In less than a week, those of us in the US will exercise our right to vote. I thought it would be timely to consider what the Bible has to say about the privileges and obligations of citizenship.
Many passages and examples in the Bible clarify our responsibilities as citizens, not the least of which is found in Paul’s letter to the Romans, where he writes, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (13:1–2).
Two observations come to mind regarding this. First of all, government is God’s design. The sinful predicament of man necessitates oversight, and government is God’s way of providing for the well-being of human society. This doesn’t mean that all governments are good, nor do all governments recognize God’s supreme authority. Yet the book of Daniel teaches that God “removes kings and sets up kings” within His sovereign will and purpose. It’s no doubt challenging to understand God’s purpose when we watch the news or read the newspaper and see so much that is upside down—yet even in this, we must remember that nothing is unfolding outside the sovereign will of God.
Secondly, obedience to the government is not optional based upon our views or affiliations but rather is God’s command. We’re accountable to God to obey the rule of law so that we contribute to an orderly, civil society. With this comes our duty and privilege as citizens to participate in the electoral process. Let me encourage you to make your voice heard on Tuesday. Where I live, there is a stark choice between candidates who, for example, offer God’s view of marriage and the sanctity of life in the womb and those who may not be Christians but who are on the side of righteousness.
This provides us all with the opportunity to heed the directive given by Paul to Timothy: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1–2). We dare not be negligent in this, because our leaders need our prayers as much as ever. Prayers for our nation will not go unheard.
When I find myself distressed by the chaos, to my Bible I go, confident that God is on the throne! I need not live in fear regarding these affairs but can instead rejoice in the prospect of the great appearing of King Jesus, when we will join with an eternal company of citizens declaring then what we affirm now: “The Lord God omnipotent reigns!”
With my love in the Lord Jesus,
Topics: Letters From Alistair Begg