CAN A CHRISTIAN BE A POLITICIAN?
There are two co-existing spiritual kingdoms today, viz, the Kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of God
15 The seventh angel
sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."
NIV Notice that the ‘kingdom’ of the world is in the singular tense.
Since the Kingdom of our Lord and Christ is spiritual (John 18:36), it follows that the Kingdom (singular) of the world must also be spiritual. The spiritual Kingdom of this world oversees all the 'physical kingdoms' of the world. Christ takes over the Kingdom of this world at the Second Coming.
Persia was a physical kingdom in Daniel’s time, but as the Bible aptly illustrates, it was also a spiritual kingdom with a spiritual prince overseeing it…
12 Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.
NIV The angel Gabriel could only be ‘detained’ by a spiritual being.
As illustrated in the above verses, Michael the Archangel had to overcome the spiritual enemy before Daniel could receive a physical answer to his prayers. Likewise, in the early chapters of the book of Job, Satan had to obtain God’s permission before he could translate his actions into the physical realm…
9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."
THE SPIRITUAL TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER THE PHYSICAL!
God’s Kingdom is a spiritual Kingdom….
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." NIV
A person can only belong to one spiritual kingdom at any one time. In other words, you either belong to God’s Kingdom or to the Kingdom of this World.
You may say that you are a Christian residing in Country ‘A’ and therefore belong to the 'physical kingdom' of Country ‘A’. This presumption is wrong. A Born-again Believer belongs only to the Kingdom of God but resides in a Physical Kingdom' of this World (In other words, he is a ‘Citizen’ of the Kingdom of God and a Resident of a 'physical kingdom' of this world, bearing in mind that the place of residence in a physical kingdom may change from time to time). He is bound by the tenets and rules of the Kingdom of God first and the tenets and rules of the 'physical kingdom' of this world second. If the rules of the two Kingdoms clash, then the rules of the Kingdom of God must take precedence…
"We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood."
Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! NIV
The Bible commands us to obey the governing authorities in the physical kingdom in which we reside…
Romans 13: 1,2
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. NIV
But when the Two Kingdoms clash, God’s Will and Commandments must prevail. The verses below further illustrate this point…
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
NIV Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego chose to obey and serve God rather than the Kingdom of the world of their time.
A Christian is a spiritual being with a spiritual purpose and calling on this earth. There is no such thing as a secular vocation and a spiritual vocation. The vocation God places you in is your spiritual vocation…
1 Cor 7:20-22
20 Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. 21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you-although if you can gain your freedom, do so.
In the vocation that we are called to be in, we must serve as we are serving God and glorify Him in everything we do…
1 Cor 10:31
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,
NIV Emphasis Mine
The Scriptures above, therefore, totally dispels the myth that a Christian has a secular vocation and a spiritual calling. Your secular vocation is a part of your spiritual calling. As an employee, you glorify God by being a testimony of a well-disciplined, productive and diligent worker who has his employer’s concerns at heart. At the same time the wages you earn goes to support God’s Kingdom and your family- a double testimony of a Good Steward of God. Does all this have a bearing on our present subject, “Can a Christian be a politician?”
What we discussed above is definitely relevant. The kingdom of this world is bound by the rules and practices of its kingdom and oftentimes these rules and practices go against the Word and Will of God. We must understand that there are no ‘Christian’ Countries or Kingdoms at the present time and all such 'physical kingdoms' are essentially governed by Non-Christians with their own set of values which may not be intrinsically wrong but are not necessarily Bible-Based. This power brokerage system or institution is called “politics.”
A Christian who is faithful to the Word of God cannot, therefore, partake in decisions that run contrary to his practices and beliefs.
For example, abortion is legal in some countries, this decision (possibly) being based on humanitarian grounds. God’s Word, however, is clear that the unborn child is a human being created in the image of God. The two opposing viewpoints thus conflict and a Christian must choose to participate or totally absolve himself from such a decision.………
5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
NIV (Jeremiah was appointed as a prophet before he was born!)
Having said thus far, we must remember that God’s Word clearly states that we must not yoke ourselves with unbelievers…
2 Cor 6:14
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness
A yoke is a wooden harness, which binds two cows together. If one cow chooses to go a certain way, the other cow inevitably has to follow suit. Simply put, a Believer and an Unbeliever have different terms of references and codes of conduct, which more often than not, are totally incompatible. Partnership bestows responsibility on all the partners for all decisions made and a Christian, if he chooses to yoke himself with an unbeliever, is accountable for every decision the partnership takes. One can always justify oneself by saying, “I am a junior partner and I did make my views heard!”
The Bible says, “do not be unequally yoked”. It does not say that a ‘minority yoke’ or a ‘dissenting yoke’ is an exception to this COMMANDMENT. As a matter of fact, there are no Biblical exceptions at all to this commandment.
WHAT ABOUT JOSEPH AND DANIEL IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?
Did you realise what was the common denominator in the posts that Joseph and Daniel held?
BOTH WERE APPOINTEES FOR THE POSTS THEY HELD….
41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt."
NIV Emphasis Mine
46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh's presence and traveled throughout Egypt.
NIV Emphasis mine
48 Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.
NIV Emphasis mine.
Appointees execute the decisions that are made and are not directly responsible for the decisions themselves. It is like a company with a board of directors, managers and shareholders.
Managers and shareholders themselves are generally not directly responsible for decisions that are made by the directors (although the shareholders may have some say in the appointment of directors). Likewise, citizens of a country are not directly responsible for decisions made by the governing ministers of that country (although in a democracy they may have one vote each to cast). Jesus lived in Israel when the governing authority was the Roman Empire. Not all the decisions of the Governing authority in Israel were ethically or morally right, but Jesus was not directly responsible for these decisions. Having said all this, it must be admitted that the appointee cannot work against his conscience and God’s Word and Will, and should such a conflict occur it would be best that the appointee seeks another appointment with less strive. As far as Joseph and Daniel are concerned, they were appointees (not politicians or power brokers) and there is no evidence in Scripture to show that they did anything out of God’s Will or were asked to act against the moral justification of their conscience during their tenures.
Having said all this, what then is the role of the Christian in any country for that matter?
Our primary role is to pray for those in authority; firstly that we may live peaceful and quiet lives (verse 2 below) and secondly so that the preaching of the Gospel may not be hindered by the authority or authorities concerned (verse 4 below)…
1 Tim 2:1-4
2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Is prayer that important or effective, keeping in mind that the political forces yield a considerable amount of power and authority? I would like you to meditate on the Words of our Lord Jesus to Pilate below…
10 "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
11 Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
Pilate was the de facto governing authority in Palestine in Jesus’ day. He had the power to crucify or free a person (verse 10 above). Surely such a person ought to be feared!! But Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” Make no mistake; God is the ultimate authority of all earthly authorities and gives kingdoms to whom He pleases (Daniel 4:17). God reduced Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar to the status of a beast when his pride overgrew him…
20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like cattle; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone he wishes.
The God of the Bible is Sovereign and Omnipotent. He sets kings and kingdoms up and He tears down kings and kingdoms. No man has power unless it was first given to him from God above. Amen.
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