A few thoughts about the election and the solemn duty we have as citizens of our country.
Voting (as we know it) is not mandated or commanded in the Bible. However, we are called to ‘render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God, the things that are God’s.’ (Mark 12:17) This is a remarkable admonition from our Lord given the culture and government of the Roman Empire. The Roman government was anything but friendly toward its citizens. Soon enough, it would become deadly for the followers of Christ. But the time of Jesus, the Empire was at peace, the Pax Romana. And even though the Peace of Rome came with steep military enforcement supported by a wide-spread tax base, Jesus made it clear: Pay your taxes. Is it too much a thing to vote?
- Chapters 13:
The two extremes of what the government is capable of are located in two places in the Bible, both of them are in the 13th chapter of their own New Testament book. In Romans 13, we find that God uses those in authority for carrying out the matters of justice. So a Romans 13 government is ‘under’ the power of God. But in Revelation 13, we see that the government has been thoroughly perverted and has become the enemy of God; it is The Beast, it is #666. This continuum describes governmental actions across the centuries. Sometimes it is obedient to God; sometimes it opposes and rebels against God. And what does God do? Read Psalm 2:4. (It is not funny.) Read also Proverbs 21:1. (God is in control)
- Serpents and Doves:
Jesus was not a push-over when it came to interacting with the culture. Remember, he sent his disciples out into the mission field knowing that it would be dangerous for them; kings and magistrates would make their lives and witness a living hell. His instruction for any believer entering the mission field or the culture is to ‘wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.’ (Matthew 10:16) Be both shrewd and simple, cunning and unsullied.
- The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Last week I posted a blog article: The Vote: The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. I referred to an excellent and hopeful piece written by Dr. Ramesh Richard. I’ll meet him for coffee tomorrow and thank him for his encouraging words.
- Gandalf’s Encouragement:
Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work, Frodo, than the will of evil.
- A Distant Mirror:
We can always find hope for the future by looking in the past. Read this paragraph from an article in The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics. I found it very helpful.
The Demands of Biblical Citizenship
Christians, at times, find the demands of biblical citizenship challenging. It is difficult to pray for political leaders who have a dissolute character, mock righteousness and the fear of God, lack the skills and temperament essential for public service, have a casual relationship with the truth, are tainted by public corruption, and advocate principles and policies incompatible with biblical standards.
The presidential contests of 1800 and 1804, more than most elections in American history, provoked consternation and controversy among Christians regarding how best to model biblical citizenship in the electoral process. The leading candidate and eventual victor in the campaigns, Thomas Jefferson, was regarded by many as an infidel or even an atheist who repudiated the essential doctrines of Christianity (including the divine origins and authority of Scripture) and allied himself with avowed enemies of Christianity (that is, French revolutionaries).
A few days before the election of 1804, a columnist wrote a brief meditation, entitled “A Solemn Thought,” which was published in a New York newspaper and republished in other influential periodicals. Drawing attention to the awesome responsibilities of biblical citizenship, the anonymous writer implored his compatriots to pray earnestly when exercising their right to vote.
He urged his fellow citizens to pray the following before entering the voting booth on election day:
Almighty God and heavenly Father. I am called, in thy providence, to transact this day a business with which thy glory, and the welfare of mankind, are intimately connected. Be pleased, most graciously, to counsel and direct me. Remove far from me all passion, prejudice, and selfish views. May he for whom I vote be approved of thee, and be made instrumental in advancing the kingdom of him who hath loved me and given himself for me. Enable me by thy holy spirit so to act as to have the testimony of a good conscience, and find acceptance with thee through the merits of my blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In a closing benediction, an editor added: “Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord [Ps. 144:15].”
Praying together with you,