I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers,
intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for
kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful
and quiet lives in all godliness and
holiness. This is good, and pleases God our
Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to
come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:1-4)
The 2016 Federal Election is on in just under a week. Have you
decided who to vote for?
Election campaigns have never really been entirely civil
affairs. There's always been plenty of mud-slinging and personal
attack, plenty of lies and empty promises. It seems to me though,
more than in recent years, that it's hard to really see what the
candidates and parties before us stand for. Whether the issues at
hand are moral and ethical or social and economic, it really feels
like the options we have are difficult to trust.
That's a hard proposition in any election, but perhaps it seems
more pointed this time around given the number of present issues
that are close to the Christian heart. This isn't a "tell you how
to vote" piece. It's just a simple call for perspective.
There is much that rides on the positions and policies of the
political parties that represent us. Some of them represent the
Christian position on non-gospel matters better than others. But we
also feel the weight of the fact that we see no party that captures
our positions perfectly. Where a party appears reasonable to us on
one issue, they are completely unacceptable on another.
For many the end result seems to be fear - that we will lose out
on some issue whoever the victor is.
When the Apostle Paul writes to his ministry colleague, Timothy,
he addresses the Christian attitude towards their governing
authorities. And the command here is to pray - to pray and give
thanks for the government we have, and will have. Notice the reason
for such prayers. It's so that Christians would be able to live
lives of peace and godliness. And not only that, but these
peaceable and godly lives are regarded as good and pleasing to the
God who wants to see people saved.
There is a connection here between the God who wants all people
to be saved and the government. And it's the Christians who pray
and live good lives. It's their conduct which points to God and the
salvation that he has promised.
Notice that there is no reference to whether or not this
government believes Christian things. This Christian witness, which
bears forth from peace and godliness, is one that stands regardless
of the climate - regardless of whether Christian faith is
experiencing a period of patronage or persecution.
This same sentiment is clear in 1 Peter 2:11-25. We must submit
to authorities. It is God that has put them in place. They exist to
do justice. And where they do not, Christians are called to endure
it well, to suffer even. To point to God and our trust in Jesus. To
show, that faith lives for something bigger: For God and eternal
A government that holds to some or even many non-Christian
positions does not curtail the Christian mission. Nor does it
prevent the return of Jesus and the coming of the New Heavens and
the New Earth. It is not the end of the world. Those things depend
on God. And we make a critical error when we believe that any given
government can make or break our experience of life, as if the
present is what we are living for.
It comes down to perspective.
We need a perspective that sees eternity as bigger than the
present. We need a perspective that sees God as the one in control.
We need a perspective that says all things, whether pleasant or
painful, are things through which God calls us to minister the
gospel to our world.
So pray for our government and the one to come. And do not fear.
God is over them, has even appointed them. And whether we walk
happily alongside or struggle against the positions and policies
they hold, our godliness and peaceful conduct will testify to the
truth and the one whom we follow.