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I Corinthians 2:5- "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
 
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Voting and the Christian

by Arthur L. Manning
(revised)



Why should a Christian vote in a nation that elects its government leaders? We Christians have, as a priority, the task of influencing others toward the Savior Jesus Christ for their eternal welfare. So what difference does it make who gets elected to public office? Christians have been winning others to the Savior for thousands of years in all kinds of nations with all kinds of governments. Do we just need to concentrate all our efforts on evangelism and not bother with the messy business of politics? Many Christians see their opportunity to vote as a chance to influence their government by hopefully electing officials who will make this world a better place for us and our families. There is nothing wrong with having a better environment in which to live. We all desire peace, prosperity, and a healthy environment. Hopefully we will vote for candidates who can do a better job than others in bringing about these conditions in our nation and even in the entire world.

However, there is a more important reason for Christians to vote. It has to do with winning as many people to salvation through Christ as possible - our most important task in this world. But what difference does it make which candidates get elected to public office, as far as our efforts to win the lost are concerned? The answer is that the decisions made by our public officials can make it more or less likely for sinners to respond to the gospel. But how can this be? Isn't salvation the work of the Holy Spirit? Yes, but we need to pray for the lost as well. Paul said in Romans 10:1, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." In addition to our prayers for the lost, we are instructed in I Timothy 2:1 - 4 to pray for those in authority: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." So here we see that we are to pray for those in authority, not just so we can have nice living conditions (a quiet and peaceable life); but that we may have such an environment because it is more conducive to the salvation of others. How can others be saved if there is chaos and violence in the land? Some can be, but, under such conditions, most people's main interest is just to survive. Many people seem to get saved in times of war and violence, but how many more depart this life prematurely, before they have received an adequate witness to the gospel?

In addition to having an environment characterized by peace, it is also desirable for the salvation of others that there be an environment characterized by morality to the greatest extent possible in this world. Jesus said in John 3:20-21, "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." So those who live extremely sinful lives are less likely to come to salvation than those who are seeking to do what is right. Sin has a way of hardening hearts and making it more difficult for those who are heavily involved in it to come to salvation. God saves all kinds of people, but it seems to take a longer time and more prayers to save those heavily involved with sin. Jesus said in Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." The question comes to mind, "filled with what?" If someone were to say, "blessed are they who hunger after fish, for they shall be filled", the question is easy to answer: they shall be filled with fish. So they that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled with righteousness. How can someone be filled with righteousness? How can someone be completely righteous? Only by having their sins forgiven through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. So the type of people who come to salvation are those who are seeking after righteousness, not those who are seeking after wickedness. So a nation whose leaders make decisions which discourage wickedness is a nation where more souls will be saved. Conversely, a nation whose leaders make decisions which encourage wickedness is a nation where fewer souls will be saved.

Let us now be specific. A nation that allows the murder of unborn children, that allows sexual deviancy, that allows pornography, that allows gambling (a manifestation of covetousness) is not a nation which is discouraging these forms of wickedness. That kind of nation is a place where fewer souls will be saved. And a nation that promotes these evils will see still fewer souls saved. Those who are heavily engaged in such sins know who to vote for. They will vote for the candidates who will allow them the most freedom to pursue their activities which are destructive to individuals, to families, and even to nations. Yet how many of God's people vote for these same candidates? Sadly, it seems that there are many. Why do some of God's people vote for such candidates? Because they believe one or both of two propositions. The first proposition is that morality can not be legislated. This is an erroneous point of view because all legislation is moral in nature. For instance, we have laws against stealing. For those who have no moral problem with stealing, such laws hinder them from pursuing their goals. If it were not for such laws and their enforcement, we would have much more stealing than we presently have and an environment much less conducive to the salvation of souls. The second proposition that influences some Christians to vote for candidates who will foster wickedness is that they believe such candidates will do more to improve the economy and/or the environment. This may or may not be the case. But even in an extreme case in which we may have to choose between economic and environmental blessing accompanied by moral depravity on the one hand and a more moral environment accompanied by economic and environmental degradation on the other hand, we have to vote for what is most important. To a Christian, the moral climate should be more important than the economic or the environmental climate because the moral climate has eternal consequences for men's souls, whereas the economy and the environment, though important, are aspects of this present world. Some may fear economic or environmental crises, but the child of God knows that the Lord will take care of him no matter what may happen in this world.

However, a moral crisis can bring about the judgment of God on a nation, resulting in economic and/or environmental ruin. Psalm 9:17 tells us "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." What every country needs most is not better environmental or economic policies, but the blessing of God. Proverbs 14:34 tells us that, "Righteousness exalteth a nation." When we have righteousness abounding, this results in conditions that promote the salvation of sinners. And when we have more sinners being saved, we will see more righteousness which leads to a nation being exalted, not just morally, but economically and environmentally as well. So those who vote for candidates who promise to improve the economy and /or the environment rather than candidates who will foster the morality of our nation (by seeking to make legislation which hinders sinful activities) are sacrificing the most important issue for issues of less importance. They contribute to fewer souls being saved. Our first priority as Christians is to influence others toward the Savior Jesus Christ. We should seek to do this by our words, life styles, and by voting for candidates who will foster a moral climate characterized by a higher degree of righteousness. Before election day arrives, we need to prayerfully and carefully look at the candidates' records. Jesus taught that we can distinguish different kinds of people by their deeds (Matthew 7:20 "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.").

So it is not enough for a candidate to say he favors moral causes or opposes immoral activities. What has he done in his life and in his voting record (if he has already held public office) to promote righteousness and to restrain evil? Once we have discerned who are the best candidates, we should support them and vote for them.




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