Pastor Brad Hales
We’re in the center of a frenzy. Colorful signs with bold names adorn yards and are situated by the sides of roads. An endless stream of glossy postcards with messages of pro and con arrive daily in our postal boxes. Robo calls invade our homes day and night trying to convince us of appeal and support. Passionate believers knock at our doors, extolling the virtues of their worthwhile candidates. It’s election time for our constitutional republic.
On Tuesday, November 7, we will hopefully traverse to the polls, vote, and exercise our personal responsibility. And this certainly includes people of faith. I know the old saying that you should never speak of “religion and politics” in mixed company. Some will even claim the supremacy of “The Separation of Church and State” as a constitutional construct, even though it is never mentioned at all in our nation’s governing document. Yes, in our U.S. Constitution, it clearly communicates that there will be no establishment of a “State Church.” But it also relates that we have a free exercise of religion. So, it is imperative that believers in the living God do vote, run for office, be active in government, and have our voices heard in the political process.
Holy Scripture is filled with a multitude of references concerning a Christian’s involvement with the civil authorities. In the Gospel of Matthew 22:21 Jesus says, “Therefore render to Caesar that things that are Caesar’s, and to God that things that are God’s.” While Jesus is calling us to worship and serve the Father God, the Lord is also compelling us to support, and be active with our communities and government. Christians have a dual citizenship in both heaven and earth. That’s why it is also written In Romans 13:7, “Pay to all what is due to them-taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.” The Apostle Paul also compels us in I Timothy 2:1-3 to continually pray for our governmental leaders as he writes, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” We may not always like the person elected to a specific office, but we must pray for our representative’s success and safety.
It should be second nature for people of faith to be involved in the political process, since government was instituted by God himself. In Roman 13:1 it is written “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.” Obviously, believers in Christ will have differing opinions when it comes to candidates and policies. That’s true. But this doesn’t give an individual Christian the right to stay at home and not vote. Believers in the living Savior are being called by faith and freedom to make an impact upon the community. Why? We’ve been freed by the blood of the lamb, and we’ve been freed by the sacrifice on battlefields both at home and abroad.
I know that we may be tiring of the current political rhetoric. I know that we may be frustrated and agitated at times of what we hear and see in our civil discourse. But as people of faith in Jesus Christ, we are called to participate in our governmental process, and make the lives around us better. As it is written in I Peter 2:13-17, “For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honor everyone, Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”