The Bible tells us from the very beginning God made man in His image and gave him dominion over everything on earth but one thing. God’s intention was never for man to have dominion over other men.
In 1 Samuel 8 we read where Israel cried out for a king, like all the other nations. Samuel had been God’s “go to man” up until this point but was getting on in years. He had two sons who apparently didn’t do things the same way Samuel did so Israel got together and requested a king. Samuel went to God in prayer and God told him, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.”
You see God’s plan was for Israel to be a nation like no other nation on the earth. He didn’t really want them to have a king. In fact what He wanted was for them to trust Him as their king. Can you imagine what all the other nations would have thought when they saw how the whole nation of Israel functioned in harmony without an earthly king? The nations would have been curious and come asking Israel what its secret was. They would have said, “How do you guys do this? You don’t even have a structured hierarchy of government over you and yet you prosper and seem to work as a body without need of a head.” It would be then that they say, “Oh, but we do have a head! It’s God Himself!” Let me tell you about Him! God’s plan all along was for Israel to be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea let me just say, just because God is the head doesn’t give us permission to completely throw off restraint and not submit to the governing authorities. You see according to Romans 13 the government is God’s minister to discipline people when they need discipline–“For it does not bear the sword in vain…”
Further more in 1 Timothy Paul instructs us to “pray on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” So you see the governing authorities are meant to be here for our good. God’s view of government is for those in authority to protect and serve the people so we might live quiet and godly lives. Do you remember what Jesus told His disciples? He said, “The rulers of the Gentiles (other nations) lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant…” So you can see how different the kingdom of God operates from the rest of the world.
Even as we direct our thoughts to the church we can see this. According to Ephesians God has given the church what is commonly known as the five-fold ministry. We have apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. So there is a structure even in the church but it was never intended for these offices to be ruling over others. The role of these five are to serve others by “equipping the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature (perfect) man…” So you see God’s end-game is for all of us to find our individual roles in His body. Once we find our role, we will begin to operate as our part of the body intended to operate, under the supervision of the one true head which is Christ Himself. Meanwhile we are in need of government offices with specific roles to play in our lives; but never lose sight of the fact our hope is not in voting in the “right man”, or passing this or that legislation, our hope is always in Christ!
The following is a discussion that ensued from a quote from my friend Brett Burrowes. This is an excerpt, mind you, of a larger article, but I think it is sufficient to stand on its own. After reading this in full feel free to comment. Thanks!
Brett: “Sin is not the corruption of an independently operating human nature, but the enslaving spirit of Satan. Humans do not operate themselves, since Paul says that we are either operated by the spirit of sin which indwells us, “it is no longer I but sin” (Romans 7:17,20), or we are operated by the Spirit of Christ, “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). So when is it just me? Never; there is no independently operating human self or nature in the New Testament. So does this abolish our free will? By no means, recognizing what we do not control enables us to recognize what is within our control; we have the choice to take God at His word and trust Him, or we can continue to trust Satan’s deception that we autonomously run our own lives. The choice and the consequences are ours: but why would we continue to trust one whose aim is theft and destruction instead of the One who loves us and has predestined us to share in His own glory?”
Tom: Much of this is not Biblical. God holds US responsible for ALL of our sin and it is ALL ours.We make those choices concerning what we choose to do or not do. Paul was speaking of the war between the man’s natural sin nature and the indwelling Holy Spirit working in us to resist sin, not another self that commits sin without our consent. This is New Age twisting of Biblical teaching, not New Testament. Looks like Kenneth Copeland-Kenneth Hagin New Age interpretations. Be wary of any teaching that seems to absolve us from our choice. It is always a deception.
Louie: Well Tom, I don’t see how this “absolves us from our choice.” When Paul wrote “It is no longer I but sin” he is differentiating between himself and the “sin” is he not? If he was talking about having a “natural sin nature” how could he talk as if “sin” was something IN him doing it? Sin here is definitely a personal pronoun therefore it appears to be something, or someone, other than Paul himself. Jesus did say, “I am the true vine” which brings with it the implication there is a “false vine” correct? The point is we are always and only a branch, therefore we have “No independent” nature of our own. We are either partaking of the “sin” nature inherited from the fall, or we have been born again and are now partakers of the “divine nature.” Either way we have no nature of our own. Humans were created to be an expressor of the God who created them. In the fall a lesser being, otherwise known as Satan, made his way into us. This is why we must be born again of God’s Spirit from above. I would encourage you to look into this a bit closer.
Tom: “So when is it just me? Never; there is no independently operating human self or nature in the New Testament.” This is the phrase that reveals the falsehood. It is always “me.” That is why God holds us accountable. We cannot excuse our sin by saying we were not responsible. We are responsible…always. This philosophy is falsehood, Louie. Don’t buy it.
Louie: Thankfully we don’t have to buy anything Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe! Tom who said we’re not responsible? We are responsible for who we are obeying either sin or righteousness (Jesus) Romans 6:16. This is why Paul told us to count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God and to stop presenting our members to sin but rather present ourselves to God. You see presenting is choosing.
Tom: “So when is it just me? Never; there is no independently operating human self or nature in the New Testament.” Where did this come from. That’s who said we are not responsible.
Louie: We are not the sole one responsible we are in allegiance with the evil one when we sin but we’re still responsible. If you and I go to rob a bank, you stay in the getaway car and I go in to hold them up. When I come out and you drive us away who’s responsible?
Tom: Yes, but we are the one that allows Satan’s influence over us. God will judge us and only us for our sin, not Satan. The fact that we ARE an independently operating human self is the very central doctrine of the New Testament. That man denied that in his statement. That’ is where the falsehood lies.
Louie: Who actually told you we have an independent nature? Why would Jesus tell us we are a branch only? We are the body but not the head. We are a vessel but not the contents. We are a temple not the deity that lives within it. You see we were created to house God’s Spirit. Therefore once the “spirit of error” took up residence within, deception was sure to follow. This is why we have to receive Christ but that only happens with the hearing of the Good news. What’s the Good news you might ask. Well, the good news is we have been crucified, buried and raised with Christ and we are forever joined to Him “Spirit to spirit.” We have been set free from the “the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience” Ephesians 2:2! Amen!
Louie Check out Brett’s blog if you want to study a bit deeper on this subject. I think it will be worth your time. https://brettburrowes.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/sin-and-satan-part-2/