Does a Christian have a responsibility to vote in local and national elections?

I believe we do. While no passage addresses this question specifically, several point us in that direction.

Jesus said we are to be salt and light, and like cities set on hills (Matthew 5:13-16). This means our lives are to have an obvious impact for good. Our vote, especially collectively, has great potential to impact our world for good when we elect those who will govern with justice and equity.

Jesus’ apostle Paul wrote that God ordains governments with authority as his ministers (“deacons” would be an accurate translation, Romans 13:1-7). If God ordains governments to do good, it follows that his children would do well to take part in government in order to do good.

Can you even imagine the apostle Paul turning down an opportunity for Christians to run for office, or to have a say in who governs communities, even nations, in the first century?

Christians should remember Jude’s words telling us to contend earnestly for the faith, meaning that we should stand up as well as speak up for it (Jude 3). Nothing in his statement limits standing up for the faith to the church. Jesus said, “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops” (Matthew 10:27). It is the devil, not Jesus, who desires to limit Christians to speaking only among themselves.

Some say that we are not to force our religion on others. In so saying, however, they are trying to force us to conform to what they believe. Why is that any different? We should all be free to exchange ideas and beliefs in the public arena rather than be coerced into silence, or censored.

God put Joseph in power in Egypt. He sent Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to Babylon where they all served in influential offices under foreign kings. Esther, was made queen of Persian as a young lady and saved her people. Her uncle Mordecai was also given a high position.

Jesus said that even Pilate had no power over him except what had been given him from heaven (John 19:10-11). What power, what authority does each Christian citizen have, but to vote?

If the Good Lord delays his coming, future generations will look back on our day and see the church’s impact on our society. Will they look back and see that we did everything within our power to influence our communities and our nation for good?

The ball is in our court this coming Tuesday. Remember the “one talent” man? Don’t bury what you have. Use it to God’s glory.

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