside as they ruled, and as a result human beings have not been treated as those bearing the image of their Maker.. In the same token, when religion has preempted the true church of Christ, those who have protested against that religion's dogmas have been silenced in one way or another.

Therefore, God in His wisdom has ordained governments for the purpose that they would bear rule as his representatives in order to promote justice and punish the law breakers, and this leadership is to be founded, promoted and protected through the teachings of His Word. The church of Jesus Christ is the light of the world and the salt of the earth, which, when lived in its biblical reality brings glory to its Creator, to the end that souls would yield their allegiance to Jesus Christ. When freedom of conscience of the church as enlightened by the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Bible is threatened by the state, the church has the duty to express the will of its Authority, Jesus Christ, which can be done through witnessing of the Truth. And this is not done through shouting, name calling, hateful interactions, but it is done public expression of one's convictions, through prayer for our leaders, through forums such as this to exchange our convictions, and by extending grace to all even as we have and do receive grace.

May we who are all created in the image of God continue to treat one another with the respect which is due every human being, may we extend respect by hearing the other out, and may we continue to have the courage as well as the freedom to share with them that which is the revelation of God as written in His Holy Bible. And may we do this in the way that Jesus did when He was walking here among the sinful, broken, struggling, discouraged, and, yes, proud people of 2000 years ago.

In His Grace,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 21 Oct 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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