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    November 20, 1899

    “Christ the Example” The Bible Echo 14, 48, pp. 378, 379.

    ATJ

    JESUS CHRIST came into the world to bring to men the true knowledge of God; for “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.” He came to reveal to men the kingdom of God,—to enunciate its principles, to manifest its spirit, to reveal its character. Of it He said: “My kingdom is not of this world.” “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And His apostles declared: “The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.”BEST November 20, 1899, page 378.1

    Why was it that Jesus persistently kept aloof from all affairs of politics and the State? Was it because all things political, judicial, governmental, were conducted with such perfect propriety, and with such evident justice, that there was no place for anything better, no room for improvement such as even He might suggest?—Not by any means. Never was there more political corruption—greater perversion of justice—and essential all-pervasive evil of administration, than at that time. Why, then, did not Jesus call for “municipal reform”? Why did He not organise a “Law and Order League”? Why did He not disguise Himself and make tours of the dives and the gambling-dens, and entrap victims into violation of the law, and employ other spies to do the same, in order to get against the representatives of the law evidence of maladministration by which to arraign them and to compel them to enforce the law, and thus reform the city, regenerate society, and save the State, and so establish the kingdom of God? Why? The people were ready to do anything of that kind that might be suggested. They were ready to co-operate with Him in any such work of reform. Indeed, the people were so forward and so earnest in the matter that they would have actually taken Him by force and made [sic.] Him king, had He not withdrawn Himself from them. Why, then, did He refuse?BEST November 20, 1899, page 379.1

    The answer to all this is, Because He was Christ, the Saviour of the world, and had come to help men, not to oppress them; had come to save men, not to destroy them. The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses—extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Saviour attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. He who was our Example kept aloof from earthly governments—not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually and must regenerate the heart.BEST November 20, 1899, page 379.2

    “Not by the decisions of courts, or councils, or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established; but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. ‘As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ Here is the only power that can work the uplifting of mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practising of the Word of God.”BEST November 20, 1899, page 379.3

    Now Christ is the true Example set by God for every soul in this world to follow. The conduct of Christ is Christianity. Conformity to that example in the conduct of the individual believer—this and this alone is Christianity in the world. The conduct of Christ, the Example, was totally separate in all things from politics and the affairs of the State. Christianity, therefore, is the total separation of the believer in Christ from politics and all the affairs of the State, the total separation of religion and the State in the individual believer.BEST November 20, 1899, page 379.4

    Accordingly, Jesus said to His disciples forever, “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” John 15:19. And to His Father He said of His disciples forever, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:16. Every Christian in this world, then, must be in the world as Christ was in the world. “As He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17. “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master.” Matthew 10:25. The Master was always, and in all things, and by fixed design, completely separated from all affairs of politics and the State. And it is forever enough “that the disciple be as his Master.”BEST November 20, 1899, page 379.5

    This is the Christianity of Jesus Christ, as respects the great question of religion and the State. And, as in all the instruction from God from the beginning of creation down, it calls always for the complete separation of religion and the State in all things and in all people.BEST November 20, 1899, page 379.6

    ALONZO T. JONES.

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