Christians, Your Vote and Your Prayers Need To Match

  We are in the election season—a very contentious election season. Christians need to be involved in choosing who will serve as the civil magistrates in federal, state, and local elections. But Christians do not vote in the same way as those in the population at large. Our reasons behind who we vote for should be different. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says “whether we eat or drink or whatever you do (whatever you do includes voting), do all to the glory of God.” In order to vote to the glory of God, our vote must be informed by Biblical principles—not political ones.
     One passage of Scripture that I have found very helpful in this regard is 1 Timothy 2:1-4. As part of living out the Christian life, Paul says, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Believers are supposed to pray for men of all sorts, but special attention is given to praying for civil magistrates. Before we get to the significance of the things we are to pray, let’s consider a couple things the Bible has to say about choosing those civil magistrates.
     Paul and Timothy had no say in who their civil magistrates were, but we do. In Exodus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 1:13, we find some helpful counsel that Moses gave the children of Israel about voting. They were choosing leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens to help Moses in governing the people.
     FIRST, they were to choose “able men who fear God”. It is important that we consider whether the person we are voting for has a true fear of God. In Romans 13, civil magistrates are described as “servants of God”. They need to understand that they are actually serving God in what they are doing. They need to realize that they will give an account to God for how they serve as a civil magistrate.
     SECOND, they were to, “choose wise and discerning and experienced men.” This principle is related to the first one. The reality is that it is hard for us know for sure whether a person has a true fear of God because the overwhelming majority of the people we vote for, we only know from a distance. Most candidates claim to have some level of faith in God. But their position on various issues can give us some insight here. Are their positions reflective of wise consideration of biblical principles? Christians must compare what the respective candidates plan to do about specific issues. In my opinion, a candidate’s position about abortion is of the utmost importance. A person who steadfastly holds to the right to kill babies in the womb, show themselves to be unwise from a biblical perspective. They also show themselves to have no real fear of God because they clearly are not considering the fact that they will stand before God to give an answer for “using the sword (Romans 13:4)” to put to death innocent children.
     Now let’s look at how the prayer from 1 Timothy can help us in voting. Paul calls believers to pray for kings and those in authority, so that we can lead tranquil and quiet or peaceful lives. This gets to the most fundamental responsibility God has given to civil magistrates and gives us our third principle to consider in voting.
     So THIRDLY, we are to choose magistrates who are committed to upholding law and order. Romans 13 describes it this way. Those who do evil (commit crimes) should have fear of the magistrates because they know they will be held accountable for their actions. Those who do what is right, are praised for being responsible citizens. If a candidate will not
confirm that they will uphold law and order, you should not vote for them. This is such an important issue and cannot be minimized. And, as we consider Paul’s prayer, it is closely connected with our final principle.
     FOURTH, we are to choose magistrates who will protect religious liberty. We are to pray for our civil authorities to uphold law order so that citizens can lead peaceful lives, with a particular purpose in mind. That purpose is that Christians can legally and openly live their lives in all godliness and dignity. Godliness speaks of all that is generally involved in living the Christian life. ALL godliness speaks of the freedom to live out the Christian faith in every area of life—at home, in the work place, in the community, at school, and at church. It is in the context of Christians having the freedom to live out their faith in every area of life, that Paul speaks of God’s desire to see people of all sorts come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. The greater the religious liberty, the more likely it is that the gospel will be seen and heard and believed.
     The United States is in a very dangerous place. Our vote will not fix the problems of our nation. But the protection of religious liberty and the peace that comes from law and order being upheld, provide an important context for the living out of all godliness—and that is a big deal, not only to us but to the Lord.
     I think it is worth asking the question, “How can I advance the purposes of God as declared in 1 Timothy 2 by who I am voting for in this election? Is my vote consistent with the way the Lord has called me to pray for my nation?” Lord, help us all to vote to the glory of God.
Anno Domini 2020