...cont. from Christ and Culture Part 1
4. Christ and Culture is in Paradox This view differs from preceding option by maintaining that while both Christ and culture claim our loyalty, tension between them cannot be reconciled by any lasting synthesis. Luther maintained that sin is universal and inside a Christian all of His earthly life, thereby making it impossible to attempt any kind of utopian society on earth. I agree that though God has dealt with our sinful nature in Christ, we are susceptible to sinful desires (sins not unto death, because our sin nature has been removed and replaced with Christ in us) and as such will never have heaven on earth.
Christ in us has fulfilled law of God on which our societies are based in order to ensure justice and law and order. The law is in play over our physical bodies and behaviour in society, which Christ affirms. We live by grace of God without law and find that we naturally fulfil law of God and affirm law of land. Christ has become to us an "eternal law" that fulfils "temporal law" of God.
These two are held in tension, we still have to account for our actions, but by God's grace we have forgiveness of sins and a new nature at work within us. The temporal law is in place not to make ungodly righteous, but as a means of limiting far-reaching effects of sin in this world. As a church we uphold law, not through self-effort but in our natural adherence to Godly principles through natural inclination to submit ourselves to Godly authority (Romans 2:12-14).
As Christians we are simultaneously subject to both nature of Christ in us and reality of an unrenewed and sinful mind,expressed through a physical and limited body. In world we are subject to temporal law, and yet in Christ we are subject to grace of God for our salvation. Jesus Christ is fulfilment of temporal law in us as believers.
The Christian life is a paradox, and keeping two realms distinct has far-reaching effects. Since we are saved by grace and not our own works, we have no grades of holiness, or any need to separate ourselves from culture. This ultimately means that any vocation provided it is a true vocation, a station in life instituted by God, can be pursued for glory of God. So we are in fact set free to serve.
All things are permissible to believer, but we do those things that are beneficial. This means that although we are not under law which is temporal and cannot save any man. The temporal law does lead man to repentance and thereby curbs extent of sin's consequences in world as a moral guide. So those who are in Christ live by grace and find that they fulfil law of God.
So whether we live by Christ or by law we find that we all keep law, one by law written on their hearts, other by obeying letter of law. So "all who sin apart from law will also perish apart from law, and all who sin under law will be judged by law" (Romans 2:12).
So this freedom of a Christian is balanced with a respect for temporal law and secular government (Romans 13:1-7). This really does create a paradox, we who are no longer under law submit ourselves to it and should not return harm for harm (Romans 13:8-9), but in time of war we may rightly be ordered to take up arms against an oppressor in order to limit a greater evil.
Also if a leader is wrong in commanding us to do something that is against God, we are not bound to obey him over God. "For it is no one's duty to do wrong, we must obey God rather than man" (Acts 5:29). We need to be realistic about man's inclination to sin, as unbelievers who will suffer death as a result of their sin as well as for believers who will suffer chastisement of God. For there is a sin unto death and a sin not unto death (1 John 5:16,17).