Lent 2023 Day 36: Tue 4 Apr
1 Peter 2.13-17
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.
Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honour the emperor.
Christians are blessed with the mind of Christ. Christ is above politics. He is neither conservative nor liberal. He does not favour any party. Peter lived under Roman occupation and he submitted himself to its rule. We have a vote, but are we not called to exercise that vote as best expresses the compassion of Christ Jesus and with respect to God’s Law? As Church we are unlikely to come to one view on how to vote – politics is complex. Any church that tells its members how to vote has overstepped its authority.
During the Brexit debate some Christians voted leave because they perceived satanic influences underpinning the structure of the EU. Others voted for the greater economic clout and development opportunities the Eu offered, and perhaps greater opportunities for evangelism. Who was right?
If a national or a local election does not go our way we are called to honour the government or authority appointed. If the authorities pass laws contrary to Christian faith and practice, we have the right to protest, but we must exercise the right decently and with respect for others.
Peter reminds us that we are always to live under God’s rule, which surpasses all human rule, but submit to every human authority. There will be clashes when human rules are out of step with God’s. We may get caught up in crises of conscience. All we can do is to trust God to work according to his mysterious but perfect ways, and to pray according to what He has revealed to us of his will. God always comes out on top, even though He may seem a long time coming.
Does your faith influence your vote?
Do you pray regularly for those placed in authority over you, whether you like them or not?
Father God, I place my future path in your hands, but I confess that I frequently want to take hold of the steering. I say that you Jesus is Lord, but I often think I can run things better. Give me glimpses of the way ahead, so that I can lie comfortably in your loving arms. Amen.
How to vote 2 (Ditto)