Recognizing that positively influencing civil government is a biblical responsibility, what should serve as our motivation for political engagement? The answer, biblically speaking, is that our participation in politics should flow out of our love for God and love for neighbor.
Jesus was once approached by a Pharisee who asked him, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40).
Indeed, our love for God should compel us to reassert the Lordship of Christ over all things—including civil government. Jesus is King of all existence. God created government to serve Him by acting as His ministers of civil justice. Therefore, it is the duty of Christians to make sure government fulfills the purpose for which it was created. We should champion a vision of government where God is honored and His eternal standard of justice, as revealed in Scripture and general revelation, is maintained.
Moreover, the divine mandate to “love our neighbor” should compel us to seek the good of our neighbor. One necessary means of accomplishing this is through the political process. Let us not forget the wisdom of the Bible, which says, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). We need to elect godly leaders who fulfill the requirements given in Scripture for those who hold office: qualified, Godfearing, trustworthy, and virtuous (Exodus 18:21).
Another way to tangibly demonstrate our godly love for our neighbors is through promoting public policy that produces human flourishing. God wants every person to reach his or her highest potential as His image bearer. This will not happen if government inverts its purpose and promotes that which God calls evil while punishing that which God calls good.
Our neighbors are blessed—and God is glorified—when we faithfully discharge our biblical responsibility to elect righteous leaders with a biblical worldview and then hold them accountable once they are in office.