Summary: Groups only become units when they agree on the principles they’ll live by. Writing them down acts as an authoritarian reference in case clarification is needed on any matter. The Bible is the Kingdom constitution that is non-negotiable and unchanging.
When groups of people decide to do life together within any size or type of boundaries – country, state, city, neighborhood, household, social club, church, etc. – they determine together the standards/precepts/policies/principles/etc. by which their group will be governed and their life together executed.
Without deciding on these things, the group really is no group at all. It’s just a free for all without any sort of unifying concepts by which they’ll live. It’s every person for themselves doing whatever they seem fit in their own eyes. It’s not until they decide on these things that they become a unit. Once they do, the principles they agree to serve as a reference that helps the group stick to living out life the way they desire to.
Documenting principles to live by
To help reference these principles at any time, groups will do something very important that acts as sort of a seal on the principles they’ve committed to live by.
They’ll write them down.
By writing them down, they document the will, intent, desires and purposes for their group’s existence for anyone to reference. As their life together progresses, they can reference this document when necessary to make sure they’re loyally executing on their commitment.
If people in the group get the idea of operating by principles contrary to what the group has decided, this document is there to offer guidance and correction back to the agreed-upon principles.
This document is known as a constitution.
Applying the principles
Not only does a constitution lay out the principles by which the group will live, but it also lays out the legal rights and privileges that members of the group receive by living under them.
That’s right, you don’t just receive the rights and privileges of the constitution without living by its principles. The principles must be learned and applied in order to realize the benefits.
That’s why if you ever see people who talk big about the power of God and how God always speaks to them, but they don’t live by His principles, you can be pretty confident in the source of their power and the voices in their head.
God’s principles are not up for debate
In a kingdom, the constitution is established by the king himself. He decides how the kingdom will function and be administered. This is not up for debate. His word is law and rebellion against his law is rebellion against the king.
You may be one of the many that think democracy is the best form of government ever created by humankind; and you’re probably right. But if you’ve entered into God’s spiritual Kingdom, you’ve entered a whole new territory. The best form of government ever conceived is a kingdom with a perfect King; conceived by God Himself.
The thing you must realize is that a democracy is diametrically opposed to a kingdom. If you don’t, it will be very difficult for you to live a strong Kingdom life.
In a democracy, people debate issues and compromise as a way to keep the peace. They operate by the will and vote of the majority of the people. They can protest the government and lobby to change laws. They change the constitution and interpret it differently based on the winds of societal change.
None of these happen in a kingdom. In a kingdom, the word of the king is absolute. It’s non-negotiable and immutable. The vote of the people means nothing.
Here’s how the constitution of God’s Kingdom puts it…
Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “what are you doing?” Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure (Ecclesiastes 8:4-5)
So when a member of God’s Kingdom comes across any issue, they are obligated only to speak their government’s position as outlined in the Kingdom constitution (which of course is the Bible). Therefore, you must know what God’s Kingdom constitution says (not what you think it says) to understand your government’s position on all issues pertaining to life. It explains His will and mind for His citizens.
Understanding God’s Kingdom
Understanding a constitution in God’s Kingdom has several practical repercussions for living in healthy church life. I’ll end this post with 3…
Healthy churches don’t divide over debatable matters.
On all matters of life, they simply reference their government’s constitution for direction. Unless an issue is clear and someone refuses to align with the principles of the constitution, they work together in love to find the best solutions and direction.
They don’t divide over matters that are debatable just because someone wants to get their way. They practice longsuffering in deferring to what is in the best interests of the group. If they have trouble figuring this out, they’ll do nothing until the Holy Spirit makes it clear what to do.
Voting on matters has no place in a healthy church.
There’s no such thing as voting in the Kingdom. Matters are settled by aligning with the King’s word and direction. Because the King won’t give conflicting messages to his citizens or operate by conflicting principles, it’s our job to align ourselves with each other and with Him. If everyone isn’t aligned, then we must assume that we don’t yet know His mind on the matter.
To force members of a church to agree to something they disagree with because the majority (or a person considered more important) thinks it’s what God is saying is arrogant, selfish and divisive. Mature believers respect their brother’s and sister’s viewpoints even if they think they’re wrong and patiently wait for the Holy Spirit to reveal his direction to everyone through prayer and loving dialogue.
Correct biblical interpretation applies to all cultures and all time periods the same.
You can’t extract a customized interpretation of God’s constitution through the justification that you’re “in a different time and place” or “the world is not how it used to be” or “we’re more enlightened now than they were back then.”
Cultures will ebb and flow. They’ll be highly judgmental of some sins in one decade and then be highly accepting of them in the next. We see this in the United States all the time where the U.S. Constitution is either amended or interpreted differently depending on the situation.
Kingdom men and women don’t ebb and flow. They hold to the King’s unchanging word.
The rest of the posts in the Understanding God’s Government series are here.