No Thanks, You were not Serving Jesus, Nor was Your Service for Me
Why would it matter if the President is a “real” Christian? Since the law says there’s to be no religious test for office, why is it important for us strangers to be deciding about a politician’s religion? Is the USA “exceptional” because its leaders have been or were “Christians”?
If you “support the troops”, does this mean that you advocate that people become soldiers? Does it mean that you think that Christians should kill other people for Christ and His glory? Does it mean that you support the civil liberty to become soldiers, if that’s what people decide, even though you don’t agree with the decision? Does it mean that you think it’s one way for poor people to go, but not the best for your children?
Would you fault the “moral compromise” of the Lord Jesus for His submission to the occupying empire and its allies on the Sanhedrin? Is Christ’s rejection of Peter’s sword an endorsement of the evil done by the Romans, or do you think that the Roman administration of Roman laws was basically good for business and civilization?
Acts 2:23 Jesus…crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
We should never confuse what’s “necessary” (because it’s predestined by God) with what is good or practical or legitimate. I can agree that nation-states do great evil, without in any way seeing any duty or mandate or vocation for us to attempt to replace or reform these regimes. “Submit” does NOT mean “do the evil they command”. But neither does “submit” mean “I accept suffering from them because I think they are good and legitimate”. By what standard would we make this judgment? By the standard of the Mosaic covenant? By the command of the Noahic covenant that blood that takes must be taken as a sacrifice to God? Which God? By the standard of what your “natural instincts” tell you to do?
Patience, even such that we wait for the Lord Jesus to come and judge, is not always necessarily cowardice, and most definitely it’s not approval of that which is evil. To do nothing when nothing wise can be done is to avoid the evils which come when we attempt to overcome evil with evil.
We cannot dismiss Christ’s command to love our enemies with the idea–”if it were only me suffering that’s one thing, but it’s not only me suffering, so therefore I am one of the gods who must do something about it.”
I Peter 2:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
mark: God’s foreordination is not God’s approval. God’s purpose in Christ involves His second advent, and apocalypse will uncover the evils done in the name of the good.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
mark: What some speak of as the “spirituality of the church”, I think of as the “politics of the church”. The words “ecclesia” and “politics” do not belong only to those willing to do violence. God’s purpose in Christ is manifest when Christians obey Christ’s commands together.
There is something very “religious” about “supporting the troops” of an evil empire, and there is something very “political” about knowing that your church is more important than your family or your race or your national boundaries.
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the
day of visitation.
mark: Unless we adopt a situation ethic (now we have the illusion of democracy!), since when do aliens tell the nation in which they live how to conduct their affairs??? Agreed, you surely are not going to listen to what Jesus Christ said, but we like our plan B better than your plan B???
13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the
ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants[ of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.
mark: On this matter of unjust suffering, the idea is not to restrict the suffering to something “private” or something which is “religious persecution”. Rather, the imperative depends on the example of what the Lord Jesus Himself did in a situation where his people were threatened by an evil occupying power. The text does not say to move to Jerusalem and be a carpenter and not have a wife. But the text does say that Christ is our pattern in suffering, also that we do this by “trusting Him who judges justly”.
19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sin, live to righteousness.