“Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:13-17
When it comes to the hot-button moral and political issues of our time, what is the Bible’s stance on Christians diving into politics? In the New Testament, the Bible affirms the Christian’s submission to the governing authorities in several places. At the same time, Scripture tells us to live as servants of God within our communities and country.
Laws that we have, as a system of governing, are designed to bring every citizen under the same process, to establish justice, and to help resolve disputes. Some may argue that laws are a codification of a moral standard, and to a degree this is true. The Ten Commandments teach us that it is a sin to steal, and we have laws against theft that echo this spiritual foundation. In other nations, there are laws that align with other religious beliefs, which we would consider to go against biblical teaching. Sometimes laws are based on social norms or current public opinion. There often exist situations where Christians are subjected to laws that go against their faith or prohibit the free exercise of faith.
With talk of this decision possibly being overturned by a future Supreme Court case, are we to separate our spiritual views from the politics of our culture? 1 Peter 2 instructs us to both love God and honor our government officials. The Bible tells us to do the will of God by doing good. When opportunities arise within our government’s decision-making to support biblical standards, we should do so. And we should celebrate laws and government policies that align with God’s Word. If we believe that our role on earth is to carry out God’s mission and that His will for the world, for each person, and even for the government is the best possible choice, then any place where we can assert His will based on His Word is a good thing. Some might say, “Isn’t this unfair to those with a differing political view?” If God is perfectly just, then “fear God” must come first. God’s will is always the best, most just, most desired direction for anyone and everyone, even if they do not yet know it or believe it.
As we support Christ-affirming policies in our government, we must also “honor everyone,” as 1 Peter 2 commands. In politics, as we assert our Christian views, we must do so respectfully, with humility, and with confidence that what we are standing for is right in the eyes of God. In our social media age, this is all the more difficult, as views on issues like abortion are supremely polarizing. May we continue to, “live as servants of God,” as we advocate for laws and policies that are in keeping with our faith.
God, thank You for Your laws in the Bible. As I look for ways to advocate for laws and policies in my culture that align with Your Word, help me to be a person of humility and respect when dealing with those who disagree with me. I pray for my local, city, and national leaders, that Your Holy Spirit will impress on them the importance of governing in a way consistent with Scripture. In Jesus’ name, amen.