GE2019: Why should you vote?
The state is a means of God’s ‘common grace’. The Bible is very clear that the governing authorities act on God’s behalf to restrain evil and promote what is good (Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2). This benefits all people in this world, not just Christians.
As a general rule Christians follow Jesus’ command to: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” (Matthew 22:21, KJV). Christians are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) and also of an earthly nation (usually where we are born). The Christian’s duty is to obey the governing authorities. The exception is where they forbid what God requires, or require what God forbids (Acts 5:29).
It is our earnest prayer that Christians will have freedom to share the Gospel and live out the Christian life (1 Timothy 2:1-4). In praying “deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13) we are praying against the persecution of the Church as well as against personal temptation.
Romans 13 makes clear that God has ordained the governing authorities in every country whether rulers are Christian or not. Thanks to God’s common grace, there are many non-Christians who take the right view on a range of issues. Nobody’s thinking is wrong at every point.
Politicians who disagree with Christians about redefining marriage can still be strongly against assisted suicide or liberalising cannabis laws. Some atheists will strongly defend the free speech of Christians. The Christian Institute can testify that there are men and women of integrity in parties across the political spectrum.
Like the prophet Daniel, God’s people must encourage leadership which promotes truth and righteousness, such as when he said to King Nebuchadnezzar: “Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed” (Daniel 4:27).
Unlike Daniel, Christians in the UK today get to play a part in electing their leaders. In our democracy we all have the legal right to vote. Billions of people around the world do not enjoy the same freedoms we have in the UK. We elect Members of Parliament and so, ultimately, the Government. We help choose ‘Caesar’. So voting is a privilege and a serious responsibility.
The General Election provides an opportunity for Christians to speak out and play their part by voting. Governments can make it easier or harder to live freely as a Christian or to share the Gospel. Believers have to make a judgement about how their vote can be used to best effect.