God’s Governmental Institutions
Now, let’s go back to the Fall. What did man lose at the Fall? Did he lose Heaven? While the Garden could be described as Heaven on Earth, the real loss was his governmental authority. He lost dominion. Dominion is a governmental term. Now, there is a difference between governmental and political. The very fact that many have confused these two terms has resulted in much heartache and misunderstanding.
Governmental means the flow of power and force. Governmental has to do with how God’s Word is dispensed through society. There are many different kinds of government, including self-government, home government, church government, community government, county government, state government—all before we get to federal civil government.
Today, when we use the word government, people automatically think big federal/civil government and think of it as being the only form of government. This thinking clouds the conclusions that a person can draw about God’s plan for government.
Government is different from political in that political is, at it’s best, the practical way of working out the principles of government. Politics is not the answer. Politics is a method. The governmental problems of our day are spiritual problems in need of spiritual solutions. You cannot solve a spiritual problem with a political solution.
Before you get too down on the people who have tried to use politics to solve our cultural problems, remember that theologians have not done too great of a job either. It used to be that the sign of an educated person was that they took complicated concepts and made them simple so everyone could understand. Today, it seems to be the goal to take simple things and make them complicated.
This Kingdom is transformational in the hearts and minds of all who allow the Holy Spirit to teach them. It allows the believer to be in the world but not of the world. It allows the Kingdom citizen to be the best at his work, serve his community through public service and elected office and allows him to love his neighbor. It is an attitude that serves its way to dominion. Not by force, but love. Not by external power but through the power of the Holy Spirit.
When you think about it, what were the groups that Jesus was in trouble with all the time? The scribes, Pharisees, and lawyers are the only groups that Jesus said, “Woe” to—meaning you are in real trouble. Why was Jesus in trouble with them? More importantly, why were they in trouble with Jesus?
The Pharisees could have understood if Jesus came to establish an alternative religion. They would not have liked it, but they could have understood if Jesus came to reform their religion (which He did not). But, they could not get this Kingdom Jesus talked about because it did not have the external trappings of religion that they considered normal. The lawyers saw Jesus as a threat because they were in charge of the laws of their government and the idea that another King and government was going to overthrow their power was unconscionable to them.
This non-earthly, internal Kingdom was out of their frame of reference, and the reason it has been so greatly ignored as the solution to our cultural dilemmas is because it is outside of our frame of reference. This might be hard for many of you to take, but Jesus did not come to form a religion, He came to establish a Kingdom.
Jesus did not tell people to preach Jesus. Rather, Jesus told them to preach the Kingdom. If we are to teach the Kingdom, then the Kingdom must have answers that we need.