Christian Citizenship
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This page last updated on 05-19-2010 -- A Work in progress...

Christian Citizenship

     For several years I have been trying to get my fellow Christians involved in politics.  I kept hearing, "leave it in God's Hands."  Since it has been said that  'God helps those who help themselves', (not a Bible verse), then we need to rise up and get involved.

     Politics is the business of deciding who gets what, when, and where.  Christians must not leave such important business to unbelievers.  Please do not misunderstand me.  I think the majority of Citizens are Christians - at least they claim to be.  I am talking about those that actually try to practice to be a Christian - no insult intended to anyone as I am not perfect either.  However, you know what I am talking about.

     When Good compromises with Evil, the only winner is Evil.  Do not compromise because the Evil ones do not compromise at all. It is a shame that God fearing Christians hide behind church doors instead of declaring God's truth in the pubic square. Christians should realize that "God Said So!" is a perfectly legitimate political argument! Christians need to stop worrying about offending people when decency demands that we offend them.  Keep in mind that if we do not stand up for Christ for even for the smallest things, then why should he stand up for us?  (Even something like Happy Holidays instead of Christmas - there is a reason for the season. Don't you think we should honor him always?)  One of the biggest problems is that Christians use the excuse that they are too polite to stand up and fight for our freedom.  If we do not stand up, and I mean in large numbers, more than those who do not believe then we are going to lose, then like the saying goes, "All that is necessary for Evil to triumph is that Good men do nothing" or compromise.

     This following is basically a Bible lesson (more of an outline) on why Christians should be Active Citizens.  I know that some of the points made can be taken and twisted so I have tried to be clear on what I am trying to say here.  The verses in this document are from the New International Version (NIV).  I cannot claim that I did all this research myself **.  I found most of it from other sites on the internet and have combined/modified it (added verses and some other text) and it continues to be a work in progress as I continue my studies.  I humbly pray that this is beneficial to you and that you are motivated to be a part of the solution.
 - Yours in Christ,  John Gorena

     In these times, no one can be an obedient Christian who is not also a good citizen.  The Christian faith demands responsible citizenship. A Republic like the United States, by its very nature, requires citizen participation in the processes of government at every level - local, state, and national.  The Bible calls for Christian citizