Text: 1 Peter 2:13-17 | Listen to Message
Our nation’s political and civic life is riddled with acrimony. We don’t just disagree anymore; we are rudely disrespectful, bitter, and malicious toward one another. We tend to ignore and justify the flaws of our own party/politicians/tribe while exaggerating the flaws of the other. We are deeply divided and arrogant.
Given how contentious this situation has become, how should Christians view politics and civic life?
Should we compete for positions of power or should we surrender power?
Should we infiltrate politics by running for office or is politics no place for Christians?
Should we seek to engage in and even influence the conversation or should we disengage?
Should we submit to unbiblical laws or should we practice civil disobedience?
Should we attempt to force our morality on others or should we live and let live?
These are not black and white issues, to be sure. But 1 Peter 2:13-17 shows us that the Gospel creates model citizens who take a default posture of obedience, respect, and engagement for the common good.
While our specific gestures and reactions must be highly nuanced, our default posture is to respect and obey our God-given authorities. If we’re honest with ourselves, we can maintain this posture more often than not.
Our priority is to do the will of God from the heart – and God explicitly says his will is for us to be submissive and respectful as much as possible. Only when an earthly authority requires us to violate a law of God are we permitted to obey God at the expense of obeying man.
Our purpose is to minimize criticism of the Christian life and to maximize our witness for Christ. Both our authorities and our peers should see that we are the best possible citizens of whatever earthly kingdoms we find ourselves in.
Our Gospel perspective is that we are free in Christ with a freedom no earthly power can give or take away. We neither boast when we have power, nor tremble when we lack power, for our true power comes through a relationship with Jesus.
And, therefore, our practice is to fear God, to get in the habit of giving respect and justice to everyone, and to work for the common good.
Is this what Christians are known for as we interact with politics and civic life? If not, then what needs to change today so that our lives reflect our confidence in the Gospel of Christ?