He shows His care for nations throughout the New Testament.
- Wesley Wildmon
We have all heard it said that God does not care who wins a football game. While theologically this may be true, I never like to say, “God doesn’t care about, you-fill-in-the-blank.” He may care differently than we do, but I believe He cares about everything.
There are Christians who believe God does not deal with, or care about, nations under the new covenant in the same manner He did under the old covenant. They say He deals with believers or non-believers on an individual basis because of the possibility the New Covenant offers a one-on-one relationship with Christ. This part is absolutely true; we are no longer under the Law but under grace (Romans 6:14–15). The old covenant has served its purpose and has been replaced by “a better covenant” (Hebrews 7:22).
“In fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6). God did away with the ceremonial law under the new covenant, but He did not do away with the moral Law (Matthew 5:17). In the same way, God did not dismiss the moral law He did not alter His care for nations. In fact, He shows His care for nations throughout the New Testament.
- God reaffirm borders and boundaries in Acts 17:26.
- God commands us to pray for our leaders in 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
- God established governments for nations in Romans 13:1.
- God used His Son Jesus to correct the political leaders of His day in Matthew 21:23-32.
- God commands us to pay taxes to the government in Matthew 22:21.
- God commands us to submit to the leaders of our nation in Romans 13:2.
- God granted private property through the government in Acts 2:45; 5:4.
The most obvious reference to nations in the New Testament is when Jesus commands His followers to make disciples of “all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20). The word nations (ethō) can be translated “all ethnic groups.” The term doesn't exclude borders but reaffirms it.
Not only does God still care about nations under the New Covenant, He has given us clear instructions on how they are to operate (Romans 13:3-4). Therefore, if nations are commanded to do good and not bad, it is logical that there must be a curse for doing bad and a blessing for doing good. This is how we know God still deals with nations who heed or ignore His commands.
We see in Acts 12:23 that Herod, a King of Judea, not only worshiped a false god but allowed and encouraged others to worship him. As a result, God struck Herod dead. This is a New Testament example of a nation making a bad decision and the curse resulting from that sin.
To see a good decision resulting in a blessing, consider the United States’ recent decision to stop supporting international abortion. We will immediately see the number of abortions (murder) across the world decrease. Few people understand how much money American taxpayers were sending overseas for international abortion, but that has now been cut off. Knowing that we chose life over death on this particular decision is the reward.
Now it’s likely at this point you are thinking through a decision some nation or group of nations made in the past but are unable to see the blessing or curse of it. The truth is, sometimes we can see it and other times it either takes longer to reveal itself or it takes a refreshing of our eyes to see in a spiritual context.
In any case, it’s not for us to figure out if a nation’s good has outweighed its bad in terms of God's dealing with a nation. Our job is to stand up for righteousness and call for repentance.
Because God doesn’t deal with nations in an eternal sense as He does individuals, He deals with them on this side of Heaven. This means we need to do all we can to promote good not just as individuals, but also for the nation God has made us citizens of.
If God didn’t care about nations He wouldn’t have done all the above. He reaffirms His design for borders, reaffirms and gives guidelines to the governments of nations, and even calls Christians to be leaders of their nations on different levels. Also, Jesus wouldn’t have corrected the leaders of the nation of His day if He didn’t care about their decisions. It’s impossible to love your neighbor and intentionally not promote good in a nation knowing that good is what He has commanded nations to do. In all of Scripture, Old Testament and New Testament, we see God not only bless or punish individuals because of their actions but also bless or punish nations depending on their actions. He does so for our good and His glory.
(This article first appeared on EngageMagazine.net here: http://www.engagemagazine.net/worldview/god-still-cares-about-each-nation/)