From External to Internal Government
As sin continued on earth God gave to humans the responsibility to execute justice against those who walked in unrighteousness. The primary responsibility of Civil Government is to protect the righteous and punish the unrighteous. The Bible even goes as far as saying the authorities should honor those that do well (1 Pet. 2:14).
Though we live in a world which is in deep idolatry when it comes to exalting the State to a place of deity, having powers to make decision far outside its domain and down to the smalles detail, God’s eternal purpose has always been that His Kingdom would rule in our hearts. This is what love does. This is what Jesus walked the earth and gave His life for – that humanity would be set free to live its purpose. He is our only hope.
Mainstream thinking seems to completely disregard Jesus, and we are largely taught the way of the flesh, the immediate and the closed system. Humanity and humans must fix their own world and its many problems. Materialistic thinking disregards the spiritual reality, even if everyone experiences it every single day. We set up structures and institutions to continue our pursuits and everything has essentially become a power struggle. Large institutions will never consider the individual, because they are an obstacle to their own growth. Unified structures like these live on by thinking of themselves and disregarding those they are set to serve. Service draws life out of the institution, while turning it upside down and becoming the one to be served secures longevity.
This cannot continue forever. The breaking point will come, because every single institution will at some point need to claim some degree of deity, sovereignty and power to rule over its “subjects”. If humans were evolutionary developed creatures, this could possibly find its harmony, but history has proven so many times that humans are not made to be slaves under these finite and compromised institutions.
The people of Israel hold the best story since they cried out for the God of Creation to come and deliver them. They did not only revolt against their oppressors or the false gods they served, but they had to humble themselves and seek deliverance from Heaven.
This deliverance included the delivery of the laws that were given to Israel. Since Jesus hadn’t yet come to deal with the spiritual powers in the heavenlies, the law was given in the letter, an external form that was a shadow of what was to come. The last of the 10 Commandments do however deal with an issue of the heart, that of coveting. Nobody can see it, but you know when you do it.
Today we are in love with the multitude of institutions in society. Wherever we go in “developed” nations we find a range of institutions. Over time the spirit of service has often disappeared and given way to control and a need to own people. This is tragic, because it will eventually lead to the disintegration of the very institution.
God’s Kingdom is an internal kingdom, one that rules from the heart and outward. Jesus came so that we can be free to live and free to love. As God’s people we need to keep growing the Kingdom within and not cheer for the external kingdom. Indeed justice must have its power to reinforce consequences, but we are not to keep growing these monstrous institutions that end up ruling over people like little kings. They end up taking our liberties away because they don’t have the substance or the character to rule.
It is time to get back into Scripture and rediscover God’s ways for all of society. Jesus is the key to unlock them and the hope is there. His Kingdom within is going to win and go on for ever. Are we going to look for a King who rules from the outside or one that rules from within? You and I need to decide which side we are on.