By John Sykes
This is extracted from "The Limits of Politics" in an attempt to provide a brief scriptural guide to understanding the limits of politics. I urge you to read the whole paper which has taken me a long way in understanding why Christians must involve themselves in politics.
(1) Necessary but not Necessarily Evil
Romans 13:3-4: For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.
(2) To Establish Order
1 Chronicles 28:19: All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the LORD’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.
(3) … but not to Define Order
Daniel 4:27: Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”
(4) To Promote Goodness
Genesis 1:31: God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
(5) …but not Make Us Good
“What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.
(6) To Ensure Justice
Deuteronomy 16:20: Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.
(7) … but not to Create Arbitrary Standards
Amos 2:4: This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Judah, even for four, I will not relent. Because they have rejected the law of the LORD and have not kept his decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed…
After strongly recommending again that you please read the whole article, I close with a quote from the author:
This is not a call for theocracy. This is a call for good government and for politics that functions within the limits of order, goodness and justice that are defined for in the scriptures.