A Christian in Political Power

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
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It is significant that while the New Testament scriptures give ample directions for the behavior of the husband to the wife and the wife to the husband, of the children to the parent and the parent to the children, of the servant to the master and the master to the servant, and while they also lay down the conduct proper from a subject to the powers that be, they give no directions whatever as to the way of executing political trust.
A Christian under authority has ample directions how to act. A Christian wielding governmental power has no directions at all. Why this omission? The character of believers as “not of the world,” as associated with Christ in His “patience,” and as fellow-heirs with Him whom God has not yet put in possession of the inheritance fully explains the omission.
Going About Doing Good
But did not Jesus, it may be asked, go about doing good? And may not the possession of political power and occupation with better government be the means of doing great good? This, however, is man’s reasoning. Looked at broadly, in the light of God’s truth, a Christian cannot do good by political action, for the end to which everything is working is God’s righteous judgment.
What does the Word teach us? It tells us that Jesus went about doing good, and it tells us too that believers are placed here for the same object for which He was here: “As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world” (John 17:1818As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. (John 17:18)). How then did Jesus do good? Was it by the exercise of political power? Was it by worldly combinations and societies? Was it by seeking popular support? While He had a right to rule and could rule righteously, He absolutely declined to receive power. Offered it by the devil, He at once detected and denounced the deceiver. Asked to take the place of an arbiter, He replied, “Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?” (Luke 12:1414And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? (Luke 12:14)). Perceiving that the people “would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone” (John 6:1515When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. (John 6:15)).
In private, none ever labored as He to do good, but the time for public and governmental blessing to the earth had not yet come. The scepter was not yet put into His hands by the only One who had a right to bestow it, and He would receive it from no other. If taken now, it must be taken either from the “god of this world” or from man, and from neither of these would He accept it. In what way are things different now? Can the Christian receive power from hands from which Christ refused it? Will God give it to the fellow-heirs while He is yet withholding it from the One whom He has made heir of all things?
T. B. Baines, adapted