United Church of God, ia
Portland Oregon/The Dalles Oregon

Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

God's Government will be directed toward the Perfecting of Man

All governments need a singular guiding purpose to endure. For example, a goal of the U.S. government, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, is to enable its citizens to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

This is a lofty, wonderful and inspiring purpose of government. However, such purposes are all too often thwarted because of the limitations of human nature expressed through human politicians with personal character flaws. And sadly, the pursuit of happiness now is often taken to mean merely the pursuit of materialistic pleasures, which the Bible labels as covetousness and lust.

Human governments tend to become corrupt simply because both the rulers and the ruled citizens are inherently flawed. For that reason, the framers of the U.S. Constitution designed a government of checks and balances between three distinct power-sharing institutions—the presidency, the Congress and the court system. A governmental headed by a singular despotic ruler, it was believed, would inherently tend to abuse power. The same appraisal of human nature led to the Constitution establishing the country as a republic, with representative government, rather than as a straight majority-rule democracy. The idea was to blunt the negative tendencies of "mob" rule. Similar thinking was involved in the creation of two legislative bodies in the Congress—the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The framers of the Constitution understood from the Bible and the wisdom of experience that human nature was corruptible. They also knew that human government could not change human nature.

The prophet Isaiah describes the corruption that bad leadership can bring to all levels of social structure:

"For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and those who are led by them are destroyed…For everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly."

• Isaiah 9:16-17

But the Kingdom of God, in contrast, will be ruled by perfect, righteous rulers. The goal of government will not be "the pursuit of happiness" as it has typically been interpreted—the pursuit of pleasure. Rather, it will have a much higher purpose, which involves bringing people true happiness and joy.

Under Christ’s administration of the Kingdom of God, all government activity will be designed for one universal purpose–the development of righteous character in every person through conversation toward God’s divine nature.

This purpose is superlatively greater than the purpose of human government. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: "You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). Christ’s purpose will be the perfecting of human character through the remaking of the human heart—changing its motives, intents thinking, desires, decisions and actions.

As a result, humanity will become governable for the first time in a way that can permanently sustain progress, peace and prosperity—and real happiness. This progress will be sustained continuously for 1,000 years.

This change of the human heart and character can come only by receiving God’s own divine nature through the gift of His Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of God is not generally accessible to mankind now. But God will change all that:

"and it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh."

• Joel 2:28

The Spirit of God, available only from Him, is the essential nature of God Himself, somewhat as DNA is the code that contains the essence of the human being.

The Spirit’s role in a person’s life is to perfect the person’s character, to make him like God. Its fruits, being shown in human behavior, are the divine attributes of God:

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

• Galatians 5:22-24

In due time, the opportunity to receive the Holy Spirit will be extended to everyone on earth so that all will be able to have God’s laws written in their hearts and minds. One nation after another will be converted to God’s way of thinking. God’s laws of loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27) will be written into the human character through the Spirit of God. As God says,

"I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

• Hebrews 8:10

- H Davis

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