Christians serve in earthly politics, they seek to persuade their neighbors to pursue just laws and policies, but their loyalties are twofold because they belong to what John Calvin called a “twofold kingdom” (duplex regimen) and there is a hierarchy among the two aspects of God’s twofold government of the world: our first loyalty is to Christ and his heavenly, transcendent kingdom which has long outlasted Caesar’s, the Holy Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and will outlast every other kingdom and empire on this earth. Christ’s Kingdom is composed of members of every tribe and language, people and nation (Rev 5:9).
Search for the phrase “all of life is political” and one finds not a few results. We expect such a sentiment to be very popular among non-Christians, whose hope is focused on this life and this world. Remarkably, however, Christians are among those who use it most frequently. This is remarkable because there is a prima facie (i.e., what seems to be the case initially and is reasonably accepted as true until proven otherwise) evidence in Scripture that primary focus of Christians is not to be this world.
My Kingdom Is Not Of This World
When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus if he was King of the Jews, our Lord replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36; ESV). When the Jewish authorities tried to trap him by questioning him publicly about his loyalties, our Lord replied, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt 22:21; ESV). Whose picture was on the coin? Caesar’s (Matt 22:21). The coin is Caesar’s. If he demands it, give it to him. Your soul, however, is God’s. He said something similar in the Sermon on the Mount: “And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Matt 5:40–41). Contra those who teach that the Sermon on the Mount is “not for today,” the church has always understood the Sermon on the Mount to be God’s Word for his church until his comes.
Our Citizenship Is In Heaven
The Apostle Paul taught the same thing in his letter to to the church at Philippi
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself (Phil 3:17–21; ESV).