We continue the series, The Church and Politics. If you’ve not been following the series please go to www.myilluminare.com/the-church-and-politics/ to read the last fourteen instalments.
As we noted in the 11th instalment of this series, God IS government. He’s government because he regulates creation, he’s government because ALL power is resident in him. He is all powerful. The Psalmist put it succinctly: “God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you.” Psalms 62:11 NLT. God is a power native.
In God’s capacity as government there are three dimensions to God. He is judiciary, legislature and executive. The three arms of government are combined in him. The concentration of authority and power is what makes him so powerful. Listen to Prophet Isaiah: “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” Isaiah 33:22 KJV. And so we see God the judge, God the law giver and God the executive. God is three arms of government in one. Isaiah 33:22 KJV. We see the combination of function in this scripture: “God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbour?” James 4:12 NLT.
As law giver we see him lay down the law in the Garden of Eden, as well as the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. Genesis 2:15-16, Exodus 20. As judge he judges the world. “From heaven you sentenced your enemies; the earth trembled and stood silent before you. You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth.” Psalms 76:8-9 NLT. The reason it’s not apparent to humanity that God is Judge is because we live in the dispensation of grace. It’s sort of like an amnesty period. Like all amnesties it has an expiry date. There is such a thing as “the severity of God.” Romans 11:22. As executive we see him reign in the affairs of men. “For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations.” Psalms 22:28 NLT.
The reality of God as government is something some Christians struggle with. They see God more as a religious totem, as an object of worship. Yet the only reason we worship God is because of concentrated authority and power. Indeed the only reason we worship anything is the belief it has capacity to inflict evil and dispense good. It’s the basis of idol worship. Without supremacy and executive capacity there will be no worship. Same principle applies to God. The moment you see God as a political figure a new vista of understanding dawns as you read the Bible. Suddenly these words of Paul come alive: “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign – the absolute Ruler, the King of those who reign as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords. He alone possesses immortality – absolute exemption from death, and lives in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To Him be honour and eternal power and dominion! Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:15-16 AMP.
As you read your Bible you will see that all over scriptures God is dimensioned politically: “God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne.” Psalm 47:8. “The Lord is king! He is robed in majesty. Indeed, the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.” Psalms 93:1 NLT. “The Lord will reign forever and ever!” Exodus 15:18 NLT. “But You, O Lord, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to all generations.” Lamentations 5:19 AMP.
Understanding the political dimension of God will help you reconcile difficult scriptures like Isaiah 45:6-7: “I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” Isaiah 45:6-7 KJV. This statement is only understandable within the context of God’s capacity as government.
The challenge some Christians have is inability to accept God for what he says about himself. They cannot for example imagine God saying he creates evil as he did in Isaiah 45:7. They seek to explain such statements away, insisting Satan was not revealed as the doer of evil in the Old Testament, that it was Jesus who finally revealed the fact. Such theology requires convolution. The idea of God as only capable of good is an ethical sophistry about deity. It came from the teaching of the faith movement in the 1980s. That God cannot do evil is an ethical dimensioning of God. Note this is distinct from God being tempted with evil. James 1:13. Those who hold on to human ethics dimensioning of God soon run into several contradictions.
How for example do you explain God hating Esau and loving Jacob? Romans 9:13, Malachi 1:2-3. That disposition towards the twins wasn’t based on anything they did. If at all Jacob was the bad boy. He was a schemer and fraudster. God made that pronouncement before the kids were born. Saying God knew Esau would turn out the way he did is post editing. It’s backward integration. The Bible says God was not unrighteous in hating Esau and loving Jacob: “Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” Romans 9:14-15 NLT. In other words, God’s sovereignty trumps everything! There is no unrighteousness with God. Why? Sovereignty. Romans 9:14-15 KJV.
It is obvious that that human ethics construct of God cannot accommodate 1 Samuel 2:6-7 AMP: “The Lord puts to death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up from the grave. “The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and He lifts up.” Struggling with such scriptures a young man on Facebook went on to state that the God who kills cannot be God, that such a personage must be a “psychopathic personality.” He cannot accept what the Bible says about God. He’s doing moral editing of God. The young man went as far as saying God was not the one doing the killing in the Old Testament. Question then is, who killed all the first born in Egypt? “At midnight God struck every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, right down to the firstborn of the prisoner locked up in jail. Also the firstborn of the animals.” Exodus 12:29 MSG. Always better to accept God for what he says about himself. We should not invent our own God or imagine we can do PR for God in an age of political correctness. We can’t invent an idea of what God OUGHT to be. That’s idolatry.
God is a righteous God. The word “righteousness” is a catchphrase of the methods, sovereignty and power of God. It also defines his rights as God. “Righteousness” is a one word summation of God’s constitutional and judicial rights. Everything he does is righteous. It is an attribute of sovereignty. Because God is a power construct it follows no one can question him. Paul said as much: “Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” Romans 9:20 NLT.
The second implication of the power construct of God is that what he says is law.
The third implication of God’s power construct is that whatever God deems right is right and whatever he deems wrong is wrong. God has the power of moral definition. In the age of political correctness this may not go down well but God is not into political correctness. He doesn’t care about it. God is bashful in his declarations. Concerning Jesus God said: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased and delighted!” Matthew 3:17 AMP. He didn’t care what anybody thought.
God had the same attitude concerning salvation. The Bible says he chose not to save angels: “We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham.” Hebrews 2:16 NLT. God CHOSE to save humans. There was no rational basis for it, just emotional love: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT. Salvation is unmerited. “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8 NLT.
The human morality construct of God cannot accommodate God giving power to a tyrant like Nebuchadnezzar. What that teaches, and this is the lesson from several stories in scriptures, is that God’s donation of political power is based on a different set of considerations. See www.myilluminare.com/the-church-and-politics-part-5-how-god-allocates-power/.
In interpreting scriptures we must look at the totality of the evidence and come up with a reconciliation of the facts. We must not take an ideological position and insist on fitting scriptural facts into it. There’ll be contradictions. It is this lack of appreciation of the totality of evidence in scriptures that make Christians struggle with the idea of getting involved in politics. Their moral construct of power says politics is dirty. But politics in essence cannot be dirty. There may be dirty players but the very concept of politics cannot be dirty. All power proceeds from God. Those who truly want to make a difference on a large scale know the value of political power. No other means comes close in potency and capacity. Not all the doing of good in the world, not all the money in the world.
The ultimate power on earth is political power. In the hands of right people nations are transformed, lives are changed, hope is renewed. With the stroke of a pen a president can damage lives. With the stroke of a pen a president can transform lives. That’s how potent political power is. There are several levels of participation in politics. The most basic is of course voting. But the drawback is, the decision on whom to vote for is already made for you at party level. If you don’t join a party you’re voting on who’s presented to you, not necessarily who you deem right for the job. For the privilege of choosing you’ll need to join a political party.
Presidential candidates are not picked by angels. They’re chosen by a few men and women in some room somewhere. Those men and women then present the candidate to secondary voters within the party. This takes place is at the party convention. It is after the endorsement of the secondary voters that the tertiary voters get to lend their imprimatur. You’re essentially voting for who’s been decided for you. The only way to get the opportunity to make a choice is to get involved in the party system.
We continue the series next week. To read full version of The Church and Politics Part 15: Another trinity, go to www.myilluminare.com/the-church-and-politics/.
If you’ll like to receive Jesus into your life please pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”
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