Israel is God’s chosen nation. From Abram’s journey out of the city of Ur to his anointing as the patriarch of the Hebrew people, God hand picked the foundation of the nation he would personally guide throughout the centuries. From the land of Canaan into the wealth of Egypt, from the bonds of slavery back into the land overflowing with milk and honey, from the birth of the Jewish monarchy to the split and exile of the nation, God meticulously and painstakingly blessed, taught, judged, saved, restored, and sustained Israel.
It has become the unfortunate belief for many that America has taken its place as God’s chosen nation. Though this poor theology has not been declared directly, to my knowledge, by any notable church leaders, the current trends point to an implanted priority of the American nation in regards to matters of import in most church circles. Certainly, the copious amounts of false prophets ousting themselves as wolves (Matt. 7:15) in their incorrect prediction of the outcome of the 2020 presidential election should raise some alarms. Unfortunately, some sheep still fail to see the discarded sheep’s clothing, and I believe that this theological nationalism is to blame.
Regardless of how one feels about the current or past seat warmer in the Oval Office chair, it is surprising that supposed prophets were wasting their time at all with such trivial matters. Indeed, a quick glance throughout the New Testament reveals a lack of attention towards the political affairs of the world. What would it have mattered if Donald Trump won the presidential election? Had he not occupied the democratic throne for four years already? Did America turn from her wicked ways? Was God’s name proclaimed throughout the streets more than ever before? The harrowing answer brings doubt to whether or not the man would have accomplished much for the kingdom of God with an additional four years. Never mind the golden Trump statue in attendance at the CPAC conference held last week in Orlando, Florida.
The true answer resides in that phrase, “the kingdom of God”, for it is his kingdom we must first seek (Matt. 6:33) before we even attend to our own sustenance. The confusion between his kingdom and our kingdom is the true issue at the heart of the American church. Democratic freedom, the American dream, and the red, white, and blue have sept into the core of our faith and has warped our identity. The mere fact that the term “evangelical” has become political in nature is an indication of the idolatry that has captured the body of Christ and has warped its essence. How can we claim to seek first the kingdom of God if our social title invokes more the kingdom of man?
Israel is God’s chosen nation, yet even Israel misunderstood its own purpose. Even as Christ walked the earth, everyone from his closest friends to Satan himself tried to convince Jesus that nationalism was the method by which God could recapture his creation; however, Jesus did not see it fit to wrestle Israel free from Roman control. For it was not military dominance, cultural superiority, or intellectual advancement by which God bruised the head of the serpent. It was through Israel that one man, perfect and divine in nature, was born, was crucified, and was raised to life again. It was through Israel that Jesus Christ bridged the gap between God and man. It was through Jesus Christ that the veil was torn. Ultimately, it was through God’s chosen nation that he restored to himself his most beloved creation.
This good news, this gospel, is now the foundation of our new Christian nation. No constitution, no national flag can ever compete with the sovereignty of this word of truth implanted in our souls (James 1:21). This gospel grants us a citizenship of a different kind (Phillipians 3:20), capturing our loyalty away from any government or institution run by fallen man. Making America great was never our slogan. Indeed, the very emblem of the cross truly captures the sacrifice of following Christ. Our concern is not economics nor security. It is spirituality (Ephesians 6:12).
It is this spiritual battle being waged that should capture our undivided attention. We do not fight this war with swords or bullets. We fight with our spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1) and true Christian ritualism (James 1:27). Though we are encouraged to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2:13-20), even this exhortation is useful for the Missio Dei and the spread of the good news. The denarii bore the face of Cesar, and so we must render our taxes unto him (Mark 12:13-17). How much more do we owe God knowing that our very souls bear his image? We must offer up our lives to be used for God’s purposes. Acts of love and holiness are pure in the eyes of God, and undefiled before God is our love to the widow, the orphan, and those in need. Governmental authorities have no power over the kingdom of God, and whether we live under republic, monarchy, or dictatorship, our home will always be the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21). It is towards this blessed hope that we must commit our life long toils. America will pass away (Revelation 21:1), but the kingdom of God shall remain.
How then, shall we live? The famous question has circulated far and wide in response to the gospel’s truth. It is not nations that matter, for Ozymandius reminds us that even the greatest of these return to the dust of the earth. People, the souls of those nations, are the treasure of earth. They are the crux of creation and the prize for which Christ paid with his life (John 3:16). Nations themselves will rise and fall. Rome prospered in its vice and fell in its virtue. We cannot look to save America, for America by the nature of being created by man will be destroyed. Our investment must be in people, or we work for naught.
Ultimately, what happens in American politics is irrelevant. Even if the election was rigged, God appoints those he wishes to authority. Whether or not you like the idea, God wanted Joseph Biden to be the 46th president of the United States of America (Romans 13:1). Our identity as little Christs means that we, instead of loathing in disappointment, should rejoice in our God’s sovereignty over the works of man because regardless of what takes place on Capitol Hill, his will shall be done. If the church in America wants to thrive in its usefulness for the kingdom of God, she needs to move boldly away from the realm of politics and cast her complete faith in God’s ability to work beyond the realm of government. The body of Christ is given empowerment, not through any law or piece of legislation, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is by this empowerment and the authority of Christ Jesus that we must make disciples of these nations doomed to die, baptizing its people in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:18-20). Amen.