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The Mark of a Political Christian

political Christian

There is to be one defining mark of a political Christian.

In the biography of Jesus written by John, we have the poignant final words and prayers of Jesus to and for his disciples before his death on the cross. It is considered by many to be among the most moving sections of the New Testament.

So what occupied Jesus during the moments before his death?

Not surprisingly, he wanted the world to know that his death was a sacrificial one—that he was laying down His life for theirs, paying the price for their sins, offering that death as a gift so that they could receive forgiveness and then enter into a full, intimate relationship with God the Father.

But how would that happen?

How would people know, beyond a doubt, that what Jesus was offering really was from God? That Jesus himself was God the Son in human form, come to planet Earth to show the way? How would it be authenticated in a way that would be unmistakable and would force people to reckon with it? What would be the unanswerable argument in His favor?

He told them: “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you” (John 15:12, NLT). And then He followed that with a prayer:

I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind-
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
(John 17:20-21, Msg)

The observable love between those who called themselves his followers was everything.


Jesus said it would be this unity, and this unity alone, that would arrest the world’s attention and confirm that he was from the Father.

There has been so much written about the growth of the early church—sociologists have studied it extensively. The explosion of faith in Christ in such numbers and speed that in only a blink of history, the Roman Empire had officially turned from paganism to Christianity. We look for formulas and programs, services and processes. The simple truth is that they fleshed out the challenge and prayer of Jesus.

As the second-century writer Tertullian observed, the awed pagan reaction to the Christian communal life was, “See how they love one another.”

So, what is the mark of a political Christian? It’s the mark of the Christian, which is love.

Loving unity in the Bible doesn’t mean uniformity, where everyone looks and thinks alike. And the biblical idea is certainly not to be confused with unanimity, which is complete agreement about every petty issue across the board. Christians can have robust political disagreements.

By unity, the Bible means first and foremost a oneness of heart—a relational unity.