We are 36 days away from the 2016 Presidential elections, and our country – as well as the church – has been divided in every way imaginable by this pathetic circus of modern politics. It’s truly shameful that the adolescent theatrics we’ve been witnessing for more than a year is the best we’ve got as a nation. Truthfully, this ought to alert people to just how far gone we really are in our country.
Yet the majority – even Christians – are still holding onto the USA with a white-knuckled grip and refusing to see the reality that we are DONE as a nation. I venture to guess that the overwhelming majority of Christians will be voting for Donald Trump, based on the 5,763,745,628,735,434,659 posts I see daily on Facebook declaring him to be “the only one who can save us”. (OK, so I exaggerated that number just a bit….but you get my point.) Why is everyone so desperate to choose a side with the world?
Many Christians are genuinely frightened about “the wrong person” winning the election, as if the church will be doomed! Doesn’t anyone see how absurd this is? A wonderful pastor in Texas named Mark Herridge recently said, “People keep asking me, ‘What are we going to do if the wrong person becomes President?’. Let me make it clear to everyone: God is still on the throne! The Church will continue to do what it has always done. We will pray, preach, evangelize, and stand on the Word of God. May I remind all of you that the Church is 2,000 years old and has survived dictatorships, socialism, despotism, communism and anarchy. The Church will go on regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.”
If you’re fearful about who’s going to become President and how it’s going to affect your life, you might be worrying about the wrong life (physical versus eternal). Regardless of who’s President or what’s happening in the world, we are still commanded to obey the Lord and function as members of the Body of Christ. Is the Lord’s arm too short that He can’t provide for us and preserve us through whatever comes? Are we so attached to this world that we can’t endure the thought of losing rights, freedoms and comforts for the Lord’s sake? Why all the fear?? Fear comes from having one’s hope fixed on the wrong “savior”.
Among the myriad of reasons I’ve heard for why Christians should vote, some of the top reasons are things like “to preserve our freedoms”, “ to ensure a better future”, and “to stay God’s hand of judgment on our nation”. Additionally, there’s an attempt to back up Christian voting with scriptural examples, saying it’s our civic duty and obligation because “the apostles voted for Judas’ replacement”, “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”, and “Paul used his Roman citizenship to his advantage”. But are these truly biblical reasons for Christians to be involved in the world’s politics? Let’s examine…
Which Kingdom do we belong to, and to what government are we loyal?
Jesus said of His disciples, in John 17:16, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
Philippians 3:20 says, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In Matthew 6:24 we read, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Mammon, according to Strong’s Concordance, means riches, money, possessions, or treasure that a person trusts in. For many of us, we want to maintain this present life of comfort, freedom, and wealth. Sure, some of us may not be financially wealthy, but if you lost EVERYTHING you’d find out how wealthy you really were. Many can’t bear the thought of losing their television, their vehicle, their morning Starbucks coffee, their gym membership, their hair salon appointments, their Internet, eating at their favorite restaurants. Can we really say this isn’t a factor in our reasons for voting? Or are we trying to fool ourselves?
And Hebrews 11:13-16 says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
Take a close look at the Hebrews passage. It says those saints considered themselves to be strangers and pilgrims on the earth. What kind of strangers and pilgrims passing through get involved in the politics of a place that isn’t even their home? That would seem kind of strange, yes?
Further, it says instead of looking back to that country they came out of, they looked forward to the heavenly country, their real home, and therefore God was not ashamed to be called their God. OUCH. So, the flip side of that would logically be if we keep our eyes fixed on the place we don’t belong to, then He would be ashamed to be called our God, because we look back instead of forward to what God has prepared for us. OUCH again.
Am I trying to save my present life, or laying this one down for the life to come?
Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-25, “Then Jesus said to His disciples,“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
We have a choice, every single day, in every area of our lives, to try to save this life or to lay it down. And this is also true regarding whether or not we should be involved in politics. What’s our true motive for voting? Are we really being honest with ourselves about it? Judging by the reasons I’ve heard, I can safely say the majority are seeking to save this present life. Maintaining freedoms, rights, comforts, and wealth are what drives the majority of Christians to cast their votes. But is that what we’re called to do? Does Jesus desire for us to seek preservation of this present life by political means?
Should I be fighting politically for this present world?
In John 18:36 Jesus said to Pontius Pilate, “Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If My Kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My Kingdom is not from here.”
