Some Matters For Reflection Before You Vote

America is an extremely rare and fragile experiment in world history. In all of human history, only a handful of nations have given their citizens the privilege of exercising a true voice in government. It also goes without saying that this week’s election is one of great import in the history of our nation and, indeed, the world. As Christians, we would do well to think about government issues from a Biblical perspective.

Some Christians evidently believe that it is their God-given duty to promote a particular candidate or party as if their chosen candidates are the saviors of the nation. Anyone opposing them or their political views becomes a de facto heretic. Other believers maintain that Christians should remain absolutely silent in all political matters. I believe the best course is to be found between these two extremes. We had better not remain silent when God’s word has spoken (Jude 3), but we dare not bind matters of judgment where God has not bound (cf. Deut. 4:2).

This much is sure: we are to use wise and Biblical judgment when we vote, since we will all give account to God for what we support in this life, as well as for our motives in doing so (2 Cor. 5:9-10). In fact, the Bible has a great deal to say about what we should consider when voting:

The Will of God — Two things are certain regarding the will of God. First, it IS possible to know God’s will, because He has revealed it in Scripture (cf. 1 Cor. 2:11-12; John 8:32; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Second, Christians are to be about the business of promoting the will of God in whatever ways they can, in harmony with Scripture (1 Cor. 10:31; Matt. 27:36; Col. 3:17). God’s word speaks clearly on current “hot-potato” political issues like marriage (Matt. 19:3-9; Genesis 1-2), homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-31; 1 Cor. 6:9-11), and abortion and reproductive rights issues [e.g. human cloning] (Prov. 6:17; Jer. 1:5; Lk. 1:44) to name just a few. God’s word also speaks more generally about His concern for the moral character of nations (cf. Prov. 14:34; Amos 5:24; Obadiah 2-3). Therefore, if God has revealed His will, and if Christians are to promote His will, then it seems obvious that we should pay special attention to issues directly pertaining to Scripture (the will of God) when we vote.

The Sovereignty of God — It is strange how so many Christians seem to believe in “separation of church and state” when the Bible makes it abundantly clear that, “God rules in the kingdoms of men” (Daniel 4:17,25). Jesus said to Pontius Pilate, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11). The Bible says, “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). With patriotism in our hearts we often sing, “God bless America,” and God has indeed blessed America with wealth, opportunity, and freedom. But when we vote, we had better seriously contemplate the question: “What kind of America can we really expect God to continue to bless?”

Authority of Government — No matter who wins the upcoming election, Christians have a responsibility before God to respect the authority of government and obey the laws of the land (cf. Rom. 13:1-7). We have a responsibility to pray always, “for kings and all who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Let us all commit ourselves to loving God supremely (Matt. 22:37), and to considering Him in all the decisions we make. —JB