Jesus and the Christian Nation
by Matt Voss
Picking up where we left off last week, the second reason we’ll address for why America isn’t a Christian Nation is that Christians wholeheartedly attending to Jesus’ methods and purposes wouldn’t be spending their God-given days picketing abortion clinics.
Jesus wouldn’t have bothered himself with trying to make abortion or gay marriage illegal because he would have been too busy ministering to the hungry, the sick, and the broken to get involved with politics. Politics don’t change hearts or set captives free, and I don’t think many would argue that there is little Truth in politics.
Fans or Followers?
Let’s talk about your average Justin Bieber fan (is J-Biebs still a thing?). The kid probably owns a few albums, knows the words to most of the hits, and let’s say he even wears a crooked, over-sized, flat-billed hat almost sliding off the back of his head. Side note PSA: kids, this is the same way only the most hopeless of dorks wore them when your parents were kids, but it paled in comparison to the mortal sin of wearing socks with sandals, which has apparently come full circle back to “coolness.”
Now let’s consider a hypothetical #1 mega-fan. He’s Patient Zero for Bieber Fever; a True Belieber. This kid does more than dress like the Bieb; he knows every word ever recorded (including the bootlegs), he knows his favorite foods, adopts his speech patterns, and makes him a birthday cake every March 1st. In short: he worships him.
There is a pretty sharp distinction between worship and mere fandom, and one clearly goes deeper than a superficial appreciation. Following means more than going to church once a week and having a Jesus bobble head on the dash.
What C.S. Lewis calls “Mere Christianity” says in no uncertain terms that the emulation of Jesus’ life ought to be the cornerstone of every Christian’s life. From here, we would have to consider just how Jesus lived his life.
What would Jesus Do?
Jesus is said to have been without sin, meaning there wasn’t so much as a drop of malice toward even his enemies, and no matter how badly anyone insulted his mother, revenge never crossed his mind. He’d have had no selfishness about whose turn it was to pick the movie, no covetousness over his dishonest neighbor’s new Corvette, and no pride at being mocked, jeered, tried unfairly, and executed for crimes he didn’t commit. Jesus wouldn’t lust after even the most bodacious of 1st century babes. Most of us can’t make it through breakfast without sinning at least once.
Of course, there’s more to being good than not being bad. Jesus went on tour performing miracles of healing to anybody he could find, and he didn’t stop at blindness and disease. He also addressed diseases of the heart (sin) and spent his time with the lowest of the low in 1st century society. Lepers were feared and literally cast out of the city; prostitutes and tax collectors were sub-human trash, but these are the people that Jesus chose to spend his time with.
In Mark 2:17, he said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” He loved better than anyone ever had or has since. He loved people into genuinely wanting to move toward his standard.
The Bible tells in great detail the methods by which Christ conducted his business and built his following. We know this, yet we, as a supposed “Christian Nation”, have based our entire methodology for bringing godly virtue and morality to the non-believer on something entirely different.
The Hebrew Law of Moses was around long before Jesus went about blowing the roof off of those 1st Century parties with that water-to-wine business. The Law wasn’t designed to bring in the gentiles, but to lead the Jews, and it did its job well for centuries.
When Jesus went to work, however, he didn’t use the law to go around stoning adulterers; he turned the world on its head when he showed compassion to the sinner instead of condemnation, and that is what changed everything.
Don’t Vote for Jesus; He’s Not Running
If we really want to bring people into the fold of Christianity, the worst thing we could do would be to make laws that force people into acting like Christians. Among other things, it would alienate all the non-Christian Americans; that’s somewhere between 30-40% of our friends and neighbors.
Already, Christianity is given a black eye by politicians that try to shame abortion and ban gay marriage rather than love people the way Jesus showed us. Imagine more than 90 million atheists suddenly being forced to close their businesses every Sunday. If someone else’s God got in the way of my money or marrying the one I love, I know I should have a thing or two to say about it.
Through scripture, where do we see Jesus running for office in order to pass a law that might help people toward salvation? Instead, he used a more personal approach, teaching just a handful of working-class guys how to be and how to replicate themselves. His focus was on being everything to someone rather than being something to everyone, and that’s the opposite job of a government.
The purpose of Christ was that of changing hearts, which requires time, patience, and love. Any heavy-handed law that forces Christian behavior may change the behavior, but it wouldn’t change the heart. God doesn’t just want our obedience to man’s law; he wants our hearts.
What do you think?