Since today is the election, I thought it would be good for us to review some biblical perspectives on government and politics as we vote and await the results of this year’s election.
Almost since the beginning of time, there have been some sort of governing authorities that have ruled the earth. Whether it be kings, a government, or a leader out of a group of people, government is all around us. The Bible speaks clearly on the way to obey and respect government, so that is what we are going to study this time.
We must realize that all authority comes from God. Romans 13:1-2 tells us this, “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. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Therefore, if we resist the governing authorities, we resist God. Just as Paul reminds Titus in Titus 3:1, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work”, we should obey rulers and those in authority.
However, what about what Peter says in Acts 5:29, “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”” Is this a contradiction? The answer would be no. In the situation Peter was in, the Sanhedrin had given them strict orders not to teach in the name of Jesus. What was Peter’s response? He will obey God rather than the government. Even though we should respect and obey the government, if the government comes in conflict with God’s Word, then God’s Word rises above the government. We should obey God if the government comes in conflict with God’s Word.
We must also realize that God is the ultimate ruler over the earth. Psalm 22:28 says, “For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.” This is a powerful message that we all need to remember as we live our lives. It may seem as though the governing authorities have all the power, but they have so little, compared to God’s all-powerful rule.
In conclusion, we should respect the governing authorities God has set in place. However, when those authorities rebel against God, we should not follow them. The words of Peter should always ring in our minds, “We must obey God rather than men”.
Politics has always been and always will be a central location for debate, arguments, and offenses. The world of politics is ruthless and has become corrupt in it’s own right. Selfishness, power, greed, and every kind of wickedness can be found in politics. It seems as though the political turmoil continues to spiral out of control and into more darkness. So if there is all this evil in politics, should Christians pay attention or be involved in politics? Should Christians, from a biblical standpoint, have anything to do with politics? Well let’s dive in to see what we can learn.
When it comes to policies, parties, and most of all, people, Christians are no exception when it comes to the ruthless criticism in the world of politics. Christians will say things about a party or say horrible things about other people that are not right. This cannot and should not be as Christians. If we are to be a light as Matthew 5 tells us to be, how can we accomplish that goal if we act in darkness? Ephesians 4:29 tells us, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”. When we talk a politician or presidential candidate down we are talking corruptly. Thus, we are acting no better than those who we complain about. We must not be the ones to do the corrupt talking, or else we are no better off than the people we speak of.
There are politicians and leaders of our country out there who defiantly stand against God, the Bible, and the values of Christians. There is no denying that fact. However, when Jesus taught about loving those who are against us, what did he teach us to do? Let’s look at Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. The first instinct with this passage is to say, “yes, but God you can’t mean…” and fill in the blank. But Jesus did not distinguish. Jesus says love your enemies. All of them. Every single one. He tells us to love them and to pray for them. How can we love someone who does evil and may even persecute us? Just think about how God loved you and continues to love you when we sin against Him. We have given God plenty of chances to abandon us and given Him good reason to stop loving us because of how much we have wronged Him. Yet every single time, God forgives and wants us back (1 John 1:9). So the next time you are badmouthing some politician, think about how many times you have wronged God and how He still loves you. That is how we need to be with those in our government. We need to love them because they make decisions that impact our lives. They are God’s creation as well and He still loves them, and we should also.
This does not mean that we have to like and adore everything they do. We should not give up our values because we are supposed to love them. The most important thing we can do for our government and our politicians is to pray for them. If we want our politicians to make the right decisions for ourselves and our country, we should be praying for just that. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”. Our request should be that God will give our leaders wisdom to lead and that He will raise up righteous people to govern our states and country. Instead of complaining about those in power, we need to start praying for those in power.
We need to be respectful, kind, and gracious when we talk about anyone, especially those in political power. However, times come when we should not give in to governing authorities because of our faith. With the coronavirus pandemic, it seems Christians are being persecuted and not allowed to meet at their church buildings and this is causing chaos in communities across the country. We must remember one important fact, the church is not the building, the church is you and me (Romans 12:5). If they tell us we cannot meet at the building for a short time, there is no need for upheaval. We will respect their decision and we as the church will grow stronger because we are reminded of the fact that we are the church and the building means nothing. 1 Corinthians 3:17 says, “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple”. Paul tells the Corinthians that they are the temple, we are the temple. He says that the wrath of God will come upon those who destroy us, not a physical temple, but those who embody the presence of the temple which is the people of Jesus. This shows that we are more important than a building or temple, because we are the temple.
In conclusion, we should be careful what we say, pray for our leaders, and practice being the church. Politics is a world of hatred, power, and selfishness. We should do our best to pray for those who are in power and be careful not to fall into the trap of corruption. That is not to say a Christian should not be a politician, rather those who are not in politics should pray and encourage when possible.