It's Time To Vote...

What a great day last Sunday was! I enjoyed so much both the conversations that I had and observing the conversations that so many were having. It was a privilege to pray for Lia and, as always, the food was good in every way. To top all of that off with communion was perfect. I can't wait for the next Communion Feast on February 28th!

That being said, there is a lot of life between now and our next communion feast. These next four weeks are going to be filled with new opportunities and fresh challenges. Among the many things that will take place in February I can't help but shine a bright light on the fact that a week from today New Hampshirans will have the opportunity to cast their vote in the primary. I believe with all my heart that as Christians we have more than an opportunity, we have a responsibility to vote.

In the gospels we find Jesus using the now familiar symbol of light shining in the darkness as a metaphor for the church. We are to bring the light into whatever darkness is around us and before us. Each and every week I open God's Word with you and share with a little bit of the light It contains. As I do this I will often contrast the Truth with the lies. I present the Bible's revelation about God's redemption of humanity but I also share with you His design for all human conduct and institutions. It is His design, His way of doing things that we should be seeking to promote. That endeavor begins at home but it should never stop there. If God's design is best, if it is the light that shines in the darkness, then we should seek to have it pervade every nook and cranny of all levels of society. This, of course, includes government. Especially government. For, as I have also shared before, government has the greatest potential for replacing God in the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens.

I could write an entire book on the ways in which government is currently unBiblical. It's size, scope, and power alone challenges the Biblical idea that all human governments should be in submission to the Creator. Beyond it's mere size, the particular places that it has overreached into, like the family, the workplace, and the education system, to name a few, are further challenges to God's design for government. I intend throughout this year to systematically and comprehensively present what God's design is. Why? Because understanding what the Creator of human government has intended human government to be is the best way to figure out who you should vote for; not just for president of the United States, but every echelon of government both local, state, and federal. I hope you look forward to being more informed and understanding what the perfect design is. I know that I look forward to sharing it with you. Stay tuned.

For now, and with the immediate reality of the primary coming up next Tuesday, I want to leave the bulk of the ideas that I have just touched on for another day. Today I want to make sure that I have done all that I can to convince you that

1. you are responsible to vote,
2. you are responsible to vote for the candidates that will uphold God's Biblical design.

1. You, Believer, are responsible to vote.

I hope that I have already shown you that, as Jesus' light bearers, we are responsible to vote, therein shining our light into the darkness. If not, please reach out to me individually and I will be happy to dialogue with you more about your responsibility before God. It is for lack of light that the darkness pervades.  Remember the closet door. When you open it, darkness doesn't pervade the light, light pervades the darkness. Light overcomes darkness. But you still have to open the door. We have to vote or our light is not being shined, in a sense we are not opening the door.

2. You, Believer, are responsible to vote for certain types of candidates.

Now to our responsibility to vote for only certain candidates. In our homegroup last week the question came up: Should we vote for the lesser of two evils rather than not vote at all? I want to deal with this question. But it's not necessary right now. The reason it's not necessary is that there are currently several candidates who thoroughly align themselves with Biblical design AND fear God AND follow Christ. There are even candidates leading in the polls who I have found to be more in line with Biblical principles than any candidates that I am aware of since Abraham Lincoln. You may be wondering if I'm going to come right out and tell you who I think you should vote for. I'm not. It's not because I don't believe that I am allowed to by law, It's because I don't believe that I should. This requires you to do some homework. Not much though. All you have to do is look at God's design as revealed in His "top ten" to quickly eliminate those who don't uphold these sacred institutions. Setting aside the first 4 - "Love for God" (even though they are the most important they are also the trickiest to ascertain and apply to government), let's look at the final 6 ("Love for others"):

See Exodus 20:3-17 to read them for yourself.
5. Honoring Father and Mother.
Do the ideas and policies of the candidate elevate the place of mother and father? Do they seek to give the family it's best chance of succeeding? Do they want to support parents in their responsibility to raise their children(Ephesians 6:4)?

6. Murder.
This one is simple and strait forward. Are they pro-life? Not only is abortion murder, The unborn child is the most helpless and fragile member of humanity. Noone should be more protected than this human being. I have to say something here. If you've had an abortion you have not committed a sin outside of God's grace and desire to forgive. Please don't take this as a condemnation on anyone personally. Not only the unborn but the disabled and the elderly are additional social groups that we should protect the life of. Politics should hold all life as sacred.

7. Adultery.
This is where we find principles that related to the whole arena of the sanctity of marriage. Adultery in Scripture means much more than unfaithfulness to a marriage. It includes a prohibition on any other intimate form of relationship besides marriage between one man and one woman. Closely linked to number 5, this design element provides the cornerstone for all human society: Marriage.

8. Stealing.
At some point taxation becomes theft by the government. Read the story of why Israel was split into two separate parts. You can find it in I Kings 12. It was, in part, overburdening the people with taxes. Now, again, I am not saying that all taxation is unbiblical. And even if it is, we still have the mandate from Jesus to "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's an unto God that which is God's."  But when a candidate believes that forced redistribution of wealth is OK, they have departed from God's good design. Ownership is a primary gift from God. From the beginning he established stewardship with ownership rights to human beings. This should never be taken away by government. Vote for a candidate that understands stewardship and ownership.

9. Lying.
Look at the track record of a candidate. I know everyone says that all politicians are liars but it's not true. Some are. Some aren't. Do the research. For some candidates it's not just what they say, but what they conceal that is lying.

10. Coveting.
Closely related to all that have preceded. This is the commandment to not pursue that which is not yours. Whether it's money, property, or prerogative a candidate should be viewed through the lens of this question: Will this candidate pursue policies that limit the covetous nature of man or feed it?

In all of this I hope you know my heart. I, in no way, want to offend anyone. I hope that I don't offend anyone. But I believe this is important enough that I am willing to offend someone. I know politics is the least favorite subject of almost everyone. I believe that the church has failed, completely failed, in most previous efforts to shine light in the darkness of politics and government. Please don't lump all that I've just written into any preconceived notions you have about the Bible's or Christianity's views on the issues. Seek them out for yourself. Think through the things I've touched on yourself. Test all things. Cling to what is good.

I leave you with some encouragement for your week.

God is bigger than any particular country or election. We need not fear whatever happens for God is not only bigger, His love for you Christian, is stronger. In Christ you have a new life. Eternal in nature, you will never exhaust the full extent of His life now residing in you. His life in you comes with new purpose and a new plan. It's better than the best purpose and the best plan you could ever imagine. Don't sell yourself short. Don't settle for a cheap knock-off. Pursue His life, His purpose, and His plan. And here's the kicker. All of this comes with a new strength. You're not left to your own devices. With His presence comes power. Power to overcome, to have victory, to win the battle that rages every day in your heart. God loves you.

For His Glory,

Pastor Justin