Grace is God’s empowering presence at work within a person to justify him and make him what God intended him to be. It was always the plan of the Father to govern men by grace, by His love written in our hearts. And the more a culture, a community, or a nation is governed by grace-full hearts of love, the fewer external laws are necessary. In such a case, all that is needed to maintain the common goals and good of the community is a minimal civil government. It might look like this:
But when grace is abandoned, and the love of God and others runs dry, the civil government by necessity must step up and expand in order to maintain order: Laws replace love, courts replace courtesy, policemen replace parenting, and freedom is lost. This is the sad condition of western civilization..
What’s needed in today’s culture is a return to the simple law of the Kingdom. If we were to once again embrace the love of God and others, much of the government’s burden would be handed back to individuals, and the cry for a nanny state would cease.
Deuteronomy 1:13 instructs us in several additional principles of Civil Government: “Choose some wise, understanding, and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.” Notice these three principles:
- The people should choose their leaders. (That’s democracy).
- They should choose leaders from their tribes: (This is local government, leaders who are known.)
- They should choose leaders of wisdom and good character.
What I’m trying to show in these simple posts is that God’s kingdom plan addresses all of life. Kingdom people understand that the gospel is more than forgiveness alone; It is a way of life that includes everything from business to baseball, from homelessness to health care.
On a personal note, I’m back in Maryland after a delightful weekend with the men of Shepherd Gate Church in Chantilly, Virginia. I spoke on “Identity and the Kingdom of God,” and had a rich time of friendship and challenge with these amazing brothers.