Many Christians believe that we have a responsibility to take a stand and vote our conscience. After all, we have an opportunity, so we should take it. To do nothing is to yield to the evil forces of the world. There may be a few good men out there to vote for so we should look for them and support them. A real “bell weather” for many Christians is the issue of abortion. To them, it is so horrible, that they will support the candidate without regard for their position on other issues.
I appreciate these arguments and would even concede that whether a Christian votes or not is between them and the Lord. I don’t think there is a “right” or “wrong” here. I look at it more as a difference in perspective. I would like to emphasize two obvious points:
1. To me it doesn’t make sense to vote for a candidate on a single issue and I am a lousy judge of character. I have seen too many say one thing and do another. Sorry, I just don’t have much faith in the system. If a candidate is against abortion but supports a policy that leads to the death of millions of innocents (collateral damage, especially from nuclear hardened weapons), which is worse?
2. We know from prophesy that the apostate Church will make an unholy alliance with the “State” and the antichrist will make an alliance with Israel. So just because they sound moral and into traditional family values or are supporters of Israel, doesn’t mean much.
The idea that we control our destiny through the voting process doesn’t hold much weight for me. Even the ancient Greeks realized that it was easy to manipulate people and their opinions. Citizens either took turns or were elected by “lot” (i.e. by chance). When you look at how our own elections are manipulated, it is appalling. It is like Kerry and Bush got together and said, “how can we completely avoid the issues and keep the voters focused on something completely inane – let’s debate our Vietnam war records! People will lose site of the economy, home security and Iraq.
But way beyond this, let’s try and put ourselves in the shoes of the early Christians, or for that matter, for most Christians down through the ages and even most of those in the non-western world today. It is quite clear in the New Testament that Christians were to do nothing one way or the other with regard to the ruling powers of their personal condition (e.g. slave or free). The Roman government wasn’t exactly enlightened. The most Christians were told to do was pray for their leaders and “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” Can you imagine Christians picketing the Romans for violating their rights, for throwing them to the lions and for taxing them too heavily? When the heavy persecutions began, did they stand up and defend themselves? I would encourage you to read Miller’s Church History, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs or any number of similar works.
The New Testament writers were very clear:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil 3:20)Just read Hebrews 10 to 13. Ask the Lord to give you a vision of your eternal destiny: But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels (Heb 12:22). Lift up your eyes to the New Jerusalem in eternity and let me ask you, how important is anything on this 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. (Heb. 11:14-16)
But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (He10:32-39)
Saints down through the ages found no home in this world and if we are to escape the great deception bearing down on the earth today, we would do well to take our eyes off the things of this world and lift our eyes to Him and the eternity that lies beyond. A few years ago a group of Americans went to the poorest area of Haiti and met a widow with many small children and little means to provide more than a few meals a week for them. One of the American Christians asked if she could have anything, what would she want? How would I have responded? Wow, this is like asking the genie in the bottle for anything! Do you know her answer, “Just to live more in the presence of my Lord.” That meant more to her than all the world had to offer.
The real issue is seeing clearly where our citizenship lies and the true condition of this world:
that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Eph. 2:12)
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (I John 2:15-17)
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. (I John 5:19)
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev. 12:9)
Brothers and sisters! Why would we want to put any hope in this world, the political processes or the leaders? The whole world lies in the evil one and Satan himself is called the prince of this world. (Eph 2:2) You can’t reform it. You can’t fix it. Don’t put your hope in the Republicans, Democrats, the Greens or the Independents! Satan is coming to deceive the whole world. Your only hope is to learn to live in the Spirit, in the presence of the Lord.
Okay, off my soap box. I know what is coming next. What should we do about the evil around us? All you can control is what you do. Can you control what society as a whole does on abortion? No. But if a woman/wife gets pregnant at a particularly inconvenient time, you have a decision to make. If people ask your opinion you can give it. Ultimately, all you can do is so live in the presence of the Lord that people see His life and light in you. That is what you can do.
A country music song challenges us to “learn to live like we were dying.” That is a good idea but I would say, we need to live today with an eye on eternity. Which citizenship really counts? The one you have in this world or the one in eternity?
by Dene McGriff