Jesus made it very clear that His servants would not fight, because His Kingdom is not of this world. So, why would we fight for this present earthly Kingdom when Jesus and His disciples didn’t? If we’re honest, most of us don’t fight hard enough for the Kingdom of the Lord, to win souls and store up eternal treasures. But we will fight tooth and nail to elect a secular president in this world to preserve our (temporary) rights and freedoms?? Maybe it’s just me, but, that seems a little backwards. And unbiblical.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 and 6:33-34, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also….But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
The Lord commands – not suggests – that we focus on His coming Kingdom, to live our lives in anticipation of that Kingdom, and to trust Him to provide for us until we enter into that Kingdom. If our priority is His Kingdom, then there is no room for concerning ourselves with maintaining a hold on this world that is contrary to, and hostile to, the Kingdom of God. No man or woman in an elected office can give us anything better than what God has prepared for those that love Him. And receiving those heavenly treasures just might mean losing this present life. So why do we fight so hard to keep it? Should we not trust the Lord will provide for us and keep His promises?
2 Peter 3:10-13 says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
This world is temporary. Our rights and freedoms are temporary. Our comfort and wealth are temporary. They will be destroyed at the Lord’s coming, and all our efforts to maintain our lifestyle here through politics will have been for naught. There will be no more politics! Everything that was not of faith in Jesus will be burned up and gone! What manner of persons ought we be as we see the day of the Lord approaching? Should we be consumed with Donald Trump “saving us”, or should we be doing the will of God to advance HIS Kingdom?
What was Jesus’ view of politics?
John 6:15, “Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.”
The people wanted to make Jesus their king, but He refused and departed from them. Politics and worldly affairs was not His concern nor reason for coming. Jesus came to bring a spiritual change on an individual level. He came so that men and women could be born again and become citizens of His Kingdom.
Again we look at John 18:36 when Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If My Kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My Kingdom is not from here.”
Jesus wasn’t interested in establishing any sort of Kingdom or rule in this world. He wasn’t looking to change the political landscape and bring social change or legislated morality for the masses. His Kingdom is NOT OF THIS WORLD. Jesus’ purpose wasn’t to reform worldly governments. No, His purpose is to completely overthrow and replace them at His coming!
Revelation 11:15, “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The Kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Isaiah 9:6-7, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Revelation 19:15-16, “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
How did Jesus tell us to change the world around us?
Jesus Himself preached repentance, salvation, and the coming Kingdom, as in Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
We are instructed in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 to be ambassadors of Christ and ministers of reconciliation, “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
Acts 5:29, “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Let us obey the Lord and His Word, to share the gospel and make disciples, rather than listening to the voices of men who say we must fight to preserve this world and this life.
What about the scriptural evidence for voting and political involvement?
“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”
This is based on Matthew 22:15-22, and the context of the passage has absolutely nothing to do with voting or believer’s involvement in politics, and in no way does this passage suggest such a thing. It is about paying taxes. They were trying to trap Jesus with a trick question.
“Paul used his Roman citizenship to his advantage”
This is based on Acts 22:22-29, where Paul tells them he is a Roman citizen. Paul did not in any way use his Roman citizenship in a political way to bring sweeping changes to the society he lived in. Actually, he used his Roman citizenship as a way to ensure an audience with the highest leaders, for the sake of preaching the gospel. Following this passage we find zero evidence that Paul became political in any manner.
“The apostles voted to replace Judas”
This is based on Acts 1:15-26, and has nothing to do with politics and voting. In fact, the apostles cast lots in order to fulfill a prophecy in the Psalms.
“It’s our civic duty and obligation to vote”
I think it’s already been sufficiently proven that there’s no biblical basis for this statement. Actually, our civic duties and obligations according to the scriptures can be summed up in the following verses:
Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
Romans 13:1-7, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment 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.”
Titus 3:1, “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work.”
1 Peter 2:13-14, “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.”
And lastly, let’s take a look at a warning from scripture about endorsing wicked men and women, in 2 John 1:9-11, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”[Some translations say “who encourages him/welcomes him/bid him God speed”; essentially, who agrees with him and accepts him]
Through my own studies, I have come to the conclusion that I, as a citizen of God’s kingdom, have no business becoming entangled in the world’s affairs and concerning myself with preserving this present world. I can’t find one solitary bible verse that tells me I am supposed to cast my lot and put my seal of approval on any wicked person in order to “fulfill my Christian duty”. I will be loyal to the Kingdom of God. THAT is my Christian duty. To obey the Lord and share the gospel and be a light in this dark world by showing Jesus in how I treat people.
This is by no means the most detailed, exhaustive examination of scripture on the matter, and is only meant to provoke thought and to prompt others to really study the Word of God on this matter, and not simply go along with popular opinion and unbiblical justifications. Each person should come to his or her own conclusion based on honest study of the scriptures on any matter. It’s up to each individual to know the what the will of God is, and what it isn’t.
If you choose to participate in this farce known as American politics, that’s between you and God – but don’t come telling me that I’m not acting biblically by refraining from participating in this madness, because I beg to differ and so does the bible.