Thursday, May 14, 2009


"God, Government, and the Gospel" is the title of the 11th chapter in John MacArthur's book "Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong." The chapter argues for a Biblical response to the oftentimes overzealous response of evangelicals with regards to political activism. MacArthur presents five Biblical principles that Christians should consider in thinking rightly about government and political activism:

1. Our commission is the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20). "True Christianity is more concerned with saving souls than it is with gaining votes...Only the gospel, through the power of the Spirit, can affect real change in society--since it transforms sinners from the inside out."

2. Our confidence is in God. God is sovereign over all. He has already revealed to us how this world will end. "In its discussion of the last days, the Bible is clear that society will continue to get worse until the return of Christ (2 Thess. 2:7-12; 1 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 Pet. 3:3). Yet many evangelicals approach politics as if the degradation of society is something they can stop with legislation. The truth is that no society will ever be truly made right until Christ comes..."

3. Our charge is to submit (Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:1). "The sum of our civil duty then, is to submit and to pay taxes.

4. Our commitment is to pray (1 Tim. 2:1-2). "An immediate byproduct of praying for our leaders is that it removes feelings of anger and resistance towards them. It prompts us to seek peace rather than to rebel or overreact--to lead lives that are tranquil, quiet, godly, and dignified." "Second, Christians should pray for the salvation of their leaders (1 Tim. 2:3-6,8).

5. Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20-21)."Our ultimate allegiance is to the Lord. We follow His directions, commandments, and standards as revealed to us in His word and energized by His Holy Spirit. We live for eternal matters, operating with a wholly different set of priorities than those in the world around us. Though we now reside in an earthly kingdom, our resources and efforts are primarily focused on advancing the work of an eternal kingdom (Matt. 6:3).

MacArthur concludes the chapter with these thoughts: "One day Jesus Christ will return. When He does, He will establish His Kingdom, the perfect government in which He will rule with absolute equity and justice. As His servants, we will have the joy of participating in His flawless and incorruptible administration. In fact, we will reign with Him as we worship Him in His resplendent glory. In the meantime, we would do well to remember that our primary mission is to preach the gospel and not to instigate political change."

The chapter is a needful reminder to us of where our priorities lie. Countries come and go, but "the gates of Hades shall not overpower" the church. Leaders are but for a while, but "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever." Political causes ebb and flow, but the gospel remains the "power of God for salvation to every one who believes."

Pastor Jerry

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