Editorial – Christ our Example

Jesus lived in a country whose government was immoral in every sense of the word. The historians have referred to Rome as the sewer of the nations. “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.” The Desire of Ages, 509.

If you are a Christian, Jesus is your example in all things. Our work as Christians is to spread the good news of the gospel. When this is accepted it will change every aspect of life and bring harmony and peace. Unless the gospel is accepted, no legislation or civil reforms can solve the problems of human society. Our job as Christians is not to interfere with government by stirring up opposition to those in power, but rather to present the remedy to those in government and those in private life.

Bad behavior, whether it is adultery, stealing, killing, lying or dishonor, or rebellion against human or divine authority, cannot be obliterated by force. Even if the behavior is changed as the result of fear of punishment, the heart still has the same evil passions and desires. As long as the heart is evil there will be evil speech and evil actions, no matter what type of government is in power.

“To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart.” The Desire of Ages, 509.

“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.’ John 1:12, 13. 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 practicing of the word of God. …

Now, as in Christ’s day, the work of God’s kingdom lies not with those who are clamoring for recognition and support by earthly rulers and human laws, but with those who are declaring to the people in His name those spiritual truths that will work in the receivers the experience of Paul: ‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ Gal. 2:20.” The Desire of Ages, 509, 510.