A Christian and Politics

The sovereign authority of Almighty God over the kingdoms of men is proclaimed everywhere in the Scriptures. Nations are motivated to act by Divine will, just as they are likewise restrained by the same will (Exo 34:24). Daniel is the most specific in his declaration that even the appointments are at His discretion, and these may, according to His will, include even “the basest of men”(Dan 4:17). It would be difficult for the Christian to be so in touch with the mind of God that he or she would know when to vote for the basest of men, because that is His will for the occasion. The lesson here is that the appointment is His and His alone and He allows neither advisors nor assistants in the execution of His will.

John 18:36 – The Servant

When the Lord Jesus stood before Pilate and declared the extra-terrestrial nature of His kingdom, He expressly stated that His servants would not become involved in promoting Him to authority by the normal means of His day. Because His kingdom is “not of this world,” the methods for spreading the principles of that kingdom are spiritual, and not according to the methods of this world. Given that the methods of the day were “fight,” the word could readily be exchanged today to include the word “vote.” The lesson here is we ought not to use earthly methods to promote or establish the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:20 – The Citizen

In this verse, the word “conversation” is better translated “citizenship,” and the actual formation of the word is equivalent to “politics.” It could quite accurately be rendered, “Our politics is in heaven,” or “Our citizenship is in heaven.” Either way, the point is that the Christian belongs to another country and has identified himself with a “homeland” that is not of this order of things. A citizen of another country cannot vote in an election outside of his homeland, lest he jeopardize his original citizenship. Our problem is that we must establish which country has our priority as being its citizens:
heaven or earth?

2 Timothy 2:3-4 – The Warrior

Here, the apostle Paul presents the metaphor of the Christian as a soldier of Jesus Christ. Such an individual is not to allow himself to be preoccupied with the affairs of civil life, because his assignment requires total devotion to his work as a warrior. In other words, a warrior of Christ should not be distracted from his primary occupation of serving Christ by spending time serving the interests of this world.

1 Peter 2:11 – The Foreigner

A stranger or foreigner cannot vote in the elections of the country where he or she happens to find themselves at the time of an election. If an individual is in a foreign country at such a time, he simply abstains because he has no legal rights to become involved. Again, the question begs an answer, how do we see ourselves in this world? Do we recognize which country we really belong to?

1 Peter 2:11 – The Tourist

As though to reinforce the idea, Peter changes the metaphor slightly and describes the Christian as a “pilgrim” or “tourist.” The principle is consistent: a tourist does not vote in the elections of a country which happens to be selecting a government at the time he is visiting there. Because of his different nationality, he simply abstains.

2 Corinthians 5:20 – The Ambassador

This is the most forceful picture to the believer on this topic. We are ambassadors for Christ in the world that has rejected and crucified Him. As such, we are representatives of another kingdom, and must not contribute to the selection of another nation’s government. Our task is to represent the government that commissioned us, and provide liaison between nations. If an ambassador were to vote in
another country’s elections, he would be violating his commission, and would be subject to recall by his governing authority. Are we going to deny our citizenship and thereby negate our authority by becoming involved in the affairs of this world?

The question then arises, how do we go about affecting the affairs of this world to which we are commissioned for good? We must report back to our King, inform Him of the situation by prayer (1Tim 2:1-2), and leave the determination of the matter in His hands, Who has declared His authority and ability to deal with the situation according to His will (Dan 4:25, 32, 35).

Examples of democracy at work in Scripture: Numbers 13 & 14

The vote of the spies was 10 to 2 and the majority influenced the whole nation. As a result, over 600,000 men died in the wilderness. (See also Psa 95:11).

Jeremiah 42:1 to 43:7: The majority of the people went into Egypt in violation of Jeremiah’s “word from the Lord,” and they perished there without further Scriptural trace.

Mark 15:15: The majority of the people wanted Jesus crucified against Pilate’s better judgment. Their rejection of their Messiah is still bringing them suffering to this day.