Should we be more engaged in politics as Christians?
This matter deeply concerns what you understand about the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is Jesus’ rule. So has the kingdom of God already come, or is it coming? My answer is yes. Jesus when he was here on earth said the kingdom of God is near you (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15; Luke 10: 8-11; 21:31).
At the same time, the kingdom of God has not completely arrived. There will be a time in the end times when Jesus will reign on this earth physically for 1000 years. Then the kingdom of God will be more readily observable.
God’s kingdom is in our hearts. His kingdom right now is pervasive against the kingdoms of the world. It expands one person at a time as Christians share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ rule begins in the heart of a human being and then extends through that person to the rest of the world.
When I was in college and seminary I was told there are two things I’m not allowed to talk about in casual conversation or even preach from the pulpit. I’m not allowed to talk about religion, even though I am a pastor. But I’m also not allowed to preach about politics from the pulpit because it would endanger our tax exemption as a church.
But the prophets in the Old Testament were not that way at all. In fact one of the reasons for the office of the prophets was to keep the kings in check in Israel. I’m not saying that we necessarily have that kind of system in America today. But there are times when a preacher should address political issues without choosing the side of a party.
We as Christians must be watching what happens in our politics. No one party is right or godly in everything. Historically, Christians have been chastised for choosing a side. For example, in the years leading up to World War II, the German church backed Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.
There was a man named Dietrich Bonhoeffer who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler because he saw everything that was happening as ungodly and unchristian. He was killed before he could carry out his plan.
We must have wisdom and discern the politics of our nations. Some people have their heads in the sand and have no idea what is going on in the nation. Other Christians have become “Hitmen for Jesus.” They are extreme activists that are so deeply involved in our politics that they forget the kingdom of God.
This world is not our home as Christians. We are citizens of heaven first and then citizens of an earthly country second. We must first consider God’s kingdom and God’s rule before we consider anything else.
The Bible requires us to submit to and obey earthly leaders in the government (Romans 13:1-7). But if they command us to do something against Scripture and God’s laws, we must resist. We don’t have to resist with weapons. We can resist in other ways.
Jesus calls us to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). We can’t make a difference if we don’t know what we are battling against in the world system, society, culture, and the evil forces controlling this world at this time.
How can we produce seasoned conversations if we have no idea what’s happening in our world? How can we bring the light of Jesus to the darkness of this world if we don’t step out and shine a light?
So how involved should we get? There is a balance to being involved in this world. We are not of this world and we do not agree with its principles or actions. But we live in this world for the time being. Until Jesus returns, we are agents of his kingdom on earth.
Remember the principle that we do not fight against flesh and blood but against the principalities of evil in the world (Ephesians 6:12). There is a way to fight and an enemy to fight. We must fight the right battles at the right times and wage the right war with the right weapons.
Don’t be an activist who has their heads so attached to the politics of our age that they forget the kingdom of God and the importance of serving Christ. We can become so zealous for the wrong things. God wants to use our zealous nature for his glory and kingdom.
At the same time, don’t put your head in the sand as a Christian. Don’t expect that this government or that government is a perfect government on earth. The only perfect government is that which belongs to our Lord Jesus.
But we must know what is going on in our world so that we can be the prophetic voice, the truth tellers, that the world will not hear anywhere else. They must hear it from the ambassadors of Christ.
We must know what is going on so that we can speak to the issues and to this age. We must represent Christ and apply his godly principles to this ungodly world. We hang in the balance between heaven and earth and our politics must resemble those of Christ.
To maintain that healthy balance it is best for all of us to consult the Holy Spirit in prayer and God’s Word. Whatever he says about our involvement in politics we must obey..