(An excellent article from a friend and fellow worshiper at Rockport I thought would be worth sharing)
By Tren E. Groat
It always bothers me deeply when I hear people say they don’t vote or don’t plan to vote. I’m not always sure what to tell them. After all, is it necessary for Christians to vote, or is that just something important to me? These questions have caused me to search the Scriptures.
So does Scripture have anything to say about voting? For believers, Scripture should be our ultimate authority for all we do and the first place we look for answers.
Paul writes in Romans 13:1-2, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
Scripture says all authority that exists was instituted by God and He is sovereign over it. This includes government, which is God’s means to maintain order, regardless of whether it is a democracy or a dictatorship.
Romans 13 says all governments that exist in the world exist because God ordained them too exist. “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:2). The United States of America has a democratic republic because God ordained it to occur in 1787 when our Constitution was enacted.
Where does voting fit in this? Paul writes in Romans 13:7, “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” These are some of the duties of each citizen under government to ensure it functions in an orderly way. If everyone stops paying taxes or does not respect laws and authorities, the society erodes into chaos and government cannot function.
In America, the government God has established (Rom. 13:1) requires elections in order to continue to exist and function. “We the people” are given the responsibility (and privilege) to choose our leaders through elections. If God has instituted our government in the United States, then voting and elections are also something that have been instituted by God as the means for our form of government to exist. Scripture makes it clear that we are not to live in rebellion to the government God has established and to not vote undermines our form of government.
God commands us in Scripture to “Pay to all what is owed to them…” (Rom. 13:7). Not voting ignores our responsibility and does not give to our government what is required of citizens by Scripture.
Not voting also shows a careless attitude about government and what happens in our nation. This ignores Jesus’ command: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31)
I’ve heard disillusioned people say, “It will do no good to vote.” That is fatalism. God determines what will occur, and that includes the means (events) He will use to bring everything about as He wills it to be. In our government, God has chosen elections to bring into power those He desires. If we don’t vote, we are rejecting the means God will use to bring about His will for us and our nation. Perhaps our vote may be what God uses for change.
Let me be clear. We do not trust in the election process. We trust in the Lord to do His will. Our prayer should always be, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9-11).
Certainly, there is much to be displeased about in our government and a long list of politicians that are unworthy of their offices. Yet, we are not free of our responsibility because some politicians are crooked. We would be prideful to think we are above the fray by not voting. If you don’t vote, you are guilty of replacing the “complexity of voting with the simplicity of gloating.” (Why Vote If You Are Disillusioned, John Piper, October 27, 2004.)
Scripture tells us, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes” (Psalm 118:8-9). We know from Scripture government will never be the solution to our problems since sinful people lead us. But they are the only kind of politicians that will ever exist. Giving in to cynicism is not the answer. Hoping in politicians is idolatry. Let’s trust in God’s sovereignty to use voting and elections as one of His many means for bringing about His will on earth. May His will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.