Sunday, April 24, 2011

Suffering and the Kingdom (3) - Politics and War

Political power cannot defeat evil.

  • When Christians rely on political power, the Holy Spirit flees.
  • When we use coercion against evil, God is squeezed out.
  • Whenever we resist evil by with force, anger and hatred are empowered.
When the Christians takes up the cross follows Jesus, the Holy Spirit is released, and he is able to defeat the principalities and powers will be defeated.

The Kingdom of God will be established by the Holy Spirit working through the church. Unfortunately, he has been hamstrung by our tendency to rely political power to deal with evil.

When we fight evil with violence and war, the Holy Spirit retreats. This creates a vacuum that is filled by evil spiritual forces. The kingdom of God cannot be established by war, because when war starts, the Holy Spirit withdraws and the principalities and powers move in. This is why war invariably makes the situation worse, even if the cause appears to be good. Evil wins, because the Holy Spirit has to withdraw.

In the struggle between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Darkness, the Holy Spirit will always be the winner, if he he has freedom to move. When the church commits to suffering in the face of evil, the principalities and powers will be defeated.

Service is the key to the Kingdom. It often leads to suffering. Suffering releases the Holy Spirit, allowing him to achieve victory.

Christians often misunderstand the Holy Spirit. We have these false assumptions.
  • We must resist evil, or be overcome by evil.
  • Violence must be destroyed, before it destroys us.
  • If we do not defend our way of life, we will be forced to surrender our faith.
  • We must use force against those who hate the gospel, or it might be lost.
  • We must defeat those who would harm us, before they destroy.
At the physical level, these statements appear to be true. Violent people often harm good people. Evil nations sometimes invade peaceful nations. However, this is only half the picture.

When the spiritual dimension is taken into account the shape of the struggle is different. First of all, Christians have eternal life, so they cannot be destroyed by evil. More importantly, what happens in the spiritual dimension determines who gets victory on earth. When Christians use force and political power, the Holy Spirit is constrained. When Christians choose love, compassion and service, the power of the Holy Spirit is released.

Giving the Holy Spirit freedom to act is the key to the victory of the Kingdom. Anything that restrains the Holy Spirit holds back the kingdom of God. Using force to protect lives or to protect our nation, may make sense at the physical level, but it hinders the coming of the Kingdom of God. Before the Kingdom can be established, God will have to shake our faith in human power, and teach us to trust the Holy Spirit. Given the immensity of his power, any other course of action is foolish.

We must trust the cross. Jesus went to the cross to defeat the principalities, abolish the political powers and establish the kingdom of Gods. We must follow his example. The Kingdom comes when we take up the cross and follow Jesus.

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