Wednesday, January 02, 2013
A PROPER SOCIETY
God has revealed His design for three primary social institutions within His creation. God ordained social institutions to teach love, respect, discipline, work, and community. Family, church, and state are the three most important of these. Christians value the worth of each individual that comprises society over the social order; however, society plays a key role in history and in the individual’s relationship with God. We recognize that man was created in the image of God, as a social and relational being (Genesis 2:20). Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated “It is God’s will that there shall be labour, marriage, government, and church in the world; and it is His will that all these, each in its own way, shall be through Christ, directed toward Christ, and in Christ….This means that there can be no retreating from a ‘secular’ into a ‘spiritual’ sphere.” All of society and all of life is inextricably bound with God and His plan for mankind, a plan with which we either cooperate or resist and oppose…and for which the consequences are enormous.
In Genesis 2:23-25, we see that God ordained marriage (one man to one woman) and family, which together are the foundation of society. God intended for the family to nurture each individual and to provide an environment for mental and spiritual growth. To a large extent, society is influenced by the condition of marriage and family within that society. If the family is in despair, so is society. Unfortunately, in our society, we see the tearing down of marriage and families…with divorce rates at 50% or greater, homosexual relations, unwanted children, abortion, and constant attacks in the media on Christian family principles. Our society has been influenced by the Secular Humanist perspective of relativism, materialism, immorality, and anti-Christian philosophy. This is in utter opposition to God’s design for the family as the fundamental social institution that promotes the advancement of His Kingdom.
God ordained the Church to serve specific functions. The mission of the Church is to promote the Kingdom of God both locally and globally by leading people to repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and teaching them to live according to the principles of his Kingdom in every area of individual and social life. By making society aware of God’s character and our sin and rebellion, the Church can effect great positive changes within society. God will judge individuals and nations, but the Church can fulfill its role by turning a society toward God by calling sinners to repentance and teaching moral responsibility before a holy and righteous God.
Christians also recognize the state (civil government) as a God-ordained institution within society (Romans 13:1-7). It’s important to note that God ordained the institution of the state, not necessarily the persons in positions of authority. Government has God-ordained limits, not totalitarian powers. The Bible calls for limited government, in order to uphold justice and the God-given unalienable rights of mankind. Our founding fathers understood this with great wisdom, and implemented a sound system of government with three branches (legislative, executive, judicial) that provide checks and balances in order to avoid totalitarian power. Jesus told us that we are to render to the state, what belongs to the state…and to God, what belongs to God. Therefore, when any law of a government opposes the laws of God, we are obligated to God’s laws rather than man’s (Acts 4:19).
Each of these three social institutions has its role within society, as designed by God. If each fulfills this role, without overstepping its God-given boundaries as revealed to us in the Bible…we would experience a proper society, free from corruption and despair. Written by Keith A. Dunlap