The following thoughts concerning the presidential election of 2016 were provoked as the result of an exchange between myself and a dear brother in Christ whom I have always counted as a close friend, even though our ministry took us separate directions many years ago.
Politics and the kingdom of the Christ
“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” John 18:36
As Christians living in America we have a right that was unheard of in the days of Jesus. We have a say in who governs over us. Scripture neither commands nor forbids our participation in the political realm. However, that participation must be balanced with the fact our true citizenship is in the kingdom of Christ. For that reason what we choose to do, and the degree we choose to do it, is a matter of faith for each believer, and that faith must be respected by all other believers.
This election year the passions are particularly inflamed with Christians of all different political leanings alarmed at how they perceive things to be going. I personally believe we truly are in a cultural battle the likes of which we haven’t experienced since the war between the states. The form of that battle is not with flesh and blood and weapons, but it is nevertheless a very real battle. That battle will not end with this election.
For that reason I am equally passionate about reminding you of these things...
First – We are Americans second, and Christians first.
Of all the citizens of the US, those who are unashamed of the gospel have the most difficult choice in elections. You see, we don’t have the luxury of weighing strictly on political or economic issues. We are compelled to also think spiritually – to weigh good and evil, right and wrong. We cannot simply vote for someone. We have to be true to our own heart. We wrestle with the choices at hand and our own convictions and principles. We cannot leave our faith outside the voting booth because it is our faith that informs and governs our lives.
As a result, different Christians, with equal love of God, may come to opposing conclusions on who to vote for, or whether to even vote at all. While we may vehemently disagree with one another as to the fitness of any given candidate, every vote we cast is for this life only. Unless Jesus returns first, every vote we cast and every argument we have will become absolutely irrelevant when we take our last breath. If Jesus tarries long enough this country will go the same way as every other human government that has ever existed along with all the debates.
Politics are temporary, but the kingdom of Christ is eternal. For this reason every single one of us must be extra diligent in maintaining the unity of the spirit in the midst of our political disagreements. Satan loves nothing more than to use that which is human and temporary to tear down that which is spiritual and eternal.
Second – Christ’s kingdom is not of this world.
King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream – A great statue, gold at the top and mixed iron with clay at the bottom. The statue represented the great kingdoms of the earth beginning with his until the Roman empire. A great rock cut without human hands was cast on to the statue breaking it to pieces. The rock itself became a great mountain that filled the entire earth (Daniel 2). The great mountain is the kingdom of Christ.
Even though there have been many kingdoms since that of Rome, the kingdom of Christ has continued to spread throughout the whole earth, calling people from every nation and language and culture through the gospel of Jesus, forever binding us all together with the gift of God’s own spirit. Whether we came to Christ in freedom, or we came to Christ while under tyranny, we have all been given a new name, a new spirit, a new life, a new hope. That will continue to be true regardless who is in power. Human governments will rise and fall, but the kingdom of God will endure forever.
Because Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, its citizens likewise are not of this world. Yet we live in this world, and it is here that our physical and spiritual parts clash.
The world is of darkness, but we are of light.
The world is of deception, but we are of truth.
The world is of corruption, but we are of purity and holiness.
The world is of fear, but we are of courage.
The world is of death, but we are of life.
The world, and all its inhabitants, is passing away, but we endure forever.
Greatest of all, the world is of hate, but we are of love.
This political season do not allow the mindset of the world to infect the spirit of God which dwells within you. It was the blood of Jesus that redeemed us from the world. Do not allow your political convictions to undo what Christ has done.
For the next few weeks continue the discussion and debates. Contend earnestly for what you believe is good and right. When you cast your vote, do it in faith and understanding, and do not allow anyone to judge you for your convictions. And then, regardless of the outcome, and I mean REGARDLESS, remember this – Our citizenship is in heaven and it is not of this world. We are Americans second and brothers and sisters in Christ first and foremost.