As believers today, our struggle with a split concept of reality is often revealed in our dualism between the Old and New Testament. Jesus labors with our tendency towards this in Matthew 5:
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
In other words, greatness in the Kingdom of God is being able to marry and live the Old and New Testament values. The Old Testament emphasis is on nations and how we live together as a community and the New Testament emphasizes the individual, salvation and reaching the lost. These must be married to see God and His Kingdom clearly. The revelation is progressive and we do not leave the beginning in the Old in order to achieve the end in the New. One builds on and fulfills the purpose of the other, revealing the full purposes of God.
God gives away power
Genesis 1 and 2 also give us a summation of God’s foundational values and where He places authority and responsibility. The delegation of and power to carry authority in the Kingdom of God is the basis of every legal and justice issue and, therefore, the values base for Governance. This is the template of ideals we, as believers, are working towards for civil law in a fallen world. Our goal is to move towards God’s values and rightful authority by restoring His thinking in and through our lives, our families, our vocations and our communities.
In Scripture we find God’s establishment of rights and responsibilities, authority and power. Every person has rights and with those rights come the weight of responsibility. However, no one has all rights and all responsibilities at all times, in all places or over all things. The rights of men and women, animal rights, the earth’s rights, rights of workers, rights of immigrants, nations’ rights, border rights, community rights, individual rights, religious rights, parent’s rights, children’s rights, the right to speak, the right to communicate, the right to know, spousal rights, property rights, rights of ownership, sexual rights, the right to protest, the right of civil disobedience, the right of parental disobedience, the right to religious freedom, the right of religious disobedience, reproductive rights, prisoners rights, the rights of the poor, the right to my reputation, tribal rights, victims’ rights, owners’ rights, the right to work, the right to live and more are all present and defended in Scripture. We can rightly say that the Scripture validates and in some cases, historically creates the concept of one’s rights, privileges and responsibilities.
The burden of Civil Governance is to sustain and secure these God given rights. Impossible? Yes it is. But we are to work for the highest level of justice possible and then continue to work for a higher-level while, at the same time, upholding the rights society already has established, securing the rights God gives but society still denies. Our focus, rather than on ourselves as Christians, is on those whose rights are most abused, the widow, orphan, alien, and poor of Scripture.
Our Call To Governance
As God’s people we are called into civil governance for the Glory of God and the good of the people. Our goal is not to perfect the world or nation, but to offer God’s perspective, a better way, and allow society a choice. We are not the Jews in the Promise Land; we are God’s people in Babylon. God’s people surrounded by nations in darkness, offering “salt and light.”
We have influence, but we are not in control. We are not defending God’s Kingdom; His Kingdom is already established. We are not here to “bring back the King,” the King is already coming. We are ambassadors of Light, helping to dispel darkness. We are “salt” preserving and changing the flavor of our communities’ choices. We are “salt” that can bring healing. We are an alternative choice to the lies of the “lawless one.” And we are preparing to deliver God’s justice beyond the borders of this world and time.
As citizens, peacekeepers and governors of a nation our objective is to “win” our nations to the highest level of justice they will accept. Having been loved into the Kingdom of God ourselves, do not think that we will beat the lost into understanding God’s values of political justice. We must win them over to God’s thinking by revealing His superior blessing in our lives and through our defense of His laws and values.
To what end do we pursue this passion of the Kingdom? That all may see the Glory of the Lord, that some might be saved and all be blessed.
- Landa L. Cope
In 2005 Landa founded The Template Institute committed to providing seminars and materials for the development of Biblical thinking in the professions as well as a comprehensive Biblical approach to issues in the public forum. She currently serves as the Founder and Executive Director of TTI. The above post is an excerpt from the full article available here. Her book, The Old Testament Template, is available for purchase at the DNA bookstore.