Human Governments  and God's Government  
Taken from The Inadequacy of Law by Steve Bray

The fallen world needs a system of laws to maintain some degree of order. People who still live by their own will {self-will - the essence of all sin} need something to restrain their selfish nature. God has therefore provided law, along with human governments, to restrain the evil that naturally rises out of people who live for themselves. "Knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person {those who walk by the Spirit in holy love}, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners." (1 Tim 1: 9) In other words, the law is needed to restrain people who are still living by the flesh.

Written laws are needed until Christ is able to establish His heavenly Kingdom-life of perfect love within the heart. Once the heart has become "one" with God in His life of love, there is a new divine nature that naturally fulfills His spiritual and moral laws. (Rom. 13: 10) The anointing with the Holy Spirit teaches the believer everything he needs to know to remain in an abiding relationship with Christ's heavenly life. (1 John 2: 27) It is the Presence of Christ that actually produces the new life of "true righteousness and holiness." (Eph. 4: 24) "But if you are led by the Spirit {and living under His anointing}, you are not under law." (Gal. 5: 18) "He will guide you into all truth." (John 16: 13) "For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth."

God will one day do away with the human governments He has used to maintain order in a carnal world. These human means are incapable of producing the perfect order that is required in God's heavenly kingdom. The only governmental system that can produce perfect order is Christ's Kingdom-life, which needs to be established within the heart. (John 17: 22-23) Once He is reigning without rival on His throne within the heart, His "rivers" of heavenly life will flow from under the throne and well up into a constant supply of "righteousness {perfect love} and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Rev. 22: 1)

Many Christians, because they are still living by law, have a natural tendency to place their hope in human governments. They assume that better laws will make sinners into better people. And while these laws can be used to help restrain some forms of sin, these efforts do not change the inner nature of man. Turning people away from certain sinful actions and even leading them to live by high moral standards, does not produce the eternal Kingdom-life within the heart. It actually misleads them into thinking they are righteous. And yet, because they are not walking by the Spirit, they remain "sinners" on their way to hell. (Rom. 8: 13-14) As we have previously said, even if there is a tendency to still show partiality, it reveals a fallen nature that will continue to break the foundational laws of the kingdom of God. (Jam. 2: 8-10) Full salvation entails changing the inward nature.

Because the people of the world are spiritually dead and laws themselves are unable to change their inner nature, Jesus specifically sent His disciples into the world to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God. Only when His Kingdom-life has been fully established within the heart can a person live as God truly requires.

Jesus came...preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand." (Mark 1: 14-15)

The law and the prophets {the means for constraining sin by written laws} were until John {the Baptist}. Since that time {since the end of the Old Testament dispensation} the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. (Luke 16: 16)

Let the dead {those who follow the systems of this world} bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God. (Luke 9: 60)

There arises another Priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life... For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect {in holy love}... (Heb. 7: 15-19)

Therefore you shall be perfect {in holy love}, just as your Father is perfect. (Matt. 5: 48)

And the glory {the life of perfect love} which You {the Father} gave Me {the Son} I have given them, that they may be one {living as one in the Kingdom-life of holy love} just as We are one {in life and nature}: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one...that the love with which You loved me {perfect love} may be in them, and I in them. (John 17: 22-23, 26)

Even the American government, which did incorporate some godly principles within its constitution, is totally incapable of spreading the true kingdom of God. Even if it had adopted every moral law of the Old Testament, it would still need to be destroyed when Christ comes to establish His kingdom in the world. Its foundation, and the resulting structure, has been wrong from the very beginning.

There are also religions such as the Muslim religion which have incorporated laws from God's word. But because they are also mixed with other beliefs that are in conflict with God's perfect law of love, they remain in conflict with God. Even the best system of laws cannot produce the way of life in God's kingdom. While there is nothing wrong with the godly laws these various systems incorporate to correct human behavior, they do not result in a manifestation of Christ's eternal Kingdom-life.

The American government has never emphasized the "gospel of the kingdom of God." It knows nothing of the righteousness that comes from God by faith. Instead of teaching people to deny themselves and lose their "psuche" life so they may find Christ's "zoe" life in the heavenly realms, it encourages people to pursue happiness by developing a worldly form of life. It is therefore in direct conflict with God's truth. It also promotes universalism by giving approval to many different religions. Jesus clearly spoke of being the only way into eternal life with the Father. But the American government has never insisted that Christ is the only way. Like the government that Paul confronted in Athens, the American government has legalized the worship of many different gods.

At this point we should also note that God requires His children to remain submissive to government leaders. That is, they are to remain submissive up to the point where it would lead to a separation from the "light of life" found in God's kingdom. We have a duty to obey the laws of the land wherever God has placed us. "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Matt. 22: 21)

We also need to come to grips with the fact that God places some of His children in lands that have governments that are quite different than the democracy found in America. And if our form of Christianity only fits in America, it is not real Christianity. The teachings of Christ fit in with every government, even if they are as wrong as the Roman government in the time of Christ or the Japanese government of World War Two. Of course, while we remain submissive, we never attach our loyalty to these corrupt human governments.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. (Rom. 13: 1-2)

Some Christians can expect to be placed under governments that are much more corrupt than others. But it is irrelevant. As we live as pilgrims and strangers in this world, we can still show forth the glory of God wherever we live. If we are placed within a country that is very corrupt, there is still a need to show forth the light of God and draw poor lost sinners into His eternal Kingdom-life before it is too late. In fact, the more severe the circumstances and the greater the persecution, the more clearly Christ's eternal Kingdom-life can be revealed in our daily walk. It was after the Centurion had witnessed all that Christ went through on His way to the cross that this member of the Roman government began to recognize the light of eternal life in Him. Similarly, the first century church was most effective in the work of spreading the true gospel of the kingdom of God when persecution was the greatest.

