In a heated political season here in the United States, it is worth stopping for a moment and asking ourselves, “What is our political role as Christians?” I mean how should we engage in the political process? How should we act? What are our obligations? The answers to these questions are important.
What the Bible Teaches about Our Role
I think we can find the answers we need in the Bible. The first thing that came to my mind when I started considering this was Jesus’ response to the Pharisees when they asked if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar.
Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.
Mark 12:17 ESV
There’s a lot of guidance that Jesus provides in this statement. First, I believe He’s telling us that Christ Followers should generally be good, law-abiding citizens. We should follow the laws of the land unless they directly conflict with what God asks of us. Second, we are to keep things in perspective. There’s no reason for us to blow things out of proportion and make a bigger deal out of it than what is necessary. Lastly, there should be some separation between our spiritual lives and our political lives. What you owe the government and what God wants of you are usually two different things. You can serve both faithfully.
I believe (and you may agree or not) that as Christians we have no obligation to serve in a political office unless we are specifically called by God to do so. Furthermore, I don’t believe we are obligated to try to ensure that our government is creating laws that agree with the Bible. I think we are to do the right thing, but we can’t always expect a secular institution like our government to do the same.
Getting too caught up in disputes about worldly politics puts us in a precarious situation where we can be easily tempted to sin. Therefore, it is fine to engage as a citizen should, but not to get so entangled that you wind up doing something dumb in the process.
Copy Jesus in Politics as in Everything Else
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Romans 13:1 ESV
In the big picture, Jesus didn’t come to be a worldly king. He didn’t overthrow the Roman government who were oppressing the Jews. He wasn’t a political revolutionary nor did He seek to “fix” the government of His day. He abided by the laws of the land and went on about God’s business. We should do the same.