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When election season approaches, Christians tend to go to one of two extremes. For some, the election becomes voracious. It’s all that matters. The fate of the nation hangs in the balance with every vote cast.
Others view the election with disgust. They do everything to avoid it and ignore it. It seems too messy, too far removed from the purity and simplicity of Jesus.
We have to ask ourselves: is there a better way? Should Christians Vote? Would have Jesus vote?
Jesus gave direction on how Christians should relate to politics and culture in the Sermon on the Mount. He told us to be his salt and his light (Matthew 5:13-14). As “salt” in the world, Christ calls us to influence our culture rather than isolate ourselves from it.
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Remember, salt was a preservative in Jesus’ day. It could not prevent the meat from decomposing, but it could delay the decomposition. Christians should preserve the spiritual and moral fabric of society wherever God has placed us.
But salt can only preserve meat if it first comes out of the salt shaker and into the meat. God has given Christians in democratic countries a unique way of “salting” the culture that Christians of other times and other places did not have.
We got the freedom to choose our leaders by voting. As John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said: God “has given us the privilege to choose our leaders in this Christian nation”.
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With great privilege comes great responsibility. It is our job to vote for the candidate and party whose policies will best contribute to the common good.
Leaders shape the values of a nation through the policies they adopt. This means that Christians should strive to select leaders who will govern according to God’s principles and seek to advance the cause of justice. It is an answer for the Christian who wants to avoid elections altogether.
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But for Christians who see elections as paramount, a word of caution is in order. Remember that for a Christian, political change is not the ultimate goal. Politics is important because it can help us pursue our true goals.
The highest calling of the Christian is to show the light of Christ to the world. We do this by sharing the good news of God’s forgiveness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Earthly governments can either hinder or facilitate this proclamation.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2 that we should pray that government authorities will essentially leave us alone and practice our faith. In Paul’s day, all you could do was pray for the civil authorities. But today we have the opportunity to select leaders who will give us the freedom to practice our faith.
Christians are not called to save America. We are called to save Americans from God’s judgment by sharing the good news of Christ’s forgiveness.
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So, yes, Christians have both the right and the responsibility to vote in this election. But remember why you’re doing it and what the vote is for.
What America needs most is not a politician or a party. We need a real spiritual revival that only God can bring.
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