28 November 2011

Moving On From Election 2011

by Dr Mark Keown

So the election is over, the nation has spoken, National, with the help of a few friends, have another three years. As Christians who believe that governments are called by God and his servant (whether they realise it or not), we can accept this decision of the people knowing that God is in sovereign control.

This government is called by him for his purpose of leading this nation. We are called to serve under their lead faithfully (Rom 13:1–5). That said, we are also called to watch them closely, and call them to account when they stray. In that “the right” remains in control on God’s behalf, we need to especially watch that they ensure the care of the poor and marginalised.

Whatever our political leanings, we Christians have a prior “political calling.” We are citizens of the heavenly commonwealth (politeuma) (Phil 3:20). We are called to “live as citizens worthy of the gospel of Christ.” This is an appeal to the Philippians, who were proud Roman citizens, to prioritise heavenly citizenship as they lived out their lives in the Roman world. We are to do the same—our first call is allegiance to Jesus. Our sphere is this wonderful nation in which we are to serve our King and its government, to build this small part of God’s world.

While our national leader is John Key (God bless him), our ultimate leader is Jesus. We are Jesus’ servants. This call is not drudgery but it is the most honorific position in the universe. As Jesus’ servants, we are to renounce the use of corruption, deceit, violent force or other false attitudes to gain or wield power; rather, we are called to serve the king with the attitudes of the Kingdom—faith, hope, love, humility, service, goodness and so on.

The sphere in which we serve is one, but has a duality about it. First, we serve among God’s people the church, working with others to build communities that image the ideals of the Kingdom to a fallen world. Secondly, we serve in the “world” in two ways. We are to live out our image-bearing mandate to use creation’s resources to build human society while caring for God’s world—we go to work and do “human stuff.” This is in fact God’s stuff. Secondly, as we do this, we are also giving witness to the King, sharing Christ in attitude, action, prayer and word. So we are Christ’s ambassadors, each with a call and commission we are to live out, seeking to restore God’s world.

We Christians are not to sit back and rely on the government to do it all. The real work that will make this nation great is us rising up and being the people we are called to be, leading the nation from below in the building of strong families, churches that build people up and reflect God to the world, and witness and service in the wider community.

So, now that the dust is settling, let us make a fresh resolve as God’s people to stand tall in obedience to Christ, take our place in the glorious mission of God to restore his world, and work together for the King of the Universe, Jesus. This will involve in us submitting to the governing authorities, in this case National and its friends, for they are appointed by God for his purposes. But let us not stand back and expect that they will do it all. It is up to us to be salt and light.

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