The United States of America is not the Kingdom of God. Nor is any other nation or state. Only great confusion can result if we insist on applying biblical teachings concerning the Kingdom of God to kingdoms of this world. Yet this is precisely what many sincere Christians have been doing in the discussion of the Viet Nam tragedy.

The problem arises from the fact that a Christian is a member of the Kingdom of God and at the same time of his own worldly kingdom. A Christian who is a United States citizen, for example, has obligations—biblical obligations, it should be emphasized—both to the Kingdom of God and to the United States of America.

The Kingdom of God is ruled by God. Its primary objective is to spread the knowledge of the redeeming love of God that is revealed in his Word and above all in his incarnate Son, Jesus Christ. Its method of achieving that objective is love—sacrificial love like that of its Master.

A member of the Kingdom is obligated to know and to do the will of God. In sum, this is expressed in “the first and greatest commandment,” which is, as Jesus Christ pointed out, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, and … your neighbor as yourself” (see Matthew 22:36–40). The detailed specifications of loving God and neighbor are set forth in the Bible, which is the Word of God. The Christian is under obligation to study that Word “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). It is particularly the Christian’s duty to study the life of Jesus Christ, who is our God-given example of life that is wholly committed to the will of God, so that we “may walk as that One walked” (1 John 2:6). God discloses his will for his ...

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