The Apostle Paul Doesn’t Care if You Vote

PERSONAL NOTE: Please know up front that I don’t hate America. I am a veteran and love this country. However, I do recognize that with all there is to love about America, she is no more special than any other country in relationship to the God of the Bible. Therefore, as Christians, our focus should be on our KING and His Kingdom.

In the battle of the upcoming election, I have really had to question my views on voting for Trump or not. This may be why some Trumpsters get under my skin so. I know that my writing about Trump has angered a lot of people, including some dear friends. As of yet, no one has convinced me that voting for Trump is what I should do as one committed to following Christ. I also know that no matter what I say here, other Christians are committed to voting for Trump on their convictions as well. We all have our own convictions. This is a post in which I’m trying to explain mine once more. With that, if I have tried to bind your conscience in earlier posts about the election, please forgive me. Obviously this topic is really difficult for a lot of us.

Here is why my convictions are what they are. First, I do not see the need to be involved in politics from Scripture. In fact, given what Paul writes in the New Testament, I get the sense that we are far better off pursuing things of the Kingdom of God, rather than the kingdom of man. He never mentions politics in any of his writings. He only asks that we are submissive to the government where we can be, and that we pray for government leaders so that we can live peaceful lives. Other than that, any demands that people place on us to vote for a certain candidate, or demands to vote at all, are not biblical.

I feel like many people are putting way too much emphasis on this election, like they have done in every election since I can remember. Let me give you some history from my perspective. We were told that we had to elect Ronald Reagan in order to ward off the encroachment of liberalism. I dutifully cast my vote twice for the man and do think he was the greatest conservative we have ever had in the office of president. Yet, even in this, he failed when it came to the Supreme Court nomination of Anthony Kennedy, who gave us gay marriage. Instead of sticking to his conservative convictions, he nominated Kennedy after the failed Bork nomination. It is over this point of Supreme Court nominees that many are saying that we should vote for Trump. The way we vote in this election will shape the Supreme Court for years to come. The problem is, that Reagan was the most conservative president that we have ever had, and he gave us a nominee that led to gay marriage. How can we trust Trump, who isn’t the least bit conservative, to actually nominate conservative jurists when conservatism is not who he is? We are putting a lot of stock in hoping that somehow, Trump might get it right, on such an important decision.

Then we elected George H.W. Bush, who fell to Bill Clinton. We were told that the moderate Dole was the answer, and then George W. Bush over Al Gore. All was well. The Republicans held both houses of congress and the White House. What did they do with it to advance conservatism? Nothing. Not one bill restricting abortion. Not one bill working to help the conservative cause. They went along to get along.

Then we had to defeat Hillary at all cost, the nation’s future stood in the balance, and we got B.O., by running moderate McCain, who we were told we needed to elect or the world would end. The Republicans did throw Palin into the mix in order to make it look like they had a conservative, but she has proven to be nothing more than teleprompter with conservative talking points.

Then we were told the end of the world would come if we didn’t elect Mitt Romney. Now we are told the world will really end this time if we don’t elect Trump over and against Hillary.

But to what end? We keep thinking that our country will turn the corner on its moral depravity if we just elect the right people. This is the big lie we are told at every election cycle. Yet, elections will not turn the moral tide. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can do that, and that will only happen if it is preached faithfully by the men called to preach it. And THEN change will come only if the Holy Spirit moves in those who hear it and converts them. What this means is that we need to quit turning to politicians to solve our moral problems in our country, and turn to the Triune God. No man can lead us where we need to be, even if he is a politician who mentions Jesus now and then. Conversion comes by preaching, not elections.

A second problem we face is operating under the false premise that it is God’s purpose to turn this nation around. God doesn’t save nations. He saves His people. We have no confidence from God’s word that He wants to somehow save this nation. As I have pointed out before, He will judge all nations for their iniquity, and the US falls under that category as well.

If God were into saving nations, would He not have shown us that He intended to save Israel in Paul’s day? Would not the apostle Paul given us a clue about what a nation must do to be righteous and right with God? Yet, Paul paints another picture all together for believers.

