Monday, March 2, 2015

Dealing with Politics.

Over the next few weeks we'll take a look at some more of the areas of culture and life that are more hotly debated. We've already looked at Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage. Please understand this isn't about condemning anyone or passing judgment on anyone. It's about a brief look at what the Bible says on the topic and how we should deal with it. So let's get started!

If you want to divide people bring up either politics or religion. If you really want to divide people bring up politics and religion and watch what happens. Some people are very passionate about politics. Other's don't care enough about it to even vote. But in our current political climate of red states and blue states or one side of the aisle against the other, we see that the idea of how the government should be run and how it affects the people is important to many. We all have an idea of how the government ought to be run and how it should affect us as citizens of this great land. Whether you are conservative, liberal, moderate, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or a registered independent (like myself) the government on the local, state, and national levels all have some bearing on our lives. But the real question isn't what side of the political fence should I fall on. To me that doesn't really matter. But what does matter is how the Bible says we should respond to our government.

When we consider the government that leads our country at any level there are two key scriptures we need to consider. The first is Romans 13:1 where it says, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God" (NIV). It's crucial that we keep in mind that God who is sovereign has allowed government officials to take office. Whether we like a particular governor, mayor, or president has no bearing here. What does matter is that we remember that God has placed them in authority for His sovereign will to be fulfilled. Here's an example to consider. We would all agree that Hitler had no business leading Germany. We know of how he killed 6 million Jews. So should we question God's choice to allow him to govern. No. We can see, some 70 years later, that through the horrors inflicted on the world through the Nazis that the nation of Israel was brought back together in their homeland in Palestine. We should also see how that plays into God's plan for the end times. All of that to say this, God used a government that we would consider atrocious to bring about His sovereign will for mankind. So as long as our government does not require of us something that goes against scripture we should submit ourselves to the government because it has been put in place by God. (As a side note, if the government does require something of its citizens that goes against scripture then we are to remember that our allegiance is first to God then our country.)

Another verse we must consider is 1 Timothy 2:1-2 where it says, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (NIV). Your responsibility as a citizen of your town, county, state, and nation is to pray for your political leaders. God has placed them in authority, as we just stated, and they are in need of godly wisdom to lead us. The only way they will have godly wisdom to lead us is if they open their hearts to it through their own prayers and the prayers of the citizens. As a pastor, I don't care if you like or dislike President Obama. As a Christian you still need to pray for him. It does not matter if you like your state's governor or not. As a Christian you still need to pray for that person. Your duty to pray for elected officials does not end when that person is of a different political affiliation or even a different religion (remember the Romans were not Christians when Paul was alive). Your duty to pray comes from your obedience to the Word of God and your desire to see your political leadership governing with godly wisdom.

Politics is a difficult subject to discuss because many are passionate about their political views. But don't get so caught up in your own political views to the point that you forget that every government leader is placed their by God and you have a responsibility to pray for them.

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