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Post-resurrection politics

Politics

Just days after Resurrection Sunday, we are all no doubt occupied in our thoughts with the risen Savior. The resurrection of Christ changed everything. The pagan world passed from tragedy to hope, while the Jewish hope found its fulfillment. The Spirit of Christ spread love across the Roman world, and the concepts "human" and "society" acquired new significance and depth.

If Christ's resurrection was the ultimate game changer, then politics should look different this side of the empty tomb. With the advance of the gospel, Christians should see the possibilities for political life the same way we see the new possibilities for personal, family, and community life. God's redemptive plans for our shared civic life should instruct us in how we shape our world in the confidence of those plans. You might call this "post-resurrection politics."

In a post-resurrection world, rule can become public service as it ought to be. With the cross in mind, Jesus contrasted His own lordship with the lords of the world:

"You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:42-45).

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On the cross, He served and sacrificed, and He showed us what it means to "govern" and what politics can be under the gospel governance of redeemed people.

Post-resurrection government should help people govern themselves. God says that under the New Covenant He will move His people from within by His Spirit to keep His laws (Ezekiel 36:27). That vision is not fully realized until Christ's return, but after the resurrection every eschatological picture has some present reality. Because Christ is changing people from the inside out, government should secure and cultivate people's ability to govern themselves, i.e., conduct themselves with restraint, industry, and charity (cf. 1 Peter 2:14).

Post-resurrection public service leaves room for the mutual service of a post-resurrection people. Insofar as Christian people are growing into the image of Christ, they will so overflow with charity for one another that any government tempted to overreach in its activity will be hard pressed to find anything left to do. A government that is conscious of Christ's victory will rather stir up that Christian capacity in its people for mutual service.

It is true that many citizens aren't alive in Christ, and some are not even Christians. But wise leaders govern not only in the confidence of gospel life but also in the awareness of the cultural power of gospel influence. God's post-resurrection people are salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16).

In post-resurrection political life, government should help people do what Christ redeemed them to do: Govern themselves in holiness and serve one another in love.

D.C. Innes
D.C. Innes

D.C. is associate professor of politics at The King's College in New York City and co-author of Left, Right, and Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics (Russell Media). Follow D.C. on Twitter @DCInnes1.

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