The Politics of Heaven ~ Pastor Andrew

Have you ever considered how political Christianity really is? If you’ve spent any amount of time in an evangelical church, you’ll know that Christians tend to avoid divisive politics. “Religion and politics don’t mix,” some say, advocating a posture of separationism.

When I was studying the book of Revelation, I came across this quote from Eugene Peterson, and it struck a nerve:

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is more political than anyone imagines, but in a way that no one guesses.” [1]

What did Peterson mean? How is Christianity more political but not in a way that you or I would automatically guess? I began reading my Bible with political eyes. Sure – the I had seen the political language before, but suddenly I was struck by its predominance.

For example, when we say, “Jesus is King,” we are declaring his rule and authority over all (Rev. 19:16). The governmental authority promised to him (Isa 9:6) is now realized, and in saving people, God rescues people “from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). But we are not subjects of this kingdom. “Our citizenship is in heaven,” says Paul (Phil. 3:20), reminding us that citizens share in ruling (2 Tim. 2:12), whereas subjects are ruled. And because we will reign with our Lord, practicing law as we judge the angels (1 Cor. 6:3), we must learn to be faithful ambassadors here on earth who represent the message of our kingdom: “Be reconciled to God!” (2 Cor. 5:20). Our King came to earth, threatening kings just by being born (Matt 2:1-9), and was charged with insurrection (isn’t that the charge above Jesus’ head on the cross? – Matt 27:37). But now he is seated at the right hand of the Father where he reigns (Acts 2:30). So as his ambassadors, our churches must become outposts of the heavenly kingdom.

What does all this political talk have to do with every day life? Just consider this thought:

“For a Christian, the political life must begin inside the church – in our new creation life together as local congregations.” [2]

In other words, we need to become a church that learns to love justice and mercy (Micah 6:8), that faithfully represents our servant King (2 Cor. 5:20), and prepares here and now for the rule of heaven in which we will partake (2 Tim. 2:12). Politics isn’t merely dealing with the city of earth; it is learning the rule of heaven here and now.

On Sunday, we will gather as the embassy of heaven here in Ilderton to worship and adore our King and confess our loyalty to His kingdom – a kingdom that was purchased by the blood of the King, so secure that it cannot be shaken (Heb. 12:28 – so that we might be faithful ambassadors in a city that needs a message of hope and good news.

 

See you Sunday!

Andrew

 

[1] Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder, p. 117)

[2] Jonathan Leeman, How the Nations Rage, p. 64.

 

 

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