How should the Christian respond to proposed government legislation that undermines the fundamentals of biblical truth?


The questioner probably has in mind laws that would undermine marriage or the distinction between male and female—but the principles of the Christian’s response remain essentially the same whatever the proposed legislation.

   While every believer relies on Christ’s work on the cross as the basis of his future hope, not every believer sees what that cross means for his walk here now: “But far be it from me to boast save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom [the] world is crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6: 14, my emphasis). What is meant by the world? Everything here that fallen man has established. The germ of it was seen in Cain building a city (see Gen. 4: 17)—setting up a system of things in independence of God. Faith, by contrast, waits “for the city which has foundations, of which God is [the] artificer and constructor” (Heb. 11: 10, my emphasis; see Heb. 13: 14). Of course, the world contains both good and bad things, but all is ruined by the fact that it has no place for Christ. Yes, it may, on occasion, use His name, or even His words, but in terms of place, it only has a cross for Him. For the one who loves Christ, His place must also be my place and therefore, “[the] world is crucified” to the believer, and the believer is crucified “to the world” (Gal. 6: 14). If I am true to my faith, I have finished with the world, and the world has finished with me.

   Fundamentally, the Christian does not belong here. The Lord Jesus told his disciples that “If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, on account of this the world hates you” (John 15: 19). This is more than the bare fact that one day the believer will be in heaven—it means that he is of heaven now. His citizenship has changed—not will change but has changed already. Yes, he is still “in the world” (John 17: 11), but he is “not of the world” (v16), for his “commonwealth” (politeuma) “has its existence in [the] heavens” (Phil. 3: 20)—politeuma in this context meaning that his associations of life are now in heaven. He is now a heavenly man.

   The believer is not currently living where He properly belongs. His relationship to this world is that of a stranger and sojourner on the earth (see Heb. 11: 13)—neither belonging here, nor staying here. He is an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5: 20)—living in a foreign land as the representative of the sovereign of another country. He is subject to the laws of the land in which he finds himself, but he has no business involving himself in questions of which laws should or should not be in place. Should those laws impact on him in a negative way, then he looks to his absent Lord for strength to pass through the trial. He is a subject of this world, but not a citizen.

   We never read in the book of Acts or in the epistles of believers publicly agitating for changes in the law, let alone applying to the Roman legislature to try and bring about moral change in society (even though at least one of their number was a lawyer—see Tit. 3: 13). This is despite the fact that, in moral terms, the Greco-Roman world was not dissimilar to today. Certainly, the preaching of Christians may have had a moral effect on society (see Acts 17: 6; 19: 19 etc.) but they saw God’s business as delivering men out of the present evil world (see Gal. 1: 4) rather seeking to modify or change it. Conditions for Christians might be benign, or they might be oppressive, but they simply accepted the conditions as they were, and were content in them (see Phil. 4: 11, 12). Political or legal avenues of change were unused by them, not only because such means are the means of the world, but because they desired soul change not societal improvement.

   Should we not pray about the moral conditions around us—perhaps even pray that laws might be changed or prevented? The apostle exhorted Timothy that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made for all men; for kings and all that are in dignity, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all piety and gravity” (1 Tim. 2: 1-2). The prayers here are about people, not laws or morality, and the intention, as praying in the will of God, is that “all men should be saved and come to [the] knowledge of [the] truth” (v4). The change desired is in people and not in the moral order. We should pray about the interests of Christ, and the interests of Christ are served by the light of God in souls. If we pray in that way, then God may indeed grant us peace and tranquillity in our lives here through rulers that are congenial to Christianity—but we pray for them, not for moral change in society.

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