We have been taking a step-by-step approach to establishing a vision of what we are to grow up into as Christians. We have discussed how we are called to be, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (see 1 Peter 2:9). We are called to be a separate nation within the nations whose very existence testifies of the excellencies of the King who rules over us. Christians should be strikingly distinguishable from all other people. We are in fact the “alien nation” within the nations, as we are a “new creation” that is vastly different from the Adamic nature of man.
This “holy nation,” also has a different government. Of course, we honor the governments of the nations that we live in because they too have received their authority from God (see Romans 13:1-6), and they are our hosts. Even so, our main purpose on this earth is to prepare the way for the kingdom that is to come, to serve its interests, not just the interests of the nations of this world. That does not mean that we do not seek to be a blessing to the nations, but we serve another King, Jesus. We must place the interests of His kingdom first in all things.
As we proceed toward the end of this age, the “holy nation” will become more distinguishable. It will increasingly become a bright light set on a hill in the midst of darkness. The Christian community will become just that, a community within itself with a powerful and distinct identity. This does not mean that we must live in separate neighborhoods, but that the bond between Christians will grow so strong that they will be recognized as a community of people within the community. We will live by a faith and a purpose other than those that the world lives by.
To further understand just how we are to relate to the nations of this earth, I want to briefly discuss the two different kinds of governments that presently rule this world. Later, we will elaborate on how they are distinguishable from the Kingdom of God in their basic functions.
Basically, the present governments of this world can be separated into two kinds, the lawless and the lawful. The lawless nations may have a strong authoritarian government, such as many of the communist governments. If they have a constitution at all, it does not have any real influence because the true rule is at the whim of those in power. In these nations the courts are not established for the purpose of providing justice, but for enforcing the dictates of those in authority. In contrast to this, the lawful nations are those that are established on a constitution that has real strength and a system of justice based on protecting the constitution and the rights of the citizens who live under it.
Generally, the lawful governments will be much better than the lawless, but both fall far short of the government of the Kingdom of God. Even in the most lawful nations, law is an art and not a science. By this I mean it can change because of the influences of justice under the law. One who has the most persuasive lawyers arguing their case can win, the merit of facts actually having little to do with the outcome of the case.
In nations so devoted to the rule of law, such as the United States, right and wrong is often determined by what we can get away with, not what is right or wrong. Even though this may be the case, these systems will probably provide much more true justice than those under a lawless system. However, there will not be true justice until the Judge returns and establishes His kingdom based on truth.
For further study of these two basic types of earthly governments, I highly recommend the writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He lived under the lawless regimes of communism and then spent years under the lawful (or full-of-law) government of the United States. He saw both as falling short of bringing forth the best and highest purposes of mankind. With the eye of a prophet, Solzhenitsyn’s address, “A Warning,” to the graduating class of Harvard (which was published on the front pages of newspapers throughout the country in 1976) shook our nation as few critics of our country ever have. This was probably one of the two most powerful prophetic proclamations made to this nation in the twentieth century, with the other being the “I Have A Dream” speech made by Martin Luther King, Jr. (We published Solzhenitsyn’s address in The Morning Star Journal, Volume 3, Number 1.)
In contrast to the best governments of this world, the Kingdom of God is based on the highest moral standard — love. We who live in the kingdom should not be governed by what we can get away with, but by what is right and what is of the greatest benefit to those we are commanded to love. It is true that when the King Himself comes to set up His kingdom on earth, He will come with a rod of iron to judge the nations, but even His judgment is founded upon His love. God who is love, does not do anything out of resentment or retaliation. This was proven for all time by the cross. Even if He must destroy a nation, it is because love makes it necessary.
This certainly is “tough love,” but true love is uncompromising in its standards for the sake of those loved. As Proverbs 13:24 declares, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” If we do not discipline our children we are not preparing them effectively for the life that they are going to face, and are therefore harming them, not loving them. For this reason, Hebrews 12:6-11 states:
“For those whom the LORD loves He disciplines,
and He scourges every son whom He receives.”
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons;
for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers,
then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
>Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them;
shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them,
but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful;
yet to those who have been trained by it,
afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
In our lives, such discipline in the form of trials we endure is for the purpose of preparing us for His kingdom. His church must be prepared so we are not only ready for it to come, but also ready to take responsibility and authority with Him when He comes. Everything happening in our lives is training for reigning. Don’t waste your trials. They are coming upon you because the King loves you and wants to use you for a glorious purpose. It is by passing these tests that we advance step-by-step into the place of being ready for service to the King.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|