While submitting to the laws of this world, let us also remember that we cannot "serve" two masters. (Matt. 6: 24) Jesus was very specific about this truth. There are only two basic systems of government. Since the governments of this world are in basic conflict with life in the kingdom of God, Christ will soon destroy them. We therefore need to choose today which one we will serve. Since God expects to receive "all" glory, we must avoid becoming involved in an idolatrous worship of human governments.

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight... But now My kingdom is not from here. (John 18: 36)

And in the days of these kings {these human governments} the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. (Dan. 2: 44)

Christ comes to "break in pieces and consume" every other loyalty when He truly establishes His undivided kingdom within the heart. God becomes "all in all" wherever He reigns without rival. This is the true "heart purity" that makes it possible to consistently know the conscious presence of Christ's Kingdom-life within the soul. "Blessed are the pure in heart {who have allowed Christ to "break in pieces and consume" every other loyalty}, for they shall see God {as an inner revelation of holy love}." (Matt. 5: 8)

Most Christians have not yet come to personally "know" this inward kingdom of God within the heart. That is why they still become so emotionally excited over human governments. We can even find them exalting these governments in the very worship services that should be exclusively devoted to God, who is the "all in all." (1 Cor. 15:28)

Much to God's displeasure, His called-out people have always had a desire to have some other king over them. He has granted their requests because there is a need for some form of government to control their self-willed and self-originated way of life. But we are now living in the age of fulfillment when we need to permit Him to establish His undivided kingdom within our heart before it is too late. His reigning Presence will make the heart pure. And true"heart purity" does away with all other loyalties.

We are not implying that it would be disloyal to Christ to have employment within a human government or to even make use of these human governments. We are to live and work in the world, and we are to show due respect to the employers and the governments that have authority over us. Again, we are expected to pray for these leaders, even when they are evil, and be submissive to their laws that do not cause us to sin.

What we need to realize is that we are ambassadors of Christ in a foreign land. While we must honor the laws of the land, our one true citizenship is in the eternal kingdom of God. Our only purpose for remaining here is to represent Christ and to turn individual souls from the kingdoms of this world to His eternal kingdom before their souls are lost forever. It is because these governments are functioning "according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air" that they will eventually need to be destroyed. (Eph. 2: 2) While they have been appointed by God as a means to restrain the worst outbreaks of human selfishness, they still remain under the sway of the devil. Let us therefore choose to die to the world and find our life from Christ alone.

We know that we are of God {because we have overcome this world}, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. (1 John 5: 19)

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern {example}. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ {because they refuse to die to the world and its self-originated form of life}...who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven... (Phil. 3: 17-19)

If then you were raised with Christ {had your citizenship changed}, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, at the right hand of God {on His throne in His heavenly Kingdom}. Set your mind on things above {where Christ reigns}, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3: 1-3)

Where is your citizenship? Worldly governments are for the spiritually dead. That is why we need to overcome the world and find the eternal Kingdom-life before leaving this world. The spiritually dead, who still have their loyalty to the governments of a foreign {this} world, cannot enter into the eternal kingdom of God.

Christ's governmental system is far above the systems of this world. In fact, it is so strange to earthly thought processes that no one could understand what Jesus was speaking about when He first came to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God. Even His first disciples remained confused during their three years of intensive instruction. We also find them still confused after His resurrection and an additional forty days of instruction with the Spirit dwelling within them. (John 20: 21-22; Acts 1: 3, 6) It was not until He had established His Kingdom-life within their hearts on the Day of Pentecost that they could begin to understand what it was all about. And it is for this same reason that people of the world will not fully understand us when we begin telling them about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him {since we have our citizenship in another world}... And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3: 1, 3)

All human governments naturally create division. It is not possible for all Christians to be "perfect in one" while loyalties to human governments exist within their heart. (John 17: 22-23) The people of various countries will have their differing opinions about who has the best government. These various opinions and earthly loyalties naturally lead to "envy, strife and divisions."And because it results in "partiality," it also results in a breaking of the fundamental laws of the kingdom of God. (Jam. 2: 9-10) It reveals how the people are still living like "mere men" under the power of a carnal nature. (1 Cor. 3:3)"For there is no partiality with God." (Rom. 2: 11)

We also acknowledge that Christ Himself has come to cause a division between light and darkness. He intends to separate people from this world system and draw them into His eternal kingdom where everyone becomes perfect in one. But He cannot do this while people remain attached to the ways of this world.

Nothing reveals this carnality more than patriotism. If a member of another government finds himself in the middle of a lustful call to patriotism, which is a gross display of "partiality," he will inevitably sense that he is no longer "one" with the group even if it takes place in a church setting! May God help everyone to see how feeding the "psuche" life on the evil food of partiality strengthens the "pride of life."

The God-given truth that has been incorporated into laws will never pass away. However, the way of living by law, including the Old Testament governmental system must pass away before it is possible to find the heavenly life that makes everyone "perfect in one." The presence of this Kingdom-life within our eternal soul is our only hope for revealing the true glory of God, and proving to the world that Christ is the one and only true Savior.

For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect. (Heb. 7: 18-19)

And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one {sharing in the same Kingdom-life of holy love}, and that the world may know that You have sent Me {as the true Messiah who has the power to set people free from the world's with all of its self-sufficient and independent ways, the flesh - with all of its opinions and self-seeking ways, and the devil - and all of his lies}... (John 17: 22-23)