My kingdom is not of this world

Why are so many Christians today so concerned about politics and trying to reform government when Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18:36).

Why are so many Christians concerned about politics? Because it matters to God, and it should matter to us as well, whether the righteous or the wicked are in power. And it will matter to us if we have any regard for the glory of God and any love for our fellow man.

Solomon says in Proverbs 29:2, When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.

The people groan under the rule of the wicked because it is a burden to be governed by them. The bad example of their private lives and the folly and injustice of their rule are hard to bear.

We should be concerned about politics—about government—because government has to do with the ethics of a nation. The ethics of a nation are reflected in its laws and in the faithful administration of the laws. In the same way that the Lord blesses or curses a man according to whether he is righteous or wicked, so the Lord will bless or curse a nation according to whether its leaders are good or bad men.

In addition to this, the Bible teaches that we are to do good whenever it’s in our power to do so. Good government is something that good men will naturally desire to promote. Promoting it is one of the ways in which we serve our neighbor.

As for the saying of Jesus that his kingdom is not of this world, this should not be taken to mean that his kingdom does not exist in this world or that his kingdom is not concerned with the things of this world. As Abraham Kuyper has said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’ ”

Indeed, Jesus himself said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18). Did you notice that he said, “In heaven and on earth”? All authority on earth belongs to Jesus Christ. It was given to him by our Father in heaven. Those who hold positions of authority have that authority on loan from Christ our King. They have a delegated authority. And they are to exercise the authority that has been given to them in a manner consistent with his will. If they do not, they are in rebellion against their rightful sovereign, and they will have to answer to him for it.

When Jesus says that his kingdom is not of this world, he is talking about its point of origin. He says it is not of this world, meaning that it does not originate here. Jesus did not receive his authority from men or from any human institution—as Pilate did (the man to whom Jesus was speaking when he made this statement). Jesus’ kingdom originates in heaven with God. But having said this, we must be quick to add that this does not mean that his kingdom does not exist here in this world. It most certainly does. And it is the duty of every Christian, as faithful citizens and ambassadors of Christ’s kingdom, to bring kingdom principles to bear upon their participation in civic affairs. At a minimum this means (under our form of government) that we vote, and that we vote for the candidate that most consistently reflects biblical principles in his personal life and in his public policies. Beyond this, as God enables, we should also give financial support and otherwise campaign for good candidates. Political action is not the whole of kingdom work, but it certainly is part of it, and I would argue that under our form of government where we are given the right to choose our leaders, it’s a very important part.

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