The Nation of God and the Kingdom of God

The previous decade was one of hurt, revenge, and war. My generation will always carry the term 9-11 as words of tragedy. Where were you? What did you feel? I felt shock, anger, and sadness. Most people felt that way.

Very soon after, we went to war. I’ll confess that I did the flag thing like everyone else did and almost bought a yellow ribbon magnet for the car.

It was a very fast move to get back at the evildoers.

More recently, I began to wonder if we really had time as Christians to step back and think about this.

(This not a post for pacifism, even though I am a pacifist.)

Maybe we have approached this all wrong. Much of the language supporting this war has been religious and moral in nature, hence the words evildoers and terrorist.

But what do the Scriptures say? Let’s look in the Bible and explore common passages, some used frequently and some that are not in this situation.

Romans 13:1-7 is commonly used to show that Christians are subject to government. I do not disagree. Our relationship with government serves as a witness to our citizenship to the Kingdom of heaven. However, Paul does not encourage us to be blind and not ask what is right in the eyes of God. If you jump to the previous chapter, Paul states that we are not give in to the world’s patterns, but that we are to live out our transformation. This means that our priority is the Kingdom or God. We are His ambassadors and must ask questions that lead us closer to His will.

Another passage used is Matthew 22:17-22. This passage at surface reading seems to bolster the view that government deserves our full support. But look a little closer. The object in question are the coins which have a picture of Caesar for taxes. So Jesus does encourage the payment of taxes. But He follows the statement by saying that we should give to God what is God’s. What belongs to God? If you are up to date on your Old Testament reading, you should immediately know that God owns everything, even the coins for the taxes. Jesus is not saying government deserve blind loyalty. He is actually saying that that is something which belongs to God alone.

To further the case for the Matthew passage as well as coming to a Christian understanding of 9-11, one needs to remember that in Matthew 6:7-15, Jesus says that we must forgive those who trespass against us, meaning someone who does something that invades our space and messes with what they should not be messing with. In verse 15, it seems like those who want to be part of God’s kingdom must forgive or God will not forgive, regardless of baptism, verbal confession of Christ as savior, right belief, or good works. This is very challenging for any one claiming Christianity as their faith.

So I ask you, which one will you be most loyal to, the nation or the Kingdom. Will give your allegiance to the Emperor, President, King, or Judge. Or will you give your allegiance to the Lamb of God who has already conquered.

Grace and Peace.