On February 20, 2016, Prime Minister David Cameron announced the referendum to decide whether we are to remain within the EU or not. He described the vote as one of the “greatest decisions of our lifetime.” It is a colossal decision. I have weighed the evidence, and of primary importance, tried to filter it through the lens of biblical values. I know how I intend to vote (yes, Canadian residents are permitted to vote!). I fundamentally disagree, however, with Mr. Cameron’s statement that this worldly decision—while important—is the greatest in our lifetime. That decision is who we profess Jesus to be! (Mt 15:16).
As we enter into this post-Christian era I am becoming increasingly a-political with the substance of my political creed simply being the Lord reigns (c.f. Prov 29:26). This whole debate got me thinking about the saying taken from John 17:14-18, “to be in the world but not of the world.” The Bible does not actually use those words but rather they are a summary of:
14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. [emphasis added].
Working out the tension in Jesus’ command has been the subject of debate for faithful believers for centuries. In a nutshell allow me to attempt to provide the interpretive key necessary for solving the application of this tension. World (cosmos) refers to the world system ruled by Satan. The Christian is to remain in the physical world (play on words here) while not to be of the world because we have been made citizens of the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus. This is a Kingdom with a different government, set of laws, values and vision than that of the world. Until Christ comes again we are aliens in a world in which we are not citizens, wherein we are called to live as ambassadors of Christ. May the Lord give us the wisdom and grace needed for this, while we earnestly pray “come Lord Jesus!”
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,