As we saw in my last post, creation is groaning as it awaits the return of Christ to rule the world and the revelation of the sons of God.[1] In the same way we “sons of God”[2] (Christians)—being also called “sons of the kingdom”[3] and “sons of light”[4]—also groan in our spirits eagerly awaiting our physical redemption at Christ’s return.[5]  We long for the day when we will be relieved of the burden of our flesh and will be given a glorified heavenly body.[6] Until that time we must live in a world divided. We must endure the oppression and suffering of this world. We struggle to overcome our desire to live for ourselves. And we must strive to live for, and serve, Christ by keeping His commands.[7]

Sons of Light vs. Sin

While Christ’s victory at the cross, His resurrection, and His ascension to heaven inaugurated the Kingdom of God, Christ will not come to inherit the kingdom of this world until He returns to rule in person. In the meantime, the sons of light are to walk in the light of Christ.[8] While sons of light are forgiven, we are not perfect and we struggle with the desires of our flesh as well as the remnant of our old sin nature.[9]

A son of light who becomes habitually involved in fleshly or sinful actions (i.e. disobedience to God’s word) is blinded and walks in darkness.[10] One such as this: (1) has forgotten what Christ has done[11] in purchasing us from the slavery of sin[12] and the dominion of darkness;[13] (2) is serving the enemy’s purposes;[14] and (3) is acting as an enemy of God.[15] A Christian’s willful, disobedient behavior: defiles their own body;[16] grieves the Holy Spirit;[17] and gives occasion for Satan to accuse us before God.[18] Christians in this state may find themselves turned over to Satan’s power for chastening through physical illness.[19] It is incumbent upon each Christian to strive to overcome the world,[20] to serve Christ in His great commission[21] and to walk as children of the light.[22] Be Warned! As the apostle John states, “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”[23]

Sons of Light vs. Earthly Powers

Christians are created in Christ Jesus for good works,[24] called to serve Him as salt and light in the world,[25] and commissioned to lead the lost citizens of the nations to repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, making them disciples of Christ by teaching them all that Christ commands.[26] We show our love for Christ by denying our own inclinations,[27] by keeping His commands,[28] by loving and serving our fellow believers,[29] by turning away from and reproving evil,[30] by doing impartial justice to the weak and fatherless,[31] by helping widows and orphans, by rescuing the afflicted from the power of the wicked,[32] by pursuing peace,[33] and by keeping ourselves unstained by the world.[34] So by loving Christ in this way we will have a good reputation with our earthly authorities and our good works will put to shame our opponents.[35]

The Christian’s allegiance and obedience belongs to Jesus Christ, not to a nation, not to a political party, not to an ideology, a leader, an ethnic group, or a family. However Christians do owe submission to earthly human government (as to God)[36] as long as the governing laws or commands are not in direct violation of God’s commands. We should also pray for our rulers that God will intervene and lead them to godliness and peace.[37] Our goal at the Ethics and Political Economy Center is to educate Christians concerning a Biblical worldview of ethics, politics, and economics, so that you might influence local and national governments toward this end.

Sons of Light vs Dominion of Darkness

We can be comforted that this world dominion of darkness was placed into submission to Christ at His resurrection when He sat down at the right hand of the Father in heaven.[38] However, the continued bad governance of angelic powers over nations, governments, and creation affects us in unseen ways every day. As servants of Christ (citizens of the Kingdom of God) within this lost world, Christians struggle daily against these rulers, powers, world forces of darkness, and spiritual wickedness.[39] At times we are tested by God and share in the sufferings of Christ,[40] being allowed to suffer at the hands of human authorities under the influence of these powers and authorities.[41]

Most Christians miss, or diminish, this spiritual reality under which we live. However on the other hand we do not need to obsess over these spiritual powers nor is it our place to revile them[42]—for Jesus intercedes for us. As Paul states, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”[43] In all things we must simply pray to the Father with our request[44] and when confronted by evil, submit to God’s authority and resist the enemy.[45] We should say no more than “the Lord rebuke you”[46] and then rejoice.[47] For greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.[48] We must strive to recognize and daily fight the spiritual battles set before us. Every moment that we stand firm in our faith in Christ through the word of God and prayer[49] and glorify the name of Christ as we suffer,[50] we both refute and extinguish the attacks of the enemy who stands ready to accuse us before God. As salt and light[51] we must love and pray for our enemies—blessing them,[52] and we must also daily enter God’s presence offering prayers against evil and oppression—appealing that God might pull down the fortresses of darkness (whether human or angelic) in this world.[53] In so doing, our endurance under the often-unseen trials and sufferings of this world[54] will bring praise, glory, and honor at the return of Christ.[55]

