Many things will be said this election cycle. Even more things that ought to be said won’t be. Parties want your vote. Candidates promise you the world. Evil doers desire the silencing of the lambs. Christianity has slunk behind the drapes of personal religious piety. Pulpits squeak the political neutrality of Jesus. The campaign for your trust will be long, tiresome. By what standard should Christians assess candidates, politicians and their parties? It is an important question that needs prayer and careful consideration.
Many a pious person will assert that politics or law is a secondary issue. It is not a gospel thing. Christians are “free” to vote however they desire. Lick your fingers, toss them up to the wind and see which way she blows. Christ has nothing to do with politics and law. Really?
Head, shoulders, knees and toes
Remember that old rhyme to learn the body parts. Does the head need the large intestines, does the bowel matter, and can the body survive without the liver? Are these gross body bits secondary, unimportant? Is life segmented into religious and secular, or is it whole? So, what exactly is secondary to the gospel?
Salvation is by grace through the faith which was gifted by God to a once wicked wretch. The dead cannot raise themselves. God resurrects skeletons and robes them with Christ. New life commences with the gift of a new heart. Faith flows from this gift. No one can meet the righteous standards of God’s Law, all fall short. Way short. Everything in salvation comes from God. All of it. Amen.
Now what? Are we raised from slavery to sin unto self direction? Are we resurrected to a life of self determination? No, we are raised as servants of Christ. We are to follow in His footsteps. Jesus was faithfully obedient to God’s Law. And we are to imitate Him.
Is the right usage of God’s Law a secondary, non gospel issue? Does Jesus care? Paul answers these questions in 1 Timothy 1:8-11.
“we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God...”
The Law is good if used lawfully. Rightful usage of God’s law is “according to the glorious gospel.” God’s Law is never pitted against the gospel. Law and its usage are not secondary issues to be debated in ivory towers by men in funny hats. Applying the Law unlawfully is unchristian, anti-gospel. Paul cares; Jesus cares.
A political eunuch Jesus version 2.0 (prounced 2 point O) is often spruiked in quieted worship halls and the blogger-sphere. Don’t mix your drinks. Religion and politics cause wars and thuggery. Our religion is not permitted in the public square. Didn’t you know; Jesus pursues hearts and souls? The rule of men is earthy and dirty; Jesus rules spiritually and dirt ain’t His thing. Sure.
“Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ‘all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’” Matthew 28:18-20
Do words have meaning? Sounds strong; perhaps even neurotic. All power in heaven and on earth seems to spit in the wind of political pluralism. Or are they simply ethereal words of a spiritual King giving comfort to a people for another time in another place? Do words have meaning?
Words have meaning
Jesus is the Word of God. His words are not the utterings of a first century lunatic. He is direct. His spoken words are powerful. Jesus is the crowned King of heaven and earth. His rule and dominion exceeds the chambers of hearts. He has all authority within the pearly gates and down here in the dirt of the world. He loves dirt. His image bearers are breathing, moving bodies of God moulded dirt. Jesus loves dirt. He died for His people, His clay creatures. He is intimately interested in everything that goes on down here on little old planet earth. Everything is to bend to Him. All of life is to be submitted to the King. There is no neutrality in anything.
Every nation is to be discipled. All the world is to be taught to obey the commands of Christ. Australia is to be baptised in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Our laws matter. Jesus is concerned with what we legislate. Australia’s laws must reflect the perfect Law of God. Our vote counts and is a moral act to be performed in faithfulness to the King and His Word.
Our State and Federal representatives are ministers of God. They are servants of the King regardless of them acknowledging this fact. Truth is not determined by a vote or an ascent to it. Jesus tells us that He is the King and that all lesser kings come under His authority. They are His ministers.
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.” Romans 13:1-5
Political leaders are ministers of Jesus; sword bearing avengers of God. Our governing authorities have moral duties; to bear the sword against evildoers. Their office is under the authority of King Jesus. Only madmen claim that people determine good from evil. God defines good and evil and revealed it in His Word. Stealing is evil because God is not a thief. Ruling authorities define evil by turning to the Law of God. They do not create it ex-nihilo. They are ministers not God. Criminal penalties and restitutions are also to be formulated from the Word of the living God.
God fearing men
Where does the rubber hit the road? Your vote counts. You know that. It elects, or doesn’t, a candidate and party in Tasmania and Canberra. God requires you to vote for a certain type of ruler to be your political minister.
“You shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” Exodus 18:21.
God lays out the ground rules for political ministers. They must fear God and be men of truth. This is your voting blue print. Christian, this is your standard. You are called to assess every candidate and their party against the criterion identified in Exodus 18:21.
Your vote is a moral activity. You either vote faithfully or unfaithfully. God does not call you to choose the lesser of two evils. Fear of defeat should not move you from your moral responsibility before God. If no one chalks up to the standard write to the political parties. Demand a God fearing candidate. Speak to your church leaders and write in together.
You may feel overwhelmed. You may not know where to start in assessing candidates and political parties. If this is you, please refer to Family Voice Australia and the Australian Christian Lobby’s party overviews. They assess parties against basic Christian values. Whatever you do, don’t simply vote for a person and a party because that is what you have always done. God does not look favourably upon the traditions of man.
Kiss the Son
If we continue to vote for our favourite party because of their colours or hand outs our nation will be destroyed. We will be overrun by evil and not because it’s the end of the world. If our nation rejects God; if our political ministers do not kiss the feet of the Son, He will pour out His wrath upon us. All law is moral. The fight is over whose morality is to be codified in our nation’s law. Do we want the tyranny of secular humanism’s political pluralism? Or should we desire the gracious Law of God to be applied lawfully in our land?
“For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” Isaiah 60:12
“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Psalm 2:10-12
“Jesus Christ...is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth...” Revelation 1:5.
If you hunger for more read Political Polytheism. Here's the link to a free PDF version (file is +- 33mb).