Do Christians owe it to God to vote? My barber is a born again Christian. I enjoy talking with her about all kinds of things as she cuts my hair. We agree most of the time. But recently she mentioned that she doesn’t plan to vote in the upcoming election.
When I asked why, she said that she didn’t feel her vote counted and the election in California wouldn’t go her way anyway. So why bother?
While I sympathize with her feelings, I couldn’t disagree more with her conclusion. The Bible teaches that Christians owe it to God to vote.
Perhaps you have some of the same concerns: maybe you feel that you don’t like the candidates, or you can protest by sitting out, or that our country is going down the drain anyways, or it is too hard to determine which candidates are good, or betrayed by those you’ve voted for in the past.
I sympathize with most of these objections. But despite these concerns, the Bible says Christians owe it to God to vote.
My barber is not alone. In recent elections in the USA, about 2 of every 5 of self-professed Christians took that right for granted and did not vote.
So here are 3 reasons Christians owe it to God to vote:
01. Scripture Tells us to Cooperate with a Government Which Asks us to Vote.
This passage is clear that we should do as the government requires:
“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.” (Romans 13:1-2 ESV)
The teaching here is clear on at least 2 points:
Governments, even bad ones, are permitted by God.We are to submit to the government.
The first verse of this passage begins: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” (Romans 13:1a ESV)
This was written at a time when there was great injustice inflicted by the Roman government. Perhaps you feel that your government is corrupt or unjust? That doesn’t change the teaching, just as it did not then.
Paying taxes is mentioned specifically: “For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 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.” (Romans 13:6-7 ESV)
Which is harder to do, pay taxes or vote? If we should pay taxes, we should certainly register and vote if our government asks us to.
Thankfully here in the USA we can vote and our government asks us to vote. If you live elsewhere, I hope you have a similar privilege. Our government’s “Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities” site lists several responsibilities including:
Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.
Participate in the democratic process.
So this is God’s instruction and that should settle the issue. We owe it to God to vote.
However, I’d like to share two more important points that can encourage us to do as God has instructed.
02. Not to vote is to surrender to evil.
If Christians don’t vote, that leaves decisions to those who don’t care so much about biblical godliness, Christian morality. It means surrender.
Christians should never just give up! Scripture is clear on this in many places such as the following:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24 ESV)
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14b-15 ESV)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV)
Press on! Run to win! Endure!
Nehemiah is a wonderful example of a civic leader who refused to simply surrender to the status quo or to evil.
Nehemiah was a government official who saw a civic problem, rolled up his sleeves and got to work fixing it. The problem was that the wall around the city of Jerusalem had been destroyed and was laying in rubble. Thus, God’s city was unprotected and disgraced.
Rather than just complaining, worrying, or throwing up his hands in despair, Nehemiah acted:
First he fasted and prayed (see Nehemiah 1:4-11)
Then he secured financial assistance from the king (see Nehemiah 2:1-8)
Then he surveyed the project and recruited workers (see Nehemiah 2:9-20)
Then he organized the workers and set about the task (see Nehemiah 3)
Then he persevered when opposition threatened the project and the safety of the workers. (see Nehemiah 5)
The result was dramatic civic change: the wall was rebuilt with astonishing speed. Jerusalem was once again protected.
Yes, Nehemiah had a special calling. Not all are called to a leadership role as he was. But can’t all of us participate by at least becoming aware of the issues and candidates and voting?
A quote usually attributed to Edmund Burke says it well: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
At least vote and if you’re called to civic service follow God’s calling!
03. The excuses for not voting are hollow.
The fact that God has told us to cooperate with the government and vote should be sufficient to motivate us.
But for further encouragement, here are answers to some of the objections raised about voting:
“I cannot in good conscience support either candidate.” ANSWER: Don’t vote for either candidate in that particular office or write in one of your choice. Be sure to vote for good candidates in other offices.
“I can protest bad government by sitting out the election.” ANSWER: Bad government comes from electing bad officials. Not voting for godly candidates allows poor candidates to be elected.
“My vote doesn’t count.” ANSWER: It counts as much as anyone else’s. Just because you might not win doesn’t mean your vote won’t count. It is the majority that rules. Make your voice heard even if not on the winning side. Don’t just surrender (see point 2 above).
“I feel betrayed by those I have voted for in the past.” ANSWER: If they are still in office, use your vote to help get them out of office!“I don’t know who to vote for. It’s too hard to figure out.” ANSWER: Find Christian voter guides. They tell you where candidates stand on issues and give guidance on referendums.
Christian voters guides can be found via a google search and are a huge help. Some outline local races as well as national. Here are a few suggestions:
In conclusion, I agree with Got Questions which states that, “Candidates or proposals that violate the Bible’s commands for life, family, marriage, or faith should never be supported (Proverbs 14:34). Christians should vote as led through prayer and study of both God’s Word and the realities of the choices on the ballot.”
Please Christians, don’t surrender. Exercise your right and responsibility and vote!