Church And State Revisited: 3
© 05.28.12 By D. Eric Williams
This article appeared in the May 31 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
America's medicament is not found in personal piety, perky programs or progressive politics but in obedience to the reigning Lord of the universe. Although Jesus gave this final directive to his apostles we recognize that every Christian has a duty to embrace the great commission as their own. Therefore, the first thing Believers must do is proclaim all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus. The Bible tells us that the kingdom of God was established by Jesus Christ during his first advent. The Bible reassures us that our Lord's kingdom is everlasting. Our duty is to believe and live this truth.
Secondly we must make disciples. All people must be told they are sinners in need of forgiveness. Everyone must be invited to confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead. Yet, we must tell them that salvation is more than forgiveness of sins and the hope of a heavenly reward; salvation is about living in resurrection power and manifesting the Lordship of Christ in every corner of our existence. To disciple nations means to teach them to follow the precepts and instructions of the Lord. Clearly this is not limited to the few specific commands of Jesus recorded in the New Testament. Jesus the Eternal Son is the Word made flesh and all of God's word is necessary for discipling nations. The entirety of God's will is summed up in the commands to love God and our neighbor but apart from God's law we have no idea how to do so.
Furthermore, we are enjoined to baptize converts in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Every disciple of Jesus must receive the visible sign of the covenant. Once they have received the covenant sign, they are obligated to the covenant stipulations - and it is essential they are told so. They must be assured that they will be blessed for covenant obedience just as they will be cursed for apostasy.
Finally, Jesus instructs us to teach new covenant members to obey all that he commanded. In a sense this is a repetition of the commission to make disciples. After all, a disciple is someone who follows the rules and directions of the master. Yet the need for obedience as an affirmation of the new birth is so important, Jesus saw fit to elaborate on the command to make disciples. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in (Ephesians 2:10). This is impossible apart from knowledge of God's law.
There is no overnight solution to our nation's ills but that should not dissuade us from taking the first steps in the right direction. No doubt, we hope this nation will one day be governed by godly leaders who understand they answer to Jesus Christ for their performance as civil servants. Certainly we look forward to a time when our nation has returned to its godly foundation. Yet that journey begins with individuals living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and laboring to bring their arena of activity into Christ's kingdom - no matter what that arena might be. This is a simple, biblical concept but it is a concept often rejected by the church. We will not have even begun our journey until this changes.