Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Romans 13:1-7 The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 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 he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
1Pet. 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
It is no surprise to anyone that has been watching the news that this year is an election year in America. In my opinion, this is one of the most important elections in modern history. Much is at stake, and who would have ever predicted that people like Sanders and Trump would be so popular?
Some Christians choose to remain disconnected from politics and do not think it is something that should concern us. I disagree. I believe Christ-followers should not only vote, but also be involved in the process. I believe one reason we have lost so many of our Christian freedoms in this country is because we have been standing idly by as they have been taken from us.
Do I believe in the “separation of church and state”? Yes, but the true meaning of that phrase is to keep the state out of the church and not the church out of the state. This phrase was used in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists in 1801, assuring them that the government would not interfere with their ministry. It has nothing to do with Christians and biblical truth staying out of politics and the government.
God ordained government as the vehicle through which a country would be protected, and the means by which evil would be punished and good rewarded (see 1 Peter 2:14). So for those who say you cannot “legislate morality,” the government absolutely can and should legislate morality. We already do. We legislate that killing and stealing and cheating on our taxes is wrong, and it is punished. That is legislating morality.
And where do we learn what is moral and immoral? Unless we have an objective standard of truth (i.e. Bible), we are left up to our own determination, and that is sadly what is happening in our country today. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12). Our country was clearly founded upon the Bible as the source of truth and morality. Our first President George Washington said, “It is impossible to govern a nation without God and the Bible.”
So, concerning this election, who should we vote for? This is obviously between each person and the Lord. Much prayer should go into this decision. And we must be informed. It is important to look not only at a candidate’s view on issues, but also at his/her character and record. Since the government is to punish the evil and reward the good, it would certainly help if the leader had a strong moral compass. Therefore, look at the kind of life they have lived and decisions they have made.
How important is it to me that the candidate is a Christian? It is not the ultimate issue for me but it is an important one. Since a true Christ-follower has the indwelling Holy Spirit in him/her (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13), this will be very helpful in making important decisions. What better asset in making important decisions than the power and presence of Almighty God in the person of the Holy Spirit?
So for me, here are some important questions I am going to be asking as I prayerfully decide who to vote for in this year’s election?
1. Are they a committed follower of Jesus?
2. Where do they stand on biblical, moral issues such as abortion, gay marriage, care for the poor, national defense, the economy, education, taxes, religious liberty, etc. Why these issues? Because I believe each of these are very important issues: abortion shows one’s value for life, and this carries over to many other issues and decisions; gay marriage reveals one’s understanding of a biblical family, for families are the bedrock of a society; care for the poor and how to do that exposes one’s compassion and how to truly help the needy; national defense because the government’s role is to protect the citizens and the values that helped to form this great country; the economy because God’s Word provides principles for economics and it is NOT that the government provide everything for the people, without them having to work for it if they are able (see 2 Thessalonians 3:10); education because God wants us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus; taxes because we are to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s; and religious liberty because Jesus calls us to preach the word, fellowship together and evangelize the nations, and our country has historically given great freedom to do this.
3. What can I learn about their character from their marriage(s), family, business practices, previous decisions, beliefs about moral issues, etc.?
4. What kind of advisors will they surround themselves with?
5. What kind of person(s) would they appoint for the Supreme Court?
6. Who will best facilitate righteousness in the land, for God says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34).
When we honor God’s Word and God’s standards, He blesses. Our nation’s history has proven this to be the case. And when we dishonor God’s Word and God’s standards, we eventually come under His judgment. We are getting closer and closer to experiencing His judgment.
Because of how far our country is drifting from God, I believe this election is one of, if not THE most, important elections in our history. We are headed down a very dangerous path, with very tragic results, if we do not turn back to God and his principles. Those in governmental leadership affect our nation in tremendous ways.
We do not put our ultimate trust in Washington to turn this great country around. 2 Chronicles 7:14 puts that responsibility on the shoulders (and knees!) of God’s people. Revival will come from prayer and the preaching of the Word, and not from Washington. However, it is very important who we vote for to be our leaders in Washington (and locally). It is not an either/or, but a both/and!
May God sovereignly raise up the next President to honor Him, lead with courage and wisdom, protect our religious liberties, and surround him/herself with other humble and wise leaders. For the glory of God and the fulfillment of the Great Commission, may God bless America.
I welcome your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.