Laws for a Christian Nation
Jan 12, 2007
Every kingdom that rules imperfect men must have laws to set a standard of righteousness, to arbitrate disputes between men, and to maintain justice when men have been wronged. Of course, when men are perfect, there is no need for the law, because all the principles of God's character are then in men's hearts and form their very nature. Thus, Paul writes in 1 Tim. 1:8-10,
"But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching."
The purpose of the law is to impose upon sinners a way of life that is actually contrary to much that is in their hearts. It is to restrain or regulate their behavior until the time comes when the law is written on their hearts. At that point, the law imposed upon them by legislation from outside will no longer be necessary, for it is now lodged in their hearts and they are righteous by nature.
This does not mean that the law has the power to make anyone righteous. No, it is a temporary restraining order until the Holy Spirit makes all men righteous. The law is weak in this regard. It can make no man righteous, because it works from the outside. When a sinner is forced by law to act in a righteous manner, without a corresponding work in his heart by means of the Holy Spirit, he is a mere hypocrite. When he thinks that he can get away with a sin, with no lawful consequences, he will do so.
A true Spirit-filled Christian becomes increasingly evident when the fruit of the Spirit shows forth in his or her life. The basic root of this is that the Spirit-filled Christian is one who is in agreement with God and His righteous law. If God were to remove the law and its consequences, a Spirit-filled Christian would act no differently, because the law has become part of his inner nature.
When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, we saw pictures of people and even the police officers looting the stores. It is a good example of how a breakdown in law and order can bring to the surface the spirit of thievery resident in men's hearts. True Christians, on the other hand, did not participate in that looting, because they were led by the Holy Spirit, not by the spirit of thievery. The true Christians did not need any external laws to tell them not to steal, for that law was already part of their nature.
External laws imposed from the outside are important in a world of sinners. That is why Jesus did not abolish the Law (Matt. 5:17), but wrote it upon our hearts. This is the main difference between the Old and New Covenants. By the Old Covenant, men vow obedience to a righteous law imposed upon them from the outside, as we read in Exodus 19:8. But by the New Covenant, God writes His law upon our hearts (Heb. 8:10).
This is well illustrated in our children as well. Children need laws (house rules) to teach them righteous behavior and justice toward their siblings. If they grow up continually disagreeing with these laws, they will remain hypocrites until they become adults. Then they will throw off those rules and live a life of crime. But if the external laws have become internalized, they will become good citizens.
The Old and New Covenants represent two different methods of making men righteous. Only the second method actually works. But this does not mean the Old Covenant is evil. In fact, it is the method by which we train our children until they become adults and can live according to the New Covenant. So it is with spiritual growth and development.
A Christian Nation is one which recognizes God as sovereign over the nation. In effect, it establishes the First Commandment as the law of the land--"You will have no other gods before Me." But the reason a Christian Nation needs such a law is because many (if not most) if its citizens do not want the God of the Bible as their sovereign. They prefer sin. They think that their own standard of righteousness is better. They want "sexual freedom," not realizing that this actually leads to national destruction. They want the right to commit adultery without consequences, as we see today in America. They want the right to murder the unborn, if they are inconvenient. They want the right to torture their "enemies." They want the right to have a banking system that charges usury.
This is why a Christian Nation needs laws by which to govern. But if the citizens continue to disagree with those laws, the nation cannot be sustained. This is why America is a Christian Nation in name only (as established by the Declaration of Independence and the later Supreme Court rulings). The Church was first to pick and choose which of God's laws they wanted to follow. Too many said that His law was bad, evil, vengeful, and even "of the devil." And so they taught Christians that the divine law was not actually righteous.
Then they had the nerve to judge the unbelievers for wanting to reject God's sovereignty, to legalize abortion, and to grant the people full sexual freedom. God will hold the Church more responsible than the unbelievers, for we are judged according to our level of accountability (Luke 12:48).
A Christian Nation functions essentially on the principle of the Old Covenant, because not everyone is a believer, many believers are not Spirit-filled, and many Spirit-filled believers are still in disagreement with God in some areas of their lives. A Christian Nation must impose righteousness through laws upon the people to coerce them into acting righteously toward their neighbors. Such a Nation has no other choice prior to the day when all will know Him from the least to the greatest. Until this heart problem has been resolved among all citizens, the Christian Nation will not be the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God functions according to the New Covenant. It needs no (external) laws, because the people are the manifestation of the mind of God and need no one to teach them righteousness (Heb. 8:11).
This is the essential difference between a Christian Nation and the Kingdom of God.
All the beast nations from ancient Babylon to modern Mystery Babylon have proclaimed in some way that God is sovereign. The Supreme Court under Mystery Babylon did so as late as the early 1960's. Yet none of these nations have truly been the Kingdom of God, the Stone Kingdom of Daniel's prophecy. They were all Christian Nations having unrighteous citizens who were not taught the laws of God. And so the declaration of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4 and that of Darius in Daniel 6 were unsustainable. Alexander's recognition of God was unsustainable. Rome's declaration was unsustainable. Papal Rome's declaration was unsustainable. America's declaration was unsustainable.
God has thus judged all the beast nations of the past, transferring authority from one to another, because they or their successors did not fulfill their own decrees that obligated them to rule according to God's just laws.
But there is now arising that final Stone Kingdom, small at first, that will smash the feet of this image and then grow until it fills the whole earth. It will begin with the relatively small group of overcomers from the present and from ages past. In the Tabernacles Age to come, many nations will declare Jesus to be their King, and they will become Christian Nations. The overcomers will assist them as administrators of the Kingdom of God, so that these citizens can come into the Kingdom of God in the next resurrection at the end of the age.
Dr. Stephen Jones