The Apostle strives for us to know that our citizenship is not on this earth or in this country. This goes contrary to the millions of Christians who are trying to make the case that the United States is somehow the apple of God’s eye, yet, there is nothing in God’s word concerning our country or our need to support our country. In fact, Paul tells us that our citizenship is not in this country at all. He speaks directly to our citizenship. He does not waffle on the issue, but declares us as citizens of heaven.

For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Notice, the warning Paul gives us. He is telling us not to follow those who set their mind on earthly things because they are, in the end, enemies of the cross of Christ. These are harsh words and I think would apply to many Christians who keep demanding that their fellow Christians vote against their biblically-informed conscience. It shows they lack maturity and an understanding of God’s sovereignty. Their minds are set trying to keep the status quo, on saving our country, on making this world into heaven on earth. I think many Christians are seduced by the idea that this country is salvageable with the right election and fall into this category as an enemy of the cross of Christ.

Realize that a Christian can certainly become an enemy of the cross of Christ. Peter did so when he rebuked Jesus about going to the cross, to which Jesus said, “Satan, get behind Me.” That is because Peter had his eyes focused on earthly things. Peter wanted the same earthly kingdom that so many Christians in our country want. But Jesus was not and is not bringing that about. His Kingdom reigns supreme and should be our focus, not this earthly kingdom.

This is why I believe the country will continue to spiral downward morally. Christians have lost focus and think that our mission is saving the good ol’ U.S. of A. That is not our calling, purpose or focus as Christians. Our focus as believers should be to follow Christ, know His word, encourage His people, and worship Him in Spirit and truth. Far too many of us get caught up in thinking we are going to do “great” things for God because of those exalted throughout history as doing great things. But the majority of us are called just to live our lives, as faithful Christians, with or without the oncoming tribulation.

To scream that casting a simple vote for one fallen candidate over and against another as the solution to our countries woes is failing to see the nature of the problem in its proper light and our ability to fix it in its proper light. We do not have the power to change what is coming. Only God can do that. Let me state that again: only God can do that. Only He can change the course of this nation. All our hand wringing, worrying, debating, and cajoling will do nothing to change the direction of this country. We are completely dependent upon God to change it and His mercy. Let me restate this: He may not even want to change our country. We think because we want to see it change, that this must be His will. This is foolishness and right in line with Peter’s thinking, that led to Christ rebuking him.

The problem as it stands now is that if we do elect the “right” candidate, we will believe the false premise that we did it, instead of God. And God will not share His glory with another.

Back to Paul’s admonition.

After giving the warning of the world that is to come, Paul makes it so very clear that as Christians, we are not citizens of the United States, Russia, Iraq, Japan, Argentina, Chile, or any other country, but heaven alone. He doesn’t add a caveat in order to help us become better citizens of the country where we live. He doesn’t encourage us to pledge allegiance to flags, governments, or ethnic groups. He tells us that we are so radically different because of who we are in Christ, that our citizenship no longer resides on this earthly planet. He doesn’t even imply that our “future” citizenship is in heaven. No, it is our current citizenship, a citizenship far more valuable than any citizenship we can possess here on the earth, for this citizenship was bought with a price of inestimable value. Christ purchased us for His own private possession (1 Corinthians 6:20, 1 Peter 2:9).

Yes, I know that by being born here in the United States, and by being submissive to the government, we are citizens in one sense. But far too many put all their emphasis on this earthly, temporal citizenship rather than on the one that matters the most. Our focus should be that of Daniel, or Joseph, with our eyes on Christ as we serve and live in Babylon or Egypt. This is not our home and saving it is not our goal. Turning the moral tide has not been given to us as Christians. We are to live faithfully unto Christ where He has placed us in life. We are not to change anything, but let Him work through the power of the word and the Spirit to bring about change.

Finally, please note Paul’s passage above. If you look at this, his writing in Romans 13, and his writings in 1 Timothy, nowhere are we charged with changing culture, elections, or society as a whole. That is beyond our capability. Again, we are called to live simple lives, as citizens of another country, representing that other country by living faithfully here in the calling placed on us by our True King, Jesus Christ. I believe that if we do that, then we will be pleasing to God, and He might pour out blessings on us through the preaching of His word. There is no guarantee that He will. But He might. It’s His world, His elections, His creation to do with as He pleases. Our goal is to be faithful to Him in the midst of whatever He chooses to do with this country, world, and creation.