The Christadelphian position in relation to the world is best illustrated by comparing our status before and after we hear and respond to the knowledge of God’s Truth.

Where We Were!

The position we occupied because of our previous ignorance and wicked work is defined in the following scriptural phrases:

“… ye walked according to the course of this world…” (Eph 2:2)
“… according to… the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience… ” (Eph 2:2)
“ … ye were without Christ: being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12)
“… ye were the servants of sin… ” (Rom 6:17)
“… for we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived… ” (Titus 3:3).
Before we understood the grace of God to us, we obeyed the dictates of the carnal mind (the thinking of the flesh) and were part of the “world” which, says John, “lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19).

What We Have Become!

The introduction of the Truth, the knowledge of God, His purpose and His grace in Christ, transforms us into new creatures with a totally different relationship to the Father. For example

“Being made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Rom 6:18)
“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18)
“As many as received him, to them gave he power [the right] to become the sons of God, which were born not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12,13).
This dramatic change in status brings its obligations and responsibilities, the primary one being obedience to God.

Thus Paul exhorts:

  • “Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead…” (Rom 6:13)
  • “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men” (1 Cor 7:23).

Only Two Classes

The whole world divides into two classes in the Divine estimation. Ever since Eden there have been only two ways of thinking—the thinking of the flesh and the mind of the spirit. These will always be in opposition to each other. The vast bulk of humanity, including all the governments in the kingdom of men, are dominated by the serpent thinking that is opposed to God. Biblically speaking they are called “the kingdoms of this world” (Rev 11:15).

The mind of the spirit found in those who adhere to God’s word has always been in an overwhelming minority, but will one day take over the world and rule for God. Until then the saints have to witness against the world on behalf of God. The saints have no interest in defending or preserving any of man’s governments or their institutions.

Our Relationship to the Coming Kingdom of God

Jesus said, “… my kingdom is not of this world…” (John 18:36) and therefore his servants were not yet to fight for him.

The role given to the saints until the Divine takeover of the world’s kingdoms is to witness against the world, exposing the works of darkness (Eph 5:11; 6:12–13).

Their status is a heavenly citizenship (Phil 3:20–21) and their allegiance is to the commands of God first and foremost. They are loyal citizens of a kingdom to come.

Peter declares that we ae to consider ourselves “strangers and pilgrims” (1 Pet 2:11), of the faith of Abraham (Heb 11:13) and regard ourselves as mere sojourners in this world until God’s Kingdom comes. The idea these words convey is—“to be an alien, a temporary resident, a foreigner in another’s land”. This describes our position in the world. We are citizens of Christ’s Kingdom, currently resident in the dominions of the world’s kingdoms.

Understanding This Position

We cannot support or participate in the affairs of this world and remain loyal to our true citizenship.

We are commanded to be subject to their laws (Rom 13:1–7) and to pay our taxes. However, we must retain the freedom to obey God in all matters of conscience (Acts 5:29). The true saint follows the principle of rendering to Caesar his dues, but to God His rights—our obedience and loyalty first of all.

Very obviously we must not participate in military service or put ourselves under ‘oaths of allegiance’ to the world in which we live. However, there are some more subtle issues that we also need to be aware of.

Jury Duty

The saints refuse to become jurors, because it is a further instance of involvement with the affairs of this world.

Politics

The servants of the Kingdom of Heaven believe and preach that man cannot resolve his own problems, that God is soon to sweep aside all human rulers and that we expect increasing wickedness, decay and ultimately war on earth. To become involved in any form of political activity is inappropriate because:

  • we put no trust in man (Psa 146:3–4)
  • we do not know how God intends to move powers to fulfil His purpose
  • all flesh is grass, and unable to rule wisely (Jer 17:9–10).

This means that Christadelphians ought not to take political ‘sides’ or to support any party—all are of the flesh and innately wicked. Beware of the ‘party spirit’ which is one of the works of the flesh and which underpins our democratic politics.

Voting

The saints do not exercise their right to vote because we do not know God’s will for our nation. Voting also implies participation and brings some responsibility to accept the decisions of those elected. Citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven reserve their allegiance for Christ, believing only he has the answers.

Unionism

Though unions in Australia have lost much of their former control that they had in the past years, they still present a difficulty for many Christadelphians.

Unions traditionally require loyalty to policy and are usually aligned to political parties.

There are several reasons which indicate that saints should endeavour to keep out of trade unions. These are:

  • we are commanded to “be content with our wages”
  • we are to serve equally well good or bad masters
  • we are to suffer wrong, without retaliation
  • we are to suffer ourselves to be defrauded
  • we cannot have our actions decided by union policy or the votes of members
  • we have no rights, only responsibilities to God.

Most employers will support a good and loyal worker who expresses the desire to remain out of a union, and sometimes even the unions allow Christadelphians to donate to an agreed charity, in lieu of union membership. If strike action occurs, we must obey God’s commands whatever the consequences.

In the end, unionism is an area where the saints may have to accept the pursuit of their conscience and perhaps even seek other employment. We know that in the end God will bless those who stand for Him.

Standing for our Rights

As strangers and pilgrims we have no claims to rights in this world. The current climate in society and particularly in schools and workplaces encourages all to claim and to fight for their rights. This spirit is part of the humanistic tide that has swept the world. Let us ensure we appreciate that God’s will is being performed and that what we need to do is change ourselves, not try to change the world around us.

These practical outworkings of our exalted status of the Kingdom of Heaven, this separation from a perishing world and our positive allegiance and obedience to God first of all will, we trust, find us a place in the coming day when “… the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ …” (Rev 11:15).