by Rayola Kelley
Q: How involved in politics do you think a Christian should be? Shouldn’t every believer be doing all they can to save America?
A: This issue has caused conflict for some Christians. The conflict rests with the fact that we as believers hold dual citizenship: here in America and in the kingdom of God. Since we hold dual citizenship where must our loyalties reside, with this nation or with heaven? After all, we can only serve one master at a time. This is also true for maintaining our loyalties or allegiance.
The Bible is quite clear about our responsibilities as citizens in His kingdom and of this world. Let us begin with our citizenship in heaven.
Our Allegiance: The Bible is clear that we are to obey God rather than man. Clearly, if there is any conflict between our two citizenships, we must adhere to God, rather than our nation. This is why Christians are often persecuted because their allegiance is first and foremost to God, and not the godless leaders of their country. After all, God has redeemed us and deserves our complete devotion and service. However, to ensure that God is in His rightful place, we must set our affections on things above and not on this earth (Acts 5:29; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:2).
Our Responsibilities: As Christians we hold the official capacity of ambassadors in this world. In other words, we officially represent the kingdom of God. This is why we have been commissioned to preach the Gospel and make followers of Jesus. The beauty about the kingdom of God is that all who are poor in spirit, broken in heart and oppressed by the world are welcome to become a citizen of it by way of simple child-like faith (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 10:14-15; 16:15; Luke 4:18-19; John 7:37; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
This brings us to our responsibilities towards the world. Clearly, our allegiance must be to God and the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, when it comes to our country, we must start from the premise of having a right attitude towards it.
Attitude: The Word of God is clear that we are not of this world. Granted, we are in it, but we do not belong to it. We may have been born in this world, but our spiritual birth identifies us to a better promise, place and hope. However, we are in this world; therefore, what attitude must we have towards it to ensure that we keep our association with it in the right perspective? We are told that we must possess the attitude of a stranger and the disposition of a pilgrim (1 Peter 2:11). As strangers we are passing through, and as pilgrims our affections rest elsewhere. As a result, the world will have no hold or claim on us; therefore, it will not be able to influence our focus and walk.
Our Responsibilities: The Bible does not instruct us to do something we do not have the means to carry out. Saving America is not within our means. As far as voting, I believe we need to take advantage of this privilege and make our voice known, but we cannot save this country.
The Bible is clear about our responsibilities towards the country we are living in. The Apostle Paul dealt with this subject in 1 Timothy 2:1-3: “I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men, For kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior.” Our main responsibility is to pray for our leaders for the sole purpose of living quiet and peaceable lives. Such lives allow us to worship and serve our God in quiet confidence, without fear of persecution. I do not see in these instructions that we are to be a conscience of this nation. Granted, we are to be a light that stands distinct in godliness and honesty in the darkness, for we represent an unseen, eternal kingdom; but I do not see where we are to try to line this nation up according to our perception of righteousness.
We cannot legislate righteousness, but we can plead our cause to God to give us righteous leaders. However, as a nation, we must be worthy of such leaders. Leaders represent the attitude of the people. If people do not insist on moral integrity in their personal lives, they cannot expect it or demand it from their leaders.
Admittedly, I am not excited about the presidential choices we have this coming election. But, I must consider what the quality of these people’s lives and leadership are telling me about the moral and spiritual condition of our nation. When you consider that prayer has been taken out of schools, the Ten Commandments out of public places, children are still being aborted, governors are being caught in such compromising situations as prostitution sting operations, senators are arrested for such things as making possible improper advancements, sexual perversion is being taught as an acceptable lifestyle to our children, and home schooling and preaching against homosexuality is being made illegal, perhaps it is time for us to truly repent as a people, instead of trying to save what appears to be a sinking ship(Proverbs 14:34).