Recently I responded to a Facebook status that said,

“I am really getting tired of people who believe our salvation is somehow tied to our government.”

On the surface it could have been a fairly benign comment based on the reality that government should not be seen as the great savior of all Americans, and to put one’s hope in a government or man is foolish. The following is the conversation that ensued and I would like to invite you to join the conversation. What are your thoughts on the the above statement?

I responded to the above mentioned status, “I agree….if my people, who are called by my name shall humble themselves…..It starts on our knees in humility….”

She responded, “We aren’t going to get saved through politics. Jesus didn’t come to save us politically.”

Again, I responded, “No, you are right, if politics is seen as salvation, it is our damnation. But I do think we must, as Christians make noise that will affect change in the powers that be, whether that is politically, pop culture, or the kid next door. I think that we have to go into all our world and preach the Gospel, which means telling those in office and all we come in contact with, that they are sinners, going to hell, in need of a Savior (who loves them and desires to offer them forgiveness and eternal life). It won’t change the direction of the country politically, but perhaps it will change the hearts of the direction makers in the country.”

Another gal popped into the thread stating, “Are you saying that telling people in public office that they are sinners and are going to hell will change their hearts? I do think we should vote our morals, but all Jesus said about government is to respect it and pay our taxes, and during His time they had one of the most ungodly and blasphemous leaders possible. Their mission was not to Christianize the government. Jesus’ strategy was never to condemn, it was to love, and to shine a light that draws people toward you instead of wanting to get away from you. I agree with (the original author’s name), as Christians our focus should be showing God’s love and light to people we meet.”

My friend responded, “If it means sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with elected officials, yes, just as we would with anyone else. And if they accept the grace of Christ, that is great. But we have to realize that this kingdom really doesn’t matter in the long run. I realize that this world is temporal. We are strangers and aliens on this earth. So yes, I vote my conscience, but political change is not our job, spiritual change is. Actually spiritual change isn’t even our job, it’s God’s work. We are to go to the ends of the earth and share the Gospel; but it is God who reaches down into the market place of sin and pulls us out of the mire. We cannot even lift our finger out of it. God has to come and find us. (Romans 9:16). It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire but on God’s mercy. When we receive that mercy that He gives to us, then our lives are changed. We have confidence in the finished work of Christ that our salvation is a sure thing. We do not need to keep striving to earn that salvation. This leads to us wanting to Please God and, hence, obeying His commands. I John 3:23 says, “And this is His command; to believe in the name of His son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us” and that love requires us to tell others the Gospel. Why would we want to keep this Good News to ourselves. So yes, we should tell anyone, even an individual elected official. But government as a concept is not redeemable. It is a worldly institution and will perish.

At this point, my mind was wrestling with all these truths that I too agreed with, yet I couldn’t agree completely with the final conclusion. I responded, “I was thinking very much about this conversation. If we are to be salt and light in every area that God leads us; work, mothering, shopping, etc., then by virtue of the fact that He in His Providence has placed us in a nation that is run by “We the People”, we should in fact, as Christians, be salt and light in the democratic system in which we have been blessed to live. I know that we are to be living in the Kingdom of God, but I think that we as a church have been apathetic to our responsibility to keep the stewardship of this great Nation in line with Biblical Principles. I agree that God is the Lord of the Harvest. The Holy Spirit is the power of ultimate salvation, redemption, and eternal change in the hearts of man, to believe otherwise puts one on the level of Savior, and that is insanity; however, going into all the world means taking the Light that indwells us and going into the circumstances in which God has placed us to share this light. To ignore the God given government He has blessed us to live under and not be a “light sharer” within, would be missing part of the world He has sent us into. Salt hurts those who are wounded by sin and death and light blinds, so I submit that our government and the people who are currently running it are in dire need of these two elements.”

My reason for chronicling this dialogue is for the purpose of brain picking and hearing from you the reader. I am curious to see if we should be dis-engaged because government is not redeemable and therefore our focus is misplaced. Is voting one’s conscience all that we as believers should be doing? What do you believe the role of the Christian is in regard to government and politics.

Would there be any reason to think that America would exist as a Nation if the Founders felt that the institution of government was not redeemable and that their struggle for independence from Britain was not a Biblical perspective and therefore the job for a Christian?

Please feel free to speak your mind. Iron sharpens iron and I believe we all need to be sharp in every area of our lives.

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    1. @ChrisB,
      How about not wanting to see your enemy in the “crapper”?
      Matthew 5:43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

  1. Upon further reflection I want to add one thing: The Bible was written by and to people who, like the vast majority of humanity, lived under some kind of authoritarian rule. We are the lucky tiny minority that live under a government we can actually influence and even be a part of. So to say that the Bible doesn’t talk about political activism is akin to saying it doesn’t talk about helicopters.

    But it gives us principles about watching out for the weak, governing wisely, and spending money thoughtfully, and many other things that can easily be applied to a Christians living in democratic system.
    .-= ChrisB´s last blog ..Rationing Mammograms =-.

      1. @Shane Vander Hart,

        It would have been a good point, except that, unlike helicopters, there were political activists in this time period. They were called Zealots. Some have theorized that Paul was one before his conversion.

      2. @Stephanie Barrett, I really haven’t heard a credible argument that Paul was a Zealot. Paul was pretty forthright about describing himself pre-conversion and that wasn’t a way he described himself. He did call himself a Pharisee of Pharisees, and credited his persecution of Christians as proof of his zeal (Philippians 3). Also it’s doubtful that he was a Zealot since he was also a Roman citizen.

        Now regarding defining Zealots as “political activists.” Unless political activists today revolt against the government (and I mean in the United States) then it really isn’t a good comparison. I think rebels or insurgents would be a better comparison – think Taliban.

  2. I’m the “friend”, and I just posted my response, Mary. I have been too busy to be on Facebook much this past week.

    1. @Stephanie Barrett,
      Hi Stephanie,
      I thought our conversation was very insightful. I didn’t want to put your name in the mix, but am glad you spoke up and are talking too! I really think that the more thought people put into what the relationship with God, the government and politics should be, the better citizens they will make in America. Thanks for the stimulating status update, it has caused me to personally think through this subject and I hope those reading this post will also think more deeply about this subject.

  3. The context was a man saying that the blood of aborted babies is on the hands of those who vote for people who belive abortion should be allowed and on the hands of priests and preachers who don’t preach against it. He said that we have to DO in order for God to forgive us.

  4. @Shane, I’d have to look up the source, but I *think* it was “The Abolition of Man.” I could most certainly be wrong.
    The general context was this same debate: just how involved should Christians be in their government. Lewis was reminding his readers that there only 2 Kingdoms in this world: the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan. There is no neutral territory. Since the government is definitely not the Kingdom of God, guess who it belongs to? He was admonishing Christians to not get so involved in politics that they forget to which kingdom *they* belong.

  5. I think one could also argue that Government was first instituted by God in the Garden. He set Adam up to “rule” over, have dominion over the earth. God set up law, eat from every tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore the first Government was a sacred institution. Man is what infected it. Sin is what corrupted God’s institution.

    Romans 13:1 tells us that God ordained the government
    “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

    What God has ordained should not be construed as the Kingdom of Satan; it is when sinful men apply worldly philosophy to the institutions of government that they become corrupt.

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