Differences in the Two Kingdoms

Every Christian belongs to two kingdoms: one is spiritual and the other is earthly.  Lutheran theologians call these the kingdoms of the right hand (the Church) and the left hand (the State).  There are four distinct differences between the two. 

First, the kingdom of the right hand has an eternal focus, preaching Law and Gospel so people can be reunited with God in heaven by grace through faith in Jesus.  In contrast, the kingdom of the left hand has a temporal focus, keeping order in communities and countries throughout the world here and now. Second, the two kingdom employ different sources of power.  God’s heavenly power is at work in the Church, while humanity’s worldly power is at work in the State.  Third, the right-hand kingdom uses God’s Word, the Bible, as its source of authority.  However, it is humanity’s own authority that gives the left-hand kingdom its power.  Fourth and finally, all people on Earth are commanded to comply with their governing authorities in the kingdom of the left hand, while involvement is optional in the kingdom of the right hand.  If one rejects belief in Christ, there is no pastor or church leader who fines or jails such a person.

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