About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Who Did Jesus Die For?


Did Jesus die for Canada?  Did He die for America?  Did He die for Great Britain?  Did He die for the nation in which you live?  Who did Jesus die for?


In answering these questions I recall living in Richmond, Virginia, in the early 1980's.  Richmond is about half way between the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in Virginia Beach and Liberty University in Lynchburg.  Situated in that part of Virginia made it next to impossible to escape the influence of the Conservative Christian Right led by CBN's Pat Robertson and Liberty University's Jerry Falwell.  Once returning to Canada in 1984 my perspective on the politics of the Conservative Christian Right began to change. 


After Pat Robertson announced his intention to run for President of the United States in the 1988 election I asked Ern Baxter, a prominent Bible teacher in the Charismatic Movement, what he thought about Robertson's aspirations.  He told me that if Robertson became president he would be demoting himself from being a preacher of the gospel.  That, along with further study of the lives of the first apostles, including Paul, caused me to rethink things through.


The Roman Empire in which Paul lived was much more pagan, immoral, and corrupt, than today's western culture.  As a Roman citizen Paul might have been able to fight his way to the top of the political pile in the hope of converting the empire for Christ, but he didn't, and neither did his contemporaries.  Constantine, some three centuries later, did that by Christianizing the empire through legal means.  More than most realize, that disaster still negatively affects the western church to this very day.


Paul embraced the call of the Lord on his life to be a prophetic voice, a preacher of the gospel, to individuals throughout the empire, and that probably included Caesar Nero as some believe.  You might say that Paul entered the political arena as God said he would (Acts 9:15 - 16) but he did so, not as a politician, but as an imprisoned preacher.  I believe his ultimate proclamation of the gospel was his execution.  His beheading accomplished more than any legislation he might have brought to the Roman political table. 


Paul knew his commission.  It was the same as Jesus commissioned the original apostles.  He was to make disciples from all nations (Matthew 28:19) as he proclaimed the forgiveness of sins (John 20:23).  For Paul, cleaning up culture meant cleaning up individuals in the culture through the preaching of the gospel delivered to the lives of individual people by the power of the Holy Spirit.


You and I may not be called to carry out the Great Commission in the way Paul was called, but we have much to learn from him.  For example, we should spend less time complaining about our nations and more time proclaiming the gospel to individuals in our nations.  Why do I say that?  It's because Jesus did not die for Canada.  He died for Canadians.  He did not die for America.  He died for Americans.  He did not die for your nation.  He died for individuals in your nation.  All of this puts the Conservative Christian Right, and political movements like it, in their proper Biblical perspective.   


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