Two Kingdoms Distinguished

Jesus said [to Pilate], “My kingdom is not of this world.  John 18:36

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

I don’t know about you, but my brain has been overloaded lately with a politicking that has never been seen or experienced here in the United States before.  We might despair of all hope if it were not for our Savior.

As a pastor and as a church we are obviously bound to not be partisan in the back and forth of this divided nation.  We fully understand that Christians can and do take different positions on the affairs of the nation – and we need to be generous to those who think and believe differently.  We give wide berth to each other in love because the bible does not specify how a nation is to be taxed, built, defended, etc.  These are the affairs of what we call the “Kingdom of the Left”.  These issues are to be dealt with through reason.  But as we all know, even as husband and wife, we often find our reasoning to be different on even daily life.  We need to learn how to understand and live with each other peaceably.

But this does not mean that the church should have no voice in the affairs of the nation.  In fact, even as we ought not take political “sides” and voice any specific support for a party or candidate, the church IS to be the judge of the affairs of the nation when it comes to issues of right and wrong, issues of morality, and issues concerning the “Order of Nature” that God ordained for human society in its creation.  Our Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has taken public stands on three important issues:  Sanctity of Life, Sanctity of Marriage, and most recently, the Freedom of Religion. We are free to speak to the issues of morality.  And we do this apart from any political flag waving.

We do recall in these difficult days how the scriptures call on Christians to pray for our governments – so that peace may reign and that the Gospel can be preached.  (1 Timothy 2:1-3)  We most definitely need to be diligent in our prayers, asking the Lord to give us His wisdom as His people.  We need it as we endeavor to be active participants in our democratic governments.

Perhaps the most difficult thing we struggle with these days is despondency, anger and frustration with our failed governments and politics.  How important it is for us as Christians to understand this mess that we have made for ourselves as sin.  How beautiful it is for us to be able to pray “Lord Come Quickly” to save us!  How precious it is for us to know that our Lord Jesus took the long hard road to Calvary and the cross to save horrendous sinners like we see ourselves to be in these evil days.  We are all in this together.  It is all our fault.  We pray “Lord have Mercy, Christ have Mercy, Lord have Mercy” for good reason.  We praise God that His “Kingdom of the Right” is not of this world.

May we truly bow our hearts to the Lord this Lent as we view the sinful terror of His crucifixion.  May we exalt in the victory over all sin in the glory of that same death and the power of His resurrection.  To God be all the Glory.

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