The call of Christians today is to let their heavenly citizenship inform their earthly citizenship (Philippians 3:20). We are “sojourners” and “exiles” (1Peter 2:11) commanded to maintain honorable lives before every human institution. Good citizenship in a Republic includes respecting governing authorities (1Peter 2:13; Romans 13:7) and being part of the process that installs representative leadership. In the case of voting elections, Christians are encouraged to VIP Voting. VIP stands for: Vote In Principle.
In other words, those whom name Jesus as Lord must vote according to the values and principles of God’s ways and words. While Scripture does not address every modern-day voting issue, there is a constellation of criteria for righteousness in God’s eyes. Below are some starting points of criteria, not in full or exhaustive:
- Biblical values of life holistically. Pro-life is whole/all life from conception to cemetery, which may include issues like care for the unborn, the impoverished, elderly, immigrate care and/or a wise and safe pathway for citizenship, ethnic unity, quality and affordable healthcare (including mental health), and a strong military for protection of a nation’s citizens.
- Biblical value on the sanctity of biblical marriage, and protection for those who view such, while simultaneously not demeaning or dehumanizing those opposed to biblical marriage.
- Biblical values for stewardship in God’s creation, such as the environment, and flourishing of national resources.
- National values to promote the common good and righteousness through quality education, profitable business creation with standards of fairness and justice, and upholding the Constitution.
- Other biblical values not only address platforms, but the character of people. The character of the candidate does matter. Consider this Resolution on Moral Character of Public Officials. A nation’s leader should be respected in character and competency to perform duties of the job with developing a capable staff to effect good and righteousness.
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to this both personally and painfully, “While it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important also.”
Despite popular and unfortunate views, God is not a Republican. And indeed, God is not a Democrat. We diminish and do danger to the gospel if we start equating Christianity with political parties. In fact, it would seem that our country needs both the left wing and right wing in order to fly. So, rather than pulling individuals right or pushing others left, we should lift everyone up. America’s mess must not hinder Jesus’ mission for the church.
The mission of God’s kingdom is everlasting. Heaven and hell are permanent destinations. Therefore, Christians should place a greater emphasis and energy, time, talent, and treasure into saving the lost than on saving a political system. The Christian’s mission is far greater than a single country but extends internationally to “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9).
So, exercise the privilege and stewardship of voting. Love your neighbors and be gracious with those who disagree. Then, trust the Sovereign Lord with the results, believing that He works all things together for good (Rom 8:28), all earthly authority is under His feet (Eph 1:22), and the gates of hell will not prevail over His church; Jesus wins (Mt 16:18; Jn 16:33).
Praying. “we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:2-5)