OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew

            The political season is reaching its crescendo.  The political candidates for the parties are in place.   The conventions have ended.  The campaigning has begun.  The debates are scheduled.  November 4th will be here before we know it.  A new President and Vice-President will soon replace the existing administration.  Whatever the outcome, history will be made in 2008.

            At this time, the masses are forming their opinions and making their decisions about the candidates.  These decisions are based upon many factors:  party, character, issues, race, and gender.  Each child of God over the age of eighteen is part of the electorate.  Therefore, each Christian is making up his/her mind about the candidates:  “Which candidate, if any, will receive my vote on election day?”

            The overriding concern for every Christian ought to be righteousness.  The wise Solomon wrote:  “Righteousness exalteth a nation:  but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).  Righteousness can be defined as right doing.  Specifically, it involves acting in harmony with the commands of God, “…for all they commandments are righteousness” (Ps. 119:172).  Thus, the child of God should take the Word of God in hand as he begins to make his decisions about the political candidates and the issues involved in the election.  The question that should be asked is:  “What does God say about this?”

            In times past, many have believed that only two issues really involve Biblical principles:  abortion and homosexuality.  Certainly both of these subjects are addressed in God’s Word.  Abortion involves the murder of an unborn child (Exo. 20:13; Rom. 13:9).  It is the shedding of innocent blood, something that God hates (Prov. 6:16-19).  Likewise, homosexuality is addressed in God’s Word.  It is referred to as a grievous sin in Genesis 18:20.  Those who engage in homosexuality go against nature (Rom. 1:26-27).  In the Old Testament, those who practiced homosexuality were sentenced to death (Lev. 20:13). In the new economy, the apostle Paul taught that those who engage in homosexuality shall not inherit thekingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9-10).  These two issues alone involve the righteousness of the United States.  Surely, it behooves a child of God to select a candidate who honors what God’s Word teaches on these two issues.

            During the course of this election year, this writer has given much attention to the issues being discussed.  Having thought about these matters, it is believed that there are more than just the normal two issues that have Biblical implications.  Welfare is one of these issues.  Welfare involves the government’s care for its citizens, especially the poor and struggling.  The present welfare system of the U.S. has evolved into a bureaucratic mess with little accountability placed upon its recipients.  Many believe they are “entitled” to the benefits they receive.  They do not take any personal responsibility for their actions.  They expect the government to take are of them.  Their votes are cast for the candidate who promises to keep the support coming.  The Bible’s teaching on this matter is plain and simple.  “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (II Thess. 3:10).  God expects individuals to labor and provide for themselves.  He never intended for able bodies to be supported by the industrious of society.  Even when one is in need, God intended for the next of kin to be of assistance to the needy.  This is made manifest in Paul’s discussion of widows indeed in I Timothy 5.  “Honor widows that are widows indeed.  But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents:  for that is good and acceptable before God” (I Tim. 5:3-4).  When Christians are considering a political candidate, these Biblical principles should weigh upon his mind.  Is the candidate that I will vote for going to follow God’s mandates, or, is he going to grow the welfare state because it will benefit him politically?

            The issue of taxes is another issue that has ramifications from a Biblical perspective.  There is no argument that Christians are expected to pay taxes to the government.  In Romans 13:1-5, Paul sets forth the responsibility of the “higher powers.”  They are to be a “terror” to evil works, and “a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Rom. 13:3-4).  In order for them to do their job effectively, they must have funds.  Therefore, Paul writes:  “For for this cause pay ye tribute also:  for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  Render therefore to all their dues:  tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor” (Rom. 13:6-7).  The government, however is not to extract more than is needed (Luke 3:12-13).  When a government begins to overly tax its citizens, it becomes a stewardship issue for the child of God.  The more money one must give to the government means less money one has for use in the kingdom of Christ.  If the Christian has the ability to vote for a candidate who will allow him to keep more of his hard earned money, it is the responsible thing for him to vote for that man.

            Welfare and taxes are just two of several issues that we need to consider from a Biblical perspective.  A failure to do this will bring God’s disapproval.  As Christians, we must discern between good and evil (Heb. 5:12).  Having made the distinction, we must “hold fast that which is good,” and “abstain from all appearance of evil” (I Thess. 5:21-22).  When a nation refuses to honor God and His teachings, there are dire consequences to be suffered.  The psalmist declared:  “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations that forget God” (Ps. 9:17).