Getting it Right with Government (5)

There are those who believe it is the State’s duty, through its judicial process, to right every wrong. This concept carries human courts beyond the Biblical system of justice. While some might desire such a State function, history shows us that it is impossible and dangerous. Only God can right every wrong, and His chosen means was by Christ’s atoning sacrifice for those who believe in Him, and eternal punishment in Hell for those who do not turn to Jesus in repentance and faith. The State is not God.

Everyone likes the idea of justice, but the means of achieving justice is what has always split humanity. Traditionally, humanistic concepts of justice have led to greater political intervention, higher taxes, less liberty and commonly violence. These were evident as far back as the reign of King Saul in Israel around 1,000 BC, and have been predominant now in the West for two centuries.

But a Christian view of justice requires that we go and ask God for it, and employ Biblical methods to obtain it. And when there is endemic injustice in the community, the Bible teaches us that it is not firstly a political problem; it is related to the attitudes prevalent in that community, which need to be repented of, renounced and changed, individually.

Humanistic attitudes to justice declare that our problems are largely political, with political remedies, but a Christian view declares that our problems begin in the hearts of men, so political change (if required) will be modest indeed. It is men who must change and repent of their sin.

No doubt men could ascribe the changes in Israel in Saul’s time to merely political changes and motivations, but God had a different view. Hundreds of years later, He explained to Israel through the prophet Hosea,

It is your destruction, O Israel, that you are against Me, against your help. Where now is your king that he may save you in all your cities, and your judges of whom you requested, “Give me a king and princes”? I gave you a king in My anger and took him away in My wrath (Hos.13:9-11).

For God was ordaining events in Israel in Saul’s day, not men. He has His views on what constitutes justice, and sinful men have theirs, and these two positions are poles apart, and reflected in the scripture:

By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, all who judge rightly. I love those who love me, and those who diligently seek me will find me. Riches and honour are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, and my yield better than choicest silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice… (Prov.8:15-20).

So whilst men apart from God may acknowledge their need for a Saviour, in their rebellion they seek this saviour through other means, in denial of God. For man to acknowledge God means he has to humble himself which he hates to do, so he seeks a kind of back-door saviour. The most common manifestation of this is the political process, something clearly evident in the era of Saul.

Remarkably, the degeneration then as now, began amongst the leaders of the people of God. The priesthood under Eli had been corrupted (see I Samuel 2), and so Israel as a nation followed suit, politically (see I Samuel 8).

In his 2013 commentary on 1 Samuel, “In the Midst of your Enemies,” Joel McDurmon made reference to this:

1 Samuel addresses, among other things, the direct link between social freedom and God’s Law, national security and God’s Law, as well as specific politic issues such as biblical principles of warfare, kingship, national defence, the right to bear arms, taxation, military conscription, national greatness, political candidacy, political parties, party rivalries, jurisprudence (including biblical “common” law versus arbitrary civil or “statute” law), how to remain faithful under a regime hostile to biblical law, expatriation, political compromise, voting, the lesser of two evils, the surveillance state, and more. And it is simply staggering, once you understand the narratives involved, just how closely Samuel’s and David’s situations parallel our own in many ways, and how often the political expressions of modern Christians more closely align with Saul’s than with David’s (p.x).                                  

And this has been the pattern through history. The Russian Orthodox Church before the Revolution in 1917 had been corrupted for decades with mysticism and unreality, and it was unbelief born out of Darwinism and Higher Criticism that led to the effective sterilisation of the Church in Germany, making room for the rise of Hitler. In both these nations, the leaven of the kingdom of God had essentially departed. So yes, these manifestations of totalitarianism were clearly evil, but the degradation and evil had commenced decades earlier, amongst God’s people. One made room for the other.

It was William Penn who wrote in 1682,

Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it. But, if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavour to warp and spoil it to their turn.

When a nation is in rebellion against God, life gets more and more complex. Government becomes their supposed Saviour, to accomplish everything for them. So government gets bigger, requires more of the people’s taxes, and freedom diminishes. From Saul’s era 1,000 B.C. till today, nothing changes

But when a people turn to God, their political requirements become much easier to accomplish. They can be summed up as: small government-less tax-more freedom.

Conclusion:

Men need a Saviour, but in their sinful rebellion they refuse to acknowledge Him, commonly turning to the religion of politics and the State to solve their problems.

But God will not be mocked. He requires that His people, the church lead the way out of darkness, proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, including the State and politics. We are the ones required by God to lead the way out of the darkness humanism has gotten us into, into the light of God’s wonderful purpose.

Are you ready for your role in this?

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