“Jesus is involved in politics.” Really? Does Scripture commend the work of America’s conservative watchdog groups? Ought we police the moral landscape?
I appreciate America’s conservative watchdog groups. The people who work for such organizations, whether on a volunteer basis or as compensated employees, keep their eyes glued to the country’s political landscape as pertains to morality. They also lobby for Judeo-Christian values to be the basis of our officials’ law-making. Think of them as political lifeguards that have their heads on a constant swivel, ready to blow the whistle and pounce on all seeming threats to what’s commonly referred to as “religious liberty” at a moment’s notice. Yet there’s a problem with this: I believe Scripture teaches that the resources these groups use to do this political police work are misdirected.
It seems that because the United States was in some ways founded upon Bible principles, that the citizens who govern their lives by said principles feel entitled to expect that the majority will and should do the same. You’ll hear from those of conservative political bent, “We need to get back to our nation’s founding principles!” We’ve heard that for a long time now. Nonetheless, and I don’t mean to be an Eeyore, my humble opinion is that ultimately isn’t going to happen.
You can’t force or legislate anyone, even a genuine born-again Christian, into behaving in this way or that. It might be noble to want to promote biblical morality, but it simply isn’t supported by Scripture. Nowhere in the Bible can you point to God expressing a desire, let alone commanding us, to change the culture. And there’s a reason for that: people can’t change people. Laws can’t change people. Only God can change the heart of the unbeliever, and also the believer. But even then, this only happens in whom He pleases, and on His watch. Laws, while good and certainly necessary, don’t make people live righteously or be more like Jesus Christ. Just look around at our own nation, or spend five minutes in the Old Testament (take Judges, for example), for abundant evidence of this.
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), given by Jesus Christ, is to take the gospel to the nations…to win souls to the Savior, then baptize and disciple them. He never remotely suggested, let alone commanded, that we create or even attempt to maintain some kind of superficial Bible culture. Alluded to earlier, the book of Judges (Judges 17:6, Judges 21:25), along with much of the rest of Scripture, is clear that unregenerate man takes pleasure in practicing unrighteousness while rebelling against God (Romans 1:32, John 3:19). Without a work of the Spirit in hearts, people always have and always will go their own way and act contrary to what God wants.
Understand that I’m not advocating for Christians to just back off and watch our country go down the moral commode. I believe there is some value in encouraging people to develop a lifestyle that’s based on God’s Word. But we must always evaluate if our priorities are in line with God’s priorities. Glorifying God with our own lives, while informing unbelievers of their lost estate and how to be rightly related to our glorious God should always be top priorities as we wake up every day.
The kingdom of God is spiritual, not furthered by works of the flesh. It also isn’t here yet. Satan currently rules the world; God is simply patient and long-suffering, offering billions the dwindling opportunity (II Peter 3:9) to repent and believe in His Son. So if any conservative watchdog ever claims, “I’m doing kingdom work,” I hope that such a person means they’re spreading the gospel, not political petitions. Jesus did not come to improve a moral landscape. He didn’t come to lift Rome’s heavy boot from Israel’s neck, otherwise He would have been the political Messiah that some claim He was and my arguments would be moot. He came to call sinners to repentance, starting with the lost sheep of Israel who ultimately rejected Him. Jesus was never involved in politics. And the groups that are convinced He was, with all due respect, are mistaken and wasting their time/resources trying to “take our country back”. That’s not to say God can’t change a country such as the United States. Of course He can; He has changed many nations throughout history, it’s just up to Him to do so if He chooses.
The point of this is to encourage my fellow millennial believers who support these watchdog organizations to reconsider their mission. Jesus gave a clear mission, but it’s not that the United States would preserve religious freedom. It’s not that conservative patriots would win the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives. It’s not that conservatives would pass more biblically-based laws. And it certainly isn’t to police morality. We have but one mission, one job. It’s to make the Savior known!