Allan R. Bevere has been formative in my understanding of politics, and his book, The Politics of Witness: The Character of the Church in the World spells out well what I think is the error of both the religious right and religious left: allegiance and commitment to entities which by their very nature, cannot be allied with what has been called, “the politics of Jesus.” God’s grace and kingdom come in Jesus is not from this world, and in a sense is not of this world, when referring to what scripture calls, “the world” along with “the flesh” and “the devil.” Yet it is for this world.
The gospel meaning good news is as big as all creation in the new creation come in Jesus. It can be known only in and through Jesus as Lord and Savior. And in and through Jesus’ body, the church. King Jesus is the one through whom one politic will stand when all others have ended, think of the visions in Daniel depicting the end of worldly kingdoms by the kingdom of God. Through Jesus which in meaning includes all revealed in scripture about him, we find the answer to all of life, not only about forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God, but also the purpose for all creation realized in the new creation in him.
Going back to Genesis we find that humankind is unique in that it is created in God’s image: male and female. And as such, humankind is given the calling to rule over all the earth, essentially to be stewards of God’s good gifts for the good of all and to the glory of God. This is getting at the heart of what salvation is all about. It is not only saving us from our sins, but also for love to God and to others, and in accordance with God’s design for life in what will end up being the new heaven and new earth, in scripture that being a garden and a city. Jesus will be King of kings, so that in the government to come, humans will take their place in God’s order for all things, an order which will bring humans to their full potential as flourishing individuals living in community in a love from God which changes all: from the hearts of individuals, to every system in place.
To the present: evil is very much at work in the world, and we’re told that it will be so to the end until King Jesus returns. The call for us now in King Jesus is to take the way of the cross, the way of death and resurrection, to enact along with proclamation, the gospel of King Jesus. With that, God has ordained the state (Romans 13) to bear the sword, as it says, against evil doers, yes. And also with responsibility to enact justice as best they can, with an emphasis we find in scripture to see that the needs of the poor and helpless are met.
What worldly governments do then, is important in God’s eyes. But while the church can hopefully influence such for good, simply by being faithful to its calling from God, the church of necessity, must beware emptying the good news of its power by looking to the power and prestige of worldly authorities. Our King over any other authority we may be under in this life is Jesus. Jesus is our Lord, and Caesar is not. We comply to Caesar insofar as that is the will of King Jesus. And that will seems to be one of living in an alternative kingdom, which can’t be aligned with earthly kingdoms, but brings heaven down to earth in and through Jesus.
This is something of my sketch at present for what is indeed important in this life as well as the life to come. Politics as in the ordering of society for the good of all in God’s good will in Jesus.