I have heard much of my life that political involvement is a step down from the will of God for your life. That mindset is at the heart of the problem. The church has almost willingly removed their influence from the government – while at the same time, they complain about the verbiage of separation of church and state is not in the Constitution. I agree that is not found there; however, we have given lip-service to the claim for far too long, it is about time that we step up and take action for the things that we believe in.
So, lets examine biblical examples of involvement:
One of the best examples of how a Christian should relate to Politics and involvement is by looking at Jesus and his response to paying taxes.
“Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.” ~ Matthew 20:17-22
By Christ’s response here, He was teaching them, and by extension us that there are two spheres of influence, one being civil government and the other being the spiritual influence in the people of God’s lives. Jesus was telling the people that some things, such as the taxes, belong to the government and are necessary to the function of the government. He also establishes that other things are controlled by the church and the government should be hands off.
Under the law of the Old Testament, there was not a clear distinction between the two, because Israel was established as a Theocracy. The only reason they ever had kings was because of the rebellion of the people from the way that God had established the country. Here in the New Testament, Jesus was drawing a clear distinction between the two which would have implications for the rest of human history. His teachings implied that civil government should give people freedom regarding their faith.
Daniel is a great example because his influence on the government and the king was not the government or the king of the nation of Israel. These were not the people of God that he was influencing.
“Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.” ~ Daniel 4:27
Daniel here shows us that he is counseling the King…King Nebuchadnezzar. He did not pander to the king and tell him what he wanted to hear, nor did he keep silent. He spoke boldly and told the king to break away from the sins that he was committing and the sins of the nation – and to pursue righteousness. He told the king to abandon his iniquities and the iniquities of the nation – and to show mercy to the poor.
At the time Daniel said this, he was an official in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. He was a ruler over the whole province of Babylon and the chief prefect over all the wise men in Babylon. In Daniel 2:48, we see that Daniel was regularly at the king’s court; therefore, we can conclude that Daniel had great influence in the decisions made by the king.
John the Baptist
Matthew’s gospel records how John the Baptist stood up the the evil ruler of Galilee, Herod Antipas, and rebuked him for the personal sins of his life.
“For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.” ~Matthew 14:3-4
John the Baptist was put to death because of his bold proclamations; however, he did the right thing. He condemned the immoral actions of the leadership in his country and their wrongful governmental policies.
Another great example is the Apostle Paul. While in prison he stood before the Roman governor Felix.
“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” ~Acts 24:24-25
It would be foolish to think that Paul only reasoned with Felix about the personal things in his life. He surely reasoned with him about his influence in the government. Felix trembled because of the judgement of God that was coming because of both areas.
We could look at many other examples including, but not limited to Joseph, David, Solomon, Mordecai, and Esther.
We have many examples in the Bible to prove with out any doubt that God not only wants, but even expects Christians to be involved in civil government. That is not to say we should all be in office, but our voices must be heard.