Christian Living

Representing Christ in an Election Year: Part Two


Amber Fischer August 19, 2020
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For more on this topic, please read Representing Christ in an Election Year: Part One, as Amber answers the question, “What does the Bible say about the role of government and Christian interaction?” In this post, Amber answers, “How do we approach our unique situation as citizens of a Constitutional Republic” and “How can we Biblically interact with politics?”


When the early church began, Christians lived in a very different world than we do. Under the rule of Rome, both Gentile and Jewish believers had far fewer protected human rights than we have in America. There was little, if any, action they could take to change how government systems were run.

 

Because of the oppression the Jews faced, many of them believed that their Messiah was coming with military force to overthrow Rome and restore Israel to their rightful place. But when He came, Jesus didn’t start a war. He didn’t declare himself king, and He didn’t establish His kingdom on earth in the way they had hoped. In dealing with the government, the apostles took their cue from Him.

 

In the second part of this series, “Representing Christ in an Election Year,” we now turn to this question:

 

HOW DO WE APPROACH OUR UNIQUE SITUATION AS CITIZENS OF A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC?

 

We live in a unique situation in America. Some of the Biblical passages on government don’t seem to directly apply to us since we don’t have a king or universal ruler. We live under a Constitutional Republic, which is defined as: “a state where the officials are elected as representatives of the people and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government’s power over citizens,”  (conservapedia.com).

 

Our Constitution rules our government. Our leadership is made up of people we citizens have placed in positions of authority. If they do a bad job, the people can vote them out. Since we are given the right to choose our government, we have the freedom to decide if and how we participate. Choosing our representatives has become an issue of moral conscience.

 

So how are we to submit to the governing authorities when we are the ones who choose our leaders and our ultimate governmental authority is a written document? 

 

When the apostles were preaching and writing, there were very few lawful means to challenge or change their government systems. Thus it’s difficult to find verses that will speak directly to how to change the government or how to approach making change. They were subject to the will of their rulers and held onto the knowledge that God was in control of those rulers. They were able to put their trust in Him and live their lives within the framework of that government.

 

Even though many instructions in Scripture seem only to apply to rulers such as kings and emperors, the instructions to obey governing authorities can apply to our Constitution. 

 

1 Peter 2:13-17 says, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”

 

“Every human institution” includes our Constitution and the houses of government we have in place to lead us in America. While we may not subject ourselves specifically to individuals as we would to a king, we subject ourselves to the laws those leaders put in place according to the Constitution, and we show respect to the leadership we have chosen. This is how we obey the instructions provided in 1 Peter.

 

American citizens are blessed to have a Constitution that protects the freedom we have to live as servants of God, to do good in the world, and share His love with others. This Constitution protects these freedoms and provides avenues for pursuing change through means like voting.

 

Since our representatives represent us, we can approach them with our thoughts and concerns. We have the freedom to advocate for ourselves and for others within this framework and have an open dialogue with those elected to lead us.

 

Many of us have a desire to see positive changes in our society. However, when pursuing this kind of change, we must align ourselves with the principles of Scripture. 

 

Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God has prepared good works for us to do, and these good works can include the realm of government. Some of us may be called to leadership in our government. Some may be called to teach and educate others on specific issues facing our nation. Others may be called to be advocates.

 

Our desire for change must be subject to the will of God and pursued with godly attitudes, such as having respect for others, loving our neighbor, and upholding Biblical morality. What pursuing change looks practically for each person is a matter of their relationship with the Lord and understanding of Scripture. That leads us to the following question:

 

 

HOW CAN WE INTERACT WITH POLITICS IN A BIBLICAL WAY?

 

First, we must be in our Bibles. To know what the Lord loves and what the Lord hates, we need to know what He says. Our time with the Lord and our in-depth study of Scripture is the fountain and foundation for all of our beliefs, which includes the political realm.

 

We need to understand the world as a cohesive story – a coherent set of beliefs that interrelates to every aspect of our lives and pulls everything together. Scripture gives us this story.

 

Second, we must check our attitudes. Are we growing in the fruit of the Spirit, and are we displaying that fruit when we engage with others about politics? What are our motives for engaging in politics?

 

Are we allowing anger and frustration to taint how we talk about those in leadership and those who disagree with us?

 

Third, we must be informed if we are going to participate. Proverbs stresses over and over the importance of knowledge and wisdom. It describes the difference between a wise man and a fool. Proverbs tells us the fool speaks when he doesn’t know what he’s talking about (Proverbs 18:2). He puts on the appearance of knowledge, but he has none. 

 

We need to be sure that if we are going to participate in political action or conversation, we must know what we’re talking about. Look to Scripture to find Biblical foundations for your political beliefs. Research bills, candidates and their worldviews, current events, and the history behind them.

 

A well-rounded education of our political system and all perspectives will go a long way to broadening your horizons and helping you engage critically with current issues. 

 

Lastly, PRAY. Pray for leaders, pray for voters, pray for discernment, and direction. Pray for the laws to be signed. Pray for everything you can imagine. The Lord hears our prayers, the Lord works through our prayers, and He tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

 


 

Next week, we look forward to sharing the third and final part of this series, “Representing Christ in an Election Year.” For more on this topic, please read Representing Christ in an Election Year: Part One, as Amber answers the question, “What does the Bible say about the role of government and Christian interaction?” 

 

Although this post is not a comprehensive view of political engagement, it is an encouragement to think and act in accordance with a biblical worldview. Would you like to see more content like this on the blog? Please email us at communications@teenpact.com.

 

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of TeenPact Leadership Schools. To learn more about our Vision & Values, please visit teenpact.com/vision-values/.

About the Author

Amber Fischer

Amber Fischer is an avid thinker and writer and former TeenPact Staffer. Amber has lived on the West Coast most of her life, growing up in Portland,… Read More