Sons of Light and the Fulfillment of the Kingdom

The Kingdom of God is made up of only those who confess, serve, and obey Christ, for there is no other name under heaven by which mankind can be saved.[56] Through the years, the Kingdom of God is expanding on earth and in heaven.[57] In the future, Christ will return to conquer the kingdom(s) of this world[58] and rule in Jerusalem.[59] God is patiently awaiting the day that the last person in this age who will turn to Christ in faith, will do so[60]—then Jesus Christ will return in judgment. Only citizens of the Kingdom of God are destined to be comforted and enter God’s eternal life of rest and peace when He returns—all others will be cast out.[61]

This is how Christians fit into God’s Biblical Framework for Governance of the Created order.

Coming next— Sons of Disobedience.

Eric Mitchell, Ph.D.

 

[1]Romans 8:19-23.

[2]Romans 8:14.

[3]Matthew 13:38.

[4]Luke 16:6; John 12:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:5.

[5]Romans 8:23.

[6]1 Corinthians 15:35-44; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5; Philippians 3:20-21.

[7]Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:17, 23; Philippians 2:1-16.

[8]1 John 1:7; Ephesians 5:8-9.

[9]Romans 7:14-25.

[10]1 John 2:11.

[11]2 Peter 1:8-9; James 1:21-24.

[12]Acts 20:28; Revelation 5:9.

[13]Acts 26:16-18.

[14]1 Thessalonians 4:7-8.

[15]James 4:4; 1 John 1:6.

[16]1 Corinthians 6:15-20.

[17]Ephesians 4:17-32.

[18]Revelation 12:10.

[19]1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20. God may also allow Satan to bring physical hardship to a Christian for the purpose of instruction or correction through suffering (such as Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” 2 Cor 12:7; cf. Job).

[20]1 John 5:5; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21.

[21]Matthew 28:18-20.

[22]Ephesians 5:7-21, ie. to be in the world but not of it.

[23]1 John 2:4; See also Philippians 3:18-19; for God’s attitude toward one who only pays him lip service see Deuteronomy 29:14-21.

[24]Ephesians 2:8-10; James 2:14-24.

[25]Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 5:8-16.

[26]Matthew 28:18-20.

[27]Luke 9:23.

[28]John 14:21.

[29]Mark 10:42-45; John 13:35; Romans 12:5.

[30]Ephesians 5:11; 1 Timothy 5:20.

[31]Proverbs 24:23, 28:21; Matthew 22:16; Acts 10:34; Galatians 2:6; Colossians 3:25; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 Timothy 5:21; James 2:9.

[32]Psalm 82:3-4.

[33]1 Peter 3:8-9.

[34]James 1:27.

[35]Titus 2:6-8.

[36]As to God; Romans 13, 1 Peter 2:13-17.

[37]1 Timothy 2:1-2.

[38]Ephesians 1:18-23; Col 1:16, 2:10.

[39]Ephesians 6:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Daniel 10:13, 21.

[40]1 Peter 4:12-19; Philippians 1:29, 3:8; Colossians 1:24.

[41]Romans 8:35-39; 1 Corinthians 11:23-27.

[42]Jude 8-9.

[43]Romans 8:28.

[44]Philippians 4:6-7.

[45]James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8.

[46]Zechariah 3:2; Jude 9.

[47]1 Peter 1:6-7.

[48]1 John 4:4.

[49]2 Corinthians 6:7, 10:3-4.

[50]1 Peter 4:16.

[51]Matthew 5:16.

[52]Matthew 5:43-44; Luke 6:26, 35; 1 Peter 3:8-9.

[53]Ephesians 6:13-18; cf. Jeremiah 1:10.

[54]2 Timothy 2:3.

[55]1 Peter 1:6-7, 4:19; 1 Corinthians 3:13; James 1:2-4.

[56]Acts 4:10-12; John 14:6.

[57]See Mark 4:30-32.

[58]Revelation 19; 11:15ff; Daniel 7:13.

[59]Isaiah 9:6-7; 52:8-10; Luke 2:25, 38.

[60]2 Peter 3:9.

[61]Matthew 25:31-34; 22:1-14.

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