“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would have fought that I might not be delivered up to the Jews. But now My kingdom is not from here.” John 18:36
As I approach the tackling of yet another filter that hinders our view of Christ, I can’t help but bring to the light this so prevalent idea of Christian involvement with politics. Now I agree that we should pray for our leaders. The scriptures tell us to do so. But the question really is how involved should a believer get in the politics of their nation and for what purpose? And could this be not only a distraction but an actual hindrance to Christ coming into full view through His Body? To answer these questions we will take a look at an example of this political filter in the scriptures.
“From that time, Jesus began to show to His disciples that it was necessary for Him to go away to Jerusalem, and to suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised on the third day.
And having taken Him near, Peter began to rebuke Him, saying, God be gracious to You, Lord; this shall never be to You.
But turning He said to Peter, Go behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you do not think of the things of God, but the things of men.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and let him bear his cross, and let him follow Me.” Matthew 16:21-24
So what was Peter’s filter here? Clearly, he had in mind the Messianic Kingdom agenda. He (and the others) was looking to Jesus to setup a physical/political government that would overthrow the Roman empire leaving the Jewish nation to rule under His Monarchy. This did not fit in at all to the idea of Jesus going to die on a cross! So Peter needed to have a talk with Jesus to convince Him that this just could not happen. But what was the Lord’s response?
“But turning He said to Peter, Go behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you do not think of the things of God, but the things of men.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and let him bear his cross, and let him follow Me.”
Do you see what happened here? Jesus is explaining to his disciples that he must suffer and be killed and even that thought threatened the religious filters of these Jewish boys. Peter was just the one who spoke up, but I’m sure they were all thinking the same thing. Lord, you cannot die, we need you to fulfill our own agendas! What happened next is so amazing to me. Jesus rebukes Peter for siding with satan! In other words, choosing your own agenda instead of God’s purpose is satanic! It comes straight from the evil one. Why was Peter so concerned that Jesus politically take over the Romans? So that HIS own life would be easier! It was a totally selfish act. How do I know this? Simple.. by the Lord’s response.
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…”
The Political Agenda Today
Why are so many American Christians trying to make this a Christian nation? Is it because they feel some kind of obligation under God to bring this nation back to God? Personally, I don’t believe this nation was ever founded upon Christian principles. But even if it was, is that what God really wants? Did God ever give us a mandate to make and keep a “Christian nation”? If so, where and when did he give us such a mandate? It was definitely not from the scriptures. In the biblical record God only ever has two “holy nations”. One is Israel and the other is the Church. I don’t see any place in scripture where any other nation is ever called to become a holy nation. And yet there are many Christians in the US who are praying and working toward the end of bringing this nation back to God.
This movement has used Old Testament passages (such as II Chr 7:14) to justify their theology. The problem is that all of these passages are referring to the nation of Israel! God was the one who did that! We cannot just try and make any random nation a holy nation! Do we really believe that God is an American? Does he favor America over other nations? Should we throw our lives into making this a Christian nation and yet ignore his eternal purpose? Note – if you are not sure what this purpose is, then I suggest that you read the following post – The Lost Elements of the Gospel.
The Dangers of Such a Filter
Here are some reasons why I believe this filter is so damaging to God’s purpose:
- Our emphasis shifts from God’s purpose of having a true expression of his Son through the Church to an earthly, physical, and political agenda which only serves the world system and the religious system within it.
- We are no longer focusing on the centrality and supremacy of Jesus Christ – the same Lord who said that his kingdom was not of this earth.
- Those involved in this movement have become very elitist and sectarian. Those who are not helping to “save the nation” are looked down upon. I have had folks get very angry with me for disagreeing!
- God’s goal in scripture is clearly the New Jerusalem which is the bride adorned for her husband who is the Lamb of God (Rev. 21,22). Why spend time, money, and energy on some other goal that is not the Lord’s?
- It’s just another distraction from the person of Christ Himself. The veils (filters) will only fall away from our eyes as we totally turn to Him! (2 Cor. 3:14-18)
May we be willing to let the scales fall from our eyes so that the only agenda that remains will be the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!