Much of our confusion over Christianity in America comes from a misunderstanding of our citizenship in two kingdoms and our relative responsibility to each. We occupy and serve two kingdoms, but those kingdoms do not serve each other, and should they ever be in conflict, the kingdom of God takes precedence. Recall when the Jewish authorities ordered Peter and John to stop preaching about Jesus, and Peter asked them if he should obey them or God — the rhetorical answer being obvious.
The confusion in America comes when we assume this is a Christian nation and therefore, as a nation, it is capable of operating as the kingdom of God. This is not possible. The kingdom of God will use earthly kingdoms and operate through them, but must never be confused with them.
We all have to make political decisions about who we vote for and what public policies we support. Our faith should inform these decisions in terms of values, but there is not a Christian politic, a Christian agenda or even a Christian candidate. A candidate who may be a Christian may not even be the best candidate.
When on earth, Jesus was able to see and do what really needed to be done in the world from the standpoint of not being beholden to any kingdom on earth, but only to the kingdom that was not of this world.
At the same time, He obeyed the ruling authorities; He didn’t serve them, cater to them, or try to get them to help Him accomplish His goals. His suffering and death were a major part of His mission on earth, but at no time was the ruling political party aware of the fact that it was cooperating with God in the crucifixion of Christ. They were not thinking, “We get to kill Jesus so He can be the savior of the world.” They were just doing their job, not realizing their job was playing into the perfect will of God and His plan of salvation for the world.
Jesus went willingly to His death. He didn’t resist, nor did He lead a resistance. “My kingdom is not of this world,” He told Pilate. “If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36).
Our job is not to get the state to do the will of God, but to do God’s will in whatever state we are in.