A Blessing and a Responsibility
We are living in a country where we can choose those who will rule over us. That right has been bought and paid for by the blood of those who have fought for our freedoms. Yet there are many in the United States that take it for granted. That includes many Christians. Recent studies show that 2 of every 5 Christians took that right for granted and did not vote. About 1 in 5 eligible Christians are not even registered to vote at all.
Also, there are some Christians who say that we shouldn't vote. They reason that government is part of the world system ruled by Satan and we mustn't participate. These people would further say that it is a myth that we can bring peace, prosperity and happiness to the world by voting. They tell us you can't fix the world, or even improve it.
The truth is that Christians will never usher in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ by progressively making it better. That will only happen when Jesus returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And the world system is indeed ruled by Satan, who is called the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). However, that doesn't mean that we are not to have anything to do with government. And if Christians can't make this world better by participating in society, then we wouldn't be called to be salt and light in this world. Salt is a preservative, and light dispels the darkness of sin. Thus, we can improve things, in some way, just by being here and doing something (Matthew 5:13-16).
I. Government is Ordained by God
Scripture, far from telling us to have nothing to do with government, tells us to submit to it. Our Lord, when asked if it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, said this: "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21).
And Paul takes it even farther in Romans 13 when he says this:
"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are ordained by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgement on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due; taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor" (1-7).
The apostle Peter has something similar to say in his epistle. He tells us:
"Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good" (I Peter 2:13,14).
The only exception that is given in Scripture for obedience to government, is when obedience to it would cause us to disobey God. In this case we are to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29).
II. Christians are to Pray for Their Government
Paul tells Christians that prayers should be made for all men. Then he gets more specific. Prayers are to be made:
"for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peacable life in all godliness and reverence, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior..." (I Timothy 2:2,3).
From this, it would appear that those who are in authority can make life more peaceful for all of us, thus improving our lives.
III. Democracy is Government by the People
From what we've stated, it is obvious that God is pro-government. He intended it to maintain the peace, promote good, and punish evil. Today, we are living in a special type of government where the people have control. The definition of a democracy is "A government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives." In a real sense, we govern ourselves. This means that rendering unto Caesar would include participating in the government by electing those who would lead us.
And as we stated earlier, we are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. It is our duty to be a positive influence in the society in which we live. And that influence brings glory to our Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16).
We have truly been blessed in this society in which we live. God has allowed us to create a government in which we can promote God's will through our votes. Christians in some other countries are oppressed by the governments in which they live. Their leaders hate their faith and try to silence their voices. Those who would preach the gospel, do so at the risk of their very lives. The sad thing is that this could happen in the United States as well. But it hasn't yet. We still have a voice.
Today, in a real sense, there are those who want to drive the name of Jesus Christ totally out of our society. Voting gives us the ability to keep these people from winning and allows us to preserve and protect the freedoms that we have been given by Almighty God.
It has been said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. May we be ever vigilant and protect the voice that God has given us in our government. In doing this, it will allow us to continue to "lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence" (I Timothy 2:1,2). And ultimately, it will permit us the freedom to continue to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ unhindered, both in this society and throughout the world.
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