Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We The People

It has been brought to my attention that many of our Christian young people are confused about their involvement in politics. 

Most believers recognize that abortion, homosexuality, or stealing from one to give to another is wrong.  However, the question tossed around in our colleges and among our Christian young people is this:  Is it right for me to push my beliefs onto other people?  The words of a graduated college student were, "I believe it is not the Church's job to dictate these issues to a free nation."  The individual was in a quandary, therefore, over whether or not to vote. 

The following is my response to the above question.  Much of this content I have taken from a letter my husband wrote in reply to the student's questions. 

Voting and dictating are two very different things.  The Church is called to proclaim Christ and to influence others for His glory, "to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything Christ commands."  (Matt. 28:19-20)   If we stand aloof while our nation promotes homosexual  activity, abortion, or stealing, then our nation will spiral downward with evil running rampant as in the days of Noah.  One purpose for the Holy Spirit indwelling His church on the earth is to hold back evil, to be a light spread into a dark place. (Matt. 5:13-16; John 16:7-11)

The United States is a constitutional republic which recognizes that the power of the government is in the consent of the governed:  "Of the people, by the people, and for the people", as President Lincoln put it.  "We the people", must reward and encourage righteousness.  (Rom. 13:1-7)  We must also recognize that we are a free nation under God.  The improper exercise of any freedom will result in destruction, thus one reason our "free" nation has so many laws. 

Until now, we have had Christian candidates to choose from.  This year is different.  On the one hand we have a theist who claims Christ, but sympathizes with Muslims and acts counter to the morality Christ teaches.  On the other hand we have a Mormon, who, while morally similar to Christianity, may believe he himself is destined for deity and that Christ is a created being rather than the Creator. 

This brings up the question of what to do with the lesser of two evils.  But Phil. 4:8 suggests we search for the good, not the evil.  And when choosing men, we always must deal with evil, for "all have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."  (Rom. 3:12)

However, we recognize that even fallen men can do good.  We see this in the life of David, a God fearing man, as 1Kings 15:5 states, "David had done what was right in the eyes of the LORD and had not failed to keep any of the LORD's commands all the days of his life--except in the case of Uriah the Hittite."

We also see this demonstrated in the life of Nebuchadnezzar, an ungodly king, who was instrumental in carrying out God's purpose for the people of God.  The nation of Judah was told to submit to him and acknowledge him as their leader.  Though not a believer, for the most part, he ruled righteously.

Therefore, we must choose the candidate who recognizes good as defined by God.  According to James 4:17,  "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them."  To sit back and remain passive in an election because we do not agree on all points with a candidate, or because he is not a believer may not be the best.  Seek after righteousness first.  (Matt. 6:33)

That said, keep in mind that our own actions have considerably more influence on the lives of those near to us than anyone in public office.  We must be certain we ourselves are practicing righteousness through the power of Christ and that we keep our fellow believers accountable to His laws as well.  If a brother or sister is found to be at fault we are to gently correct with the purpose of bringing them back into right relationship with God, which is the meaning of righteousness.  God's laws are absolute truth, good not only for believers, but for the unbeliever as well.

We must also recognize that true change in behavior comes only from a changed heart brought about through repentance and forgiveness of sin in the blood of Jesus.  Therefore, our campaigning for Christ will have a far greater outcome than our support for any mere man in any earthly office.

In conclusion, the short version is this:  Look for the good in each candidate (Phil. 4:8), engage the political process, (Rom. 13:1-7), and support righteousness. (Matt. 6:33)  At all times remember that God is in control, (Rev. 15:3), while we proclaim Christ to the nations. (Matt. 28:19-20)  It does matter that we vote intelligently, that we actively engage, and that we promote what is right.  Before God, we all have these responsibilities. 

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