This past week I had a conversation with an acquaintance and it became very clear that we were on different sides of the track about political matters. As I thought about our conversation during the day the reason became obvious to me why there is a divide in this country.
On the one side of the argument there is the pragmatist, whose worldview demands that if a thing achieves the desired results that he wants – the thing is good. This is another form of the end justifies the means. For the pragmatist socialism is a good thing because it works; the poor are cared for, the elderly are looked after, and the disabled have their needs met. The pragmatist sees politics through the lens that if it helps it is good.
On the other side there is the moralist, this person’s worldview is dictated by the need to be right, therefore a thing is good when a thing is right. To the moralist, when a thief takes a person’s money and gives it to a another person in need, it is still stealing. The moralist sees politics through the lens that if a thing is wrong it is bad – no matter who is helped by it.
IN A PERFECT WORLD
In the perfect world that is yet to come people will trust God for all their needs, and because of their perfect trust in God every need will be viewed as entirely met by Him. In this present life people who have a heart transformed by the Holy Spirit meet the needs of people as occasion arises, and this they do out of the goodness of their new heart and for the glory of God. Such was the case when hundreds of people went south to help those victimized by hurricane Katrina; they gave of their time, money, and resources out of the goodness of their heart. The one thing that Christ does not do is force people to do things they really don’t want to do, instead He makes them want to do good things, and this they do because of the sacrifice Christ made on a little hill outside of Jerusalem.
For hundreds of years the “Church” in Europe became very confused about its mission. Whole countries became “Christian” and the church ruled over the whole of the populous. Such a condition is completely foreign to the Scriptures; the gospel is meant to be preached to the whole world, which means each and every individual, no matter how they recon themselves by race, culture, or national origin. There is no such thing as a Christian nation! Therefore, government cannot play the role of the God by making people do good, it can only set the standard of right and wrong, and enforce the standard by a proper punishment. This is the reason God instituted government.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment ” (Romans 13:1, 2)
One of the ways God restrains evil in a fallen world is through government. The Christian is to recognize government as an institution appointed by God, and therefore he obeys them as unto the Lord in all things that are God honoring. Nowhere in scripture is the government meant to replace the Church. When the government takes from some people and gives to others, it is not functioning as God ordained. The good that results from helping the poor is good, but it is not right, and neither is it the role of government. Sacrificial love is a Christian virtue, it can reside in the heart of the unconverted but not for the glory of God. When the Christian acts for the glory of God he first does what is loving, and then he also does what is right. It is never right to take what belongs to one person and give it to another – not even by government.
In America we are so steeped in government programs that help people by taking money from one person and giving to another that it is almost impossible to explain that it is not right. Why? Because good is the result. Some will say, ‘How will these people be cared for?’ To which I would reply, ‘by the generosity of others.’ Some will reply, ‘but that will never happen.’ To which I will reply, ‘then the government is not doing the will of the people.’ It is all too easy to sit in government and help the hurting with other people’s money. Government programs project a false sense of goodness among the American people. That is not to say that no Americans give of themselves and their money to help others, because they do. However, would the hurting be helped to the extent they are if their were no government programs? I do not know. What I do know is that only when people are helped by others voluntarily and not under compulsion is it a true measure good will.
Like so many things in our present world, things are not what they appear to be. America is not a Christian nation, all people are not born inherently good, and government is not doing the will of God by using tax dollars to help the hurting. In the fictitious story Robin Hood the hero did not rob from the rich and give to the poor, he stole from the government that over taxed the people and returned it to them again. Jesus said, “For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me” (Matthew 26:11). Just as sure as Jesus departed out of this world, so also is He absent from those who do good with no regard for the law of God, which says, “You shall not steal.”