Jesus said some very clear things about how things are. One thing that He said very clearly, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” Yet here He is in the world to save the world.
Jeremiah 29 tells God’s people to do something that is key for any Christians involvement in the culture in which it lives. Ready? Even when living in a “hostile, or unfriendly environment,” 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:6-7). Translation… Do the basic things for a healthy community and then seek to be a blessing there with the wisdom from the God who created us for liberty and life, righteousness and peace.
There are ways to be a blessing for others that are bigger than the winner of the election or the passing of a law. It is living a public life for the sake of one’s neighbor. There’s an attitude that God’s people bring to a world that tends to politicize everything. In the ancient world, the motto was “Don’t do to others, what you don’t want done to you.” Jesus turned that all around when He said, “Do unto others and you would have the do unto you.” And, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s something to strive for even when the political winds don’t blow one’s way.
Christians often confuse their involvement in public issues on morality or policy by citing the phrase “What would Jesus do?” Unfortunately, that confuses the way the Bible talks about how God works in the world. In general, the church teaches that the Father is the creator of the world, the one who orders the world, and we can see that ordering throughout the cultures of the world and in the consciences of people in the world. The Bible also teaches that the Father sent His Son Jesus to redeem and restore the world through His cross and resurrection. So, what’s the point? Well, when it comes to how the church should seek to reach out to people, to share the Good news of the Gospel… That’s a “What would Jesus do?” type of question. That’s a turn the other cheek type of answer. That’s a “serve others as God in Christ serves you.” That’s how God orders His Right-Hand Kingdom work, the work of His church.
But that’s not how He orders governments and magistrates and law-enforcement etc. That’s a “What would God the Father do?” type of question. That’s an “if a person won’t work, neither shall he eat,” type of issue. That’s “let the punishment fit the crime,” type of issue. That’s a “Fathers… Love and respect your wife and children; Wives… Respect and love your husbands and love your children; Children respect your parents,” type of issue. “What would God the Father do?” is a question of how to order a safe, prosperous, and humane world with sinful, broken people at the helm. God the Father does that through the fundamental laws written in the hearts of people. The common dignity afforded to all people because they are created by God, that’s a foundation for a civil society. The challenge to encourage strong families, Fathers, Mothers, having and raising children in the context of love and respect, that can ward off many ills. Honoring the temporal liberties of freedom of religion and freedom of speech so that people can freely serve others, that’s a temporal life worth striving for. What would the “Father have us do?” I think that in the American Context it is that we are to “put our temporal liberties to work for the sake of the common good and for the sake of the proclamation of the eternal liberties that only