Summary: Contrary to some traditional beliefs, Christians should be involved in politics.
CHRISTIANS AND POLITICAL ACTIVITY
As we approach this election season, it seemed very appropriate to take a look at what The Word” has to say about Christians and Politics / Government. We are particularly concerned with the fact that all too many people, especially Christians, have just thrown up their hands and dropped out of the political process. They don’t bother to inform themselves, seek out the right candidates or even vote. The attitude seems to be…”They’re going to do what they want to do anyway”…whomever they are.
Two topics will help us gain a better understanding of why we as Christians do need to be involved in our political process.
(1. What does The Word describe a the biblical functions of government
(2. What does The Word say about the biblical responsibilities of godly government officials
To begin with, Romans 13:3 tells us that there are two basic functions of government.
(1. not to be a terror or hindrance to good works. In other words, the government is to promote and protect good works. What are good works? They are things that help promote and support a peaceful, prosperous and godly lifestyle.
(2. Romans 13:3 also identifies the second basic function of government, which is to be a terror to evil. In other words, government is to punish evildoers / criminals.
First Peter 2:14 also states that government is to punish evil doers.
Romans 13 verse 4 tells us how government is to punish evil doers. It says that…”if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he (government) beareth not the sword in vain; for he (government) is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil”. According to this verse, God has given government power to enforce itself and it’s laws.
Let’s now look at the responsibilities / qualifications set forth in scripture for government officials. Exodus 18:21 states ; moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people – able men such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers (officials) of thousands, and rulers (officials) over hundreds, rulers (officials) over tens”. So the four qualifications for rulers are
(1. to be able
(2. to fear god
(3. to be truthful, and
(4. to hate covetousness
If a ruler doesn’t have the fear of God he’ll probably be a man pleaser and compromise biblical principles. A ruler (official) must study and know truth from The Word. John 17:17 states, “thy word is truth”. A ruler must hate covetousness – he can’t serve two masters, according to Luke 16:13…”he will hate the one and love the other”.
In II Samuel 23:3 it is stated…”he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God”.
Deut. 17 gives more qualifications. Verse 17 also says that an official shall not multiply wives to himself. In other words, verse 17 speaks to the fact that the major hindrances to godliness are – the lust of the flesh, the lusts of the eye and the pride of life. An excellent example of an official who fell because of these things was king Solomon. He had everything going for him, then, he became rich, married many wives and .. his heart turned from God. Verses 18 and 19 state that the (official) is to write a copy of the law in a book. This means he is to have his own personal copy of The Word, which contains the laws of God. Verse 19 states that the king (official) is to read therein (in the book that contains the laws) all the days of his life. This is so he will have wisdom and the fear of God and not the fear of man.
Verse 20 says that the official cannot let his heart be lifted up above his brethren. The ruler (official) must not be proud and power hungry.
Now we’ve looked at the purpose of government and discovered that it is an institution ordained of God. We’ve also looked at some foundational qualifications for those who would be public government officials. Let’s get back to the issue of Christians and their lack of participation in the political process. There is a popular myth or fairy tale that says Christians, today, should not influence or be involved in politics. We’ve been told that politics are dirty or unspiritual. Perhaps, the only reason that politics have become dirty and unspiritual is because a large majority of Christians have abandoned this God ordained biblical institution.
Proverbs 29:2 gives the basic reason why corruption exists in government. It states …”when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn”. And so it follows that it is not possible to elect righteous folks to govern over us if true Christians are not attempting to run for public office.