Better News Than Politics

How does the good news of Jesus speak to politics?

First, I think it’s important that we see and agree that the good news that Jesus brings is better news than politics has ever or could ever bring. Let’s look at a simple outline of some forms of government that God’s people have been under in the Bible:

  1. Government by God (in Eden)
  2. Oppression and Slavery (in Egypt)
  3. Tribal Leadership
  4. Monarchy
  5. Exile
  6. Roman Rule

Out of the six forms of government only one was perfect: Government by God. And even that got messed up because of human sin. Representative democracy as good as it is, is not perfect and never will be. It has worked well. But it is important that we realize that it will never be perfect.

Jesus brings better news than politics can ever bring. Jesus gets us back to perfect government by God. And He does so by giving His very own life. Jesus will make things forever right (Rev. 21).

Let’s not put our hope in any political promise. Let’s hope in Jesus and in His Kingdom. Jesus is the true King and Savior.

Second, the gospel tells us our ultimate citizenship is somewhere else. As Christians, we live knowing that we don’t have a permanent home here. We’re looking for the forever and perfect home that is to come (Heb.13:14 cf. 10:34; 11:10, 16; 2 Cor. 5:4), a home prepared for us by Jesus Himself (Jn. 14:2).

So, it’s important that we remember that “There are two kingdoms. One is life giving; the other is death inducing. One is God honoring; the other, self-sovereign. One is eternal; the other, fizzling out even as you read.”[1] One Kingdom should have our ultimate allegiance; the other kingdom should be secondary.

Let’s not live like our earthly citizenship is primary. Let’s also not communicate in such a way that people will think, that we think, that our earthly citizenship is primary.[2]

Third, the good news of Jesus shows us that we have hope and help from outside this broken world. As we have seen, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). Our Savior is from there, not here. No earthly leader is the Messiah. The Lord Jesus is the Messiah.

The new Jerusalem comes down from God out of heaven (Rev. 21:2). No political leader can bring about a perfect reign. There is a god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4) and he subtly affects this world; he is Satan, “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Eph. 2:2). It is Jesus alone who has all power and all authority and to Him every knee will bow (Phi. 2:10). Jesus alone can strike down Satan and his host by the breath of His mouth (Rev. 19:15ff) and bring in an eternal reign of peace.

As Christians, let’s not put our hope in any merely earthly hope. As Psalm 118:9 instructs us, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes [or their modern equivalent]” (cf. Ps. 146:3). And Psalm 40:4 says, “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!”

Fourth, because of the good news of Jesus, we don’t need to fear. Jesus taught us that in this world we will have tribulation. We take heart and are encouraged because Jesus has overcome the world (Jn. 16:33). Not because of any political party. We don’t need to fear not because a certain political official was elected or because a particular political party is in power. We don’t need to fear because Jesus is with us. And He is the Lord.

Even if we have real concerns about the earthly country that we call home, let’s not live in fear. Instead of fear, let’s be faithful. Let’s be informed. Let’s pray for those in power (1 Tim. 2:1-4). Let’s vote. Let’s encourage Christians in politics knowing the huge burden and challenge they face.

Let’s also be “quick to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19 cf. Prov. 10:19; James 1:26; 3:1). And let’s let our conversations always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that we may know how to talk to people (Col. 4:6 cf. Eph. 4:29).

Conclusion

The good news of Jesus should kill any sense in us that we can make the world right in ourselves; that we can bring in the Kingdom through political means. The gospel should also kill fear. We should be convinced that Jesus has brought us untouchable peace, even while knowing that promise was never given about or to America.

The gospel should also forever kill in us a sense of pervading pessimism or hopelessness. As Christians, we are the people of hope. We have an unshakable hope, not in America, but in Christ; and that is because He is the Lord. And it is when we honor Him as the Lord that He is, that we can always have hope (see 1 Pet. 3:15).

All this does not mean that we resign ourselves to loveless indifference to politics and the problems of the world. No. Instead, we lovingly throw ourselves in the fray. But we do so in love for Christ and in imitation of Christ. We do not stoop to the strategies and tactics of the world. For, our strategy is foolishness to the world. We preach and follow Christ and serve as Christ, as the servant of all.

_________

[1] Dan Boone, A Charitable Discourse, 57.

[2] First Corinthians 10:31-33 is probably important for us to remember here and heed as well: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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