God, Government, and Eternity

I do a lot of political commentary in this blog. I also write a lot about the role of civil government. As I do, my goal has always been to point to the Biblical principles that undergird my thinking. After all, the name of this blog is Pondering Principles: Reflections on God, Man, and Life. Therefore, I try to offer my comments within that context.

This makes my ponderings different than the typical political commentator. And I know some of you read these musings without the background of a Biblical framework for thinking and/or no personal relationship with the One who made us all. I welcome your readership. Yet you must keep in mind that my starting place for reflecting on politics and government will be distinctly Christian. I actually believe the Bible is the Word of God, that it contains truth that is applicable not only to a personal knowledge of God, but also to every aspect of His creation.

Government is one of His creations.

I’m currently reading a book by Randy Alcorn with a very simple title: Heaven. Yes, I do believe there is a literal heaven, and I agree with Alcorn’s concept that there will be a renewed earth—the New Earth—after Christ returns, and that those who have linked themselves to Him will rule and reign in an eternal sphere.

As Alcorn discusses the nature of this New Earth, he highlights principles that apply on the Old Earth as well, particularly in the area of governance. Stay with me as I share some of his comments that I found especially insightful:

We’ve been conditioned to associate governing with self-promoting arrogance, corruption, inequality, and inefficiency. But these are perversions, not inherent properties of leadership. Ruling involves responsibility—perhaps that’s why some people don’t look forward to it. Some people live in anticipation of retirement, when responsibilities will be removed. Why would they want to take on an eternal task of governing?

He then wants us to refashion our concept of taking on governing responsibilities:

Imagine responsibility, service, and leadership that’s pure joy. The responsibility that God will entrust to us as a reward can only be good for us, and we’ll find delight in it. To rule on the New Earth will be to enable, equip, and guide, offering wisdom and encouragement to those under our authority. We’ve so often seen leadership twisted that we’ve lost a biblical view of what ruling, or exercising dominion, really means. God, ruler of the universe, is living proof that ruling can and should be good.

And what of this concept of leadership? What kind of leader is God seeking, whether here on earth or in eternity?

Some of the most qualified people to lead in Heaven will be those who don’t want to lead now. Some who are natural leaders here but have not been faithful will not be leaders in Heaven. Remember, it’s not the proud and confident who will inherit the earth and rule it; it’s the meek. And even the meek will be stripped of their wrong motives and the temptation to exploit others. We’ll have no more skepticism and disillusionment about government. Why? Because we’ll be governed by Christlike rulers, and all of us will be under the grand and gracious government of Christ himself.

So what does this mean about politics on the earth on which we currently reside?

Some Christians err by demeaning and ignoring politics, thereby failing to exercise their God-given stewardship. Others put too much confidence in politics, failing to understand God’s insistence the he alone will establish a perfect government on Earth. … Meanwhile, God calls us to cultural reform and development. Christians should be involved in the political process, and we can do much good, but we should never forget that the only government that will succeed in global reform is Christ’s government.

These comments explain my perspective also. God wants us to work diligently to set up as good a government as possible, yet always with the recognition that perfection will not be achieved in this world at this time. We are to make this world as much a reflection of its Creator as we can, while simultaneously acknowledging that there will be limitations on our efforts. Our endeavors now are just the first steps toward what will become reality in eternity.

My interest in politics and government springs from the basic belief that God is interested in them, too. Everything I say or do in this realm should be an attempt to bring a little more of His life and character into political practices and government policy.

That’s what inspires me to keep writing and teaching.