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​ Government, Dominion, and Work

By Chalcedon Editorial
September 20, 2017
Work under God is a form of government. To have a responsible child capable of governing in his or her sphere, it is essential that work become a part of their training. This is not to say that work is identical with government and dominion, but rather that it is inseparable.[1]

There are two basic human governments in operation today. There is government by the state, and there is self-government. Both governments are capable of growth and expansion but only one can do so in a godly fashion. You guessed it. It’s not the state.

You could say that growth and dominion are nearly synonymous terms. If the state increases, it does so in terms of its control. We know the state increases; therefore, we know the state has its own “theology of dominion.” What’s not growing is Christian self-government, and therefore, we see little godly dominion.

Doing All Things as “Unto the Lord”

For the state to exercise dominion, it only needs to do so by coercion. Why seek public assent when you’re already in a position of power to enforce your will? Certainly, the political machine of so-called “checks and balances” must function, but the end result will always be the growth of the state’s control.

For the Christian, government begins with self-government and growth—or dominion—is by godly work done as “unto the Lord.” The greater purpose being served is not the country in which one lives but rather the Kingdom of God. This is what makes the Kingdom of God completely unique among all “agendas.” It can serve as a vision, or mission, for an entire country while at the same time serving as an individual mission for a single child. Notice how the apostle Paul phrases this idea:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. (Eph. 6:1, emphasis added)
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (Col. 3:20, emphasis added)

If something is done “in the Lord,” or “unto the Lord,” then it is done to and for the King and His Kingdom. This demonstrates that even the simple, unglamorous, obedience of a child carries great Kingdom implications. There is no political agenda that can equal this, yet Christians are often more concerned with the actions of the state than the obedience—and concomitant education—of their children.

​ Growth by Godly Work

Therefore, a child must grow in obedience which means he or she must grow in dominion as their obedience to parental authority develops into greater government by means of godly work and responsibility. As the apostle said he would only boast of things “according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us” (2 Cor. 10:13), so we are also all given a “measure of rule” to govern. As Rushdoony noted above,

To have a responsible child capable of governing in his or her sphere, it is essential that work become a part of their training.

Growth by godly work is developmental growth. Growth by coercion is satanic. It’s man’s will to be as god, and like the Garden, it’s driven by disobedience to God and a hearkening to the proposition of the serpent.

The Kingdom of God is a mystery to many in the church simply because they do not understand the role they serve in it. If we think of the Kingdom only in heavenly terms—or only in terms of the institutional church—our responsibilities become vague and uncertain. The simple starting point is that God owns it all down to every atom and molecule, and all things must serve His purpose. Although we can’t force society or the state to hearken to the voice of God in the Scriptures, we can yield ourselves as “instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:13). Let’s begin there—daily.


[1] R. J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology in Two Volumes (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1994), p. 1025.


Topics: Biblical Law, Business, Christian Reconstruction, Culture , Dominion, Government, Justice

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