The Pen

The Fine Line Between Faith and Politics, Part 2

Protestant Reformer, John Calvin, effectively summarizes our scriptural gauge and righteous place in a hostile world. The moral law is our compass:

…let us take a succinct view of the office and use of the Moral Law...this office and use consist of three parts.

God’s law serves multiple functions in the lives of not only the sincere believer but also the estranged rebel who, skepticism notwithstanding, is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God:

First, by exhibiting the righteousness of God..the righteousness which alone is acceptable to God admonishes every one of his own unrighteousness… This is necessary, in order that man, who is blind and intoxicated with self-love, may be brought at once to know and to confess his weakness and impurity…

God alone is perfect. We can only be made perfect through the blood of his only begotten son. We could never be made righteous through the works of the law. We are only justified via the finished work of Jesus Christ. His death, resurrection and ascension into heaven provides a path. He is our grace and deliverance from sin.

The second office of the Law is, by means of its fearful denunciations and the consequent dread of punishment, to curb those who, unless forced, have no regard for rectitude and justice… this forced and extorted righteousness is necessary for the good of society, its peace being secured by a provision but for which all things would be thrown into tumult and confusion.

Perverted justice and tainted laws become all too commonplace in today’s society. Nobody is above God’s law and His holy standard. Sooner or later we will be found out. Those who promote anarchy and rebellion against God and man will not stand on that last day. Divine justice and retribution will ultimately rain down against they who remain indignant and estranged.

The third use of the Law (being also the principal use, and more closely connected with its proper end) has respect to believers in whose hearts the Spirit of God already flourishes and reigns. …For it is the best instrument for enabling them daily to learn with greater truth and certainty what that will of the Lord is which they aspire to follow, and to confirm them in this knowledge; just as a servant who desires with all his soul to approve himself to his master, must still observe, and be careful to ascertain his master’s dispositions, that he may comport himself in accommodation to them. Let none of us deem ourselves exempt from this necessity, for none have as yet attained to such a degree of wisdom, as that they may not, by the daily instruction of the Law, advance to a purer knowledge of the Divine will. Then, because we need not doctrine merely, but exhortation also, the servant of God will derive this further advantage from the Law: by frequently meditating upon it, he will be excited to obedience, and confirmed in it, and so drawn away from the slippery paths of sin. In this way must the saints press onward, since, however great the alacrity with which, under the Spirit, they hasten toward righteousness, they are retarded by the sluggishness of the flesh, and make less progress than they ought. The Law acts like a whip to the flesh, urging it on as men do a lazy sluggish ass. Even in the case of a spiritual man, inasmuch as he is still burdened with the weight of the flesh, the Law is a constant stimulus, pricking him forward when he would indulge in sloth.*

For those who have repented and turned away from sin and toward God while growing in the knowledge and wisdom of Jesus Christ, the law of God is a delight as we strive to live a holy life unto God. We are not discouraged for we answer to a higher power. We will not be phased or overly distracted and dejected by political agendas.

This place is not our home. That is the fine line we walk, understanding that we can do many good things in the name of the Lord, but understanding that we do not have the ability to penetrate the heart of our fellow man. God is in control and he will give us the grace we need to fulfill his will for our lives.

*John Calvin (1509-1564), Institutes of the Christian Religion, II.vii.6-12

[Contributed by Anthony Castillitto]