The following is an excerpt from The Good of Politics, by James W. Skillen.
One of the deep convictions that will guide us in the pages that follow is that Christ now governs this world as king of kings and is not only the head of the church. In that respect, the first thing to emphasize about Christ’s kingship is its incarnational character, which is to say that the incarnate, crucified, and risen Jesus is the one whom God ordained as Israel’s messianic lord and ruler of all nations.
Christ’s kingship is not that of a nonhuman divinity but of a fully human servant of God (Heb. 2). And because of Christ’s faithfulness all the way to death, God elevated him to the throne on high, the throne of creation’s climax in God’s sabbath rest—the creation’s seventh day. Christ does not sit on a supernatural throne above the natural world but on the throne of creation’s fulfillment, which includes the fulfillment of human governing responsibility on earth.
Although Christ is not now present before our eyes in the way that the president of the United States or the president of Mexico is present, the Spirit of God is at work as Christ’s vicar, drawing disciples into his service, convicting the world of sin, and overseeing the history of the unfolding generations of humankind toward the day of the Lord when Christ’s kingdom will be fulfilled (John 16:1–15).
Yes, this is a view held by faith, not yet by sight, but that does not make it odd in comparison with other views of history and politics. Democratic liberals have not yet seen the world filled completely with democracies living at peace with one another, but that is the faith-based vision that inspires their work to promote democracy in the world. Marxists have not yet seen the world organized, as they believe it should be, as a peaceful and productive community without need of government, but that is the faith-based vision that guides their day-to-day work.
The question for Christians is this: How should we engage politically, guided by the vision of Christ’s kingdom that has not yet been revealed in its fullness?
©2014 by James W. Skillen. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.
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