Kingdoms in Conflict

“Let’s get something straight,” columnist Cal Thomas recently wrote, “America has never been a ‘Christian nation.’”

While that statement may be shocking to some, it’s true. For those who disagree Thomas asks, “What part of our history was uniquely Christian? Was it when slavery was legal? How about when women were denied the vote? The Gilded Age? The Roaring ’20s?”

The Bible never speaks of a nation, business or college being “Christian.” “The disciples were called Christians…”(Acts 11:26). The two other times “Christian” is used also speaks to the individual relationship with Christ. All Christians are a part of God’s Kingdom (Col. 1:13).

Jesus affirmed that His Kingdom “was not of this world” (Jn 18:36). It was not founded on worldly principles. It is not carnal in its nature. Its purpose is not secular. Nor is its means, methods and message political. Everything about Christ’s Kingdom is spiritual.

However, we all have citizenship in an earthly Kingdom. While the United States of America is a Republic, other countries employ a different political system. Laws, customs, and traditions vary from one country to another. And laws change. Sometimes not for the better, as we are witnessing in our country. As a result the citizen of God’s Kingdom will sometimes find himself in conflict with the Kingdoms of men.

In the USA we have enjoyed religious freedom and been able to exercise the right to practice our faith free from governmental interference. While some may feel that right is being threaten, Christians do not have the right to impose their religious and moral beliefs upon non-believers under the guise that America is a “Christian nation.”

Issues of abortion, homosexuality and same-sex marriage are moral issues, yet the laws of our land contradict God’s law. They are two kingdom in conflict. So what is a Bible Believer to do? 

In the recent case of the Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, she refused to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple because it violated her conscience and religious beliefs. We can debate the wisdom of her decision, despise the law that allows the license, and deplore the moral decline in our country. But we need to realize that values of the spiritual Kingdom have never completely been embraced by earthly kingdoms. And why not? Because unbelievers don’t believe! They don’t understand Christians’ perspective. The Bible expresses it this way.

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14)

In fact, past efforts by the Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition, and the Religious Right have been ineffective. Abortion is still legal. And now same-sex couple may marry. Maybe it’s time for Christians to realize that political pressure is not God’s plan for changing this world. The Kingdom of God will not exercise influence over the kingdoms of men by force, legislation, or partisan politics.

God calls us to impact the world in two ways:

(1) Through our influence of living “soberly, righteously, and godly” (Titus 2:14). Light-shining involvement is what Jesus’ preached in the Mountain Message (Matt 5:14-16). Spiritual transformation, instead of mindless carnal conformity to the world’s deeds and desire, can truly make a difference.

(2) Share God’s message of salvation to a lost world (Mk. 16:15). The Bible warns against using carnal weapons in a spiritual warfare (2Cor 10:5). The power to change the worldly kingdom does not reside in politics or policies but in the power of the gospel (Rom. 1:16). Through God’s grace and Christ’s sacrifice, hearts can be touched, lives can be changed and sinners can be redeemed,

In the meantime John’s advice is appropriate for Christians: “Do not love the world or the things in the world….the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (I Jn 2:15-17)