What if Nations (Instead of People) Were Christians
Some people talk about Christian businesses as if businesses themselves could be Christians, but there’s really no such thing. When someone claims they run a Christian business what they mean is the business is run by a person who is a Christian and – one hopes – tries to act like a person who honors Jesus in every single aspect of their business activities.
What about a Christian nation, then? People talk about them in a way that also seems to suggest nations can be Christians. But people are Christians – not nations or businesses. Yet if nations could be Christians what might that look like?
A Christian Nation Would Be the Servant of All Other Nations
The nation would:
- Care as much for foreigners as its own citizens.
Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. (Exodus 23:9.)
- Never neglect the needs of widows and orphans.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17.)
- Not lord itself over other nations.
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you.” (Mark 10:42-43, continued below.)
- Serve other nations, not seek to come out on top.
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45.)
- Not think more highly of itself than it should.
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12:3.)
- Turn the other cheek when other nations hurt it.
If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. (Matthew 5:39.)
- Love its enemy nations.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:44-45.)
- And over all this and more, exhibit fruit of the Spirit at home and abroad.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. … Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23, 25.)
Anyone reading that list would see it’s impossible to fulfill.
People who say America is or has been or should be a “Christian nation” don’t mean they want America to fulfill that list either.* That is because a nation that’s a Christian would be one that serves all other nations, always seeking their good before its own. That’s not what people want out of their government.
They don’t want to live in a nation that would love its neighbors that much.
The real issue, though, is that people, not nations, are the ones who can be called Christians (Acts 11:26) because they, not nations, are indwelt by Christ and are thus able to live by faith.
Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20.)
Yet even people find it hard (or should I say impossible?) to carry out everything in those passages above. It’s a good thing God is the one working in us to fulfill his will.
“… for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13.)
The Christian life, then, is the Holy Spirit living through you, bringing you into Christ’s kingdom.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11.)
Christians then are people who belong to Christ and in whom the Holy Spirit now lives.
But a nation cannot be a Christian. So when someone speaks of a Christian nation, they speak of an impossibility. And if what they mean (as in the example of a “Christian business”) is a nation made up entirely of Christians who run the government in a manner dedicated to fulfill the passages above in how they treat all other nations in the world, then the answer is no one has ever seen a Christian nation. Ever.
And you won’t until Jesus comes and changes the way everything works.
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5.)
Jesus on the throne ruling lovingly, with grace and mercy, over all creation – that is when you will see a Christian nation.
*For America’s history as not being a Christian nation ever, see Why America Has Never Been A Christian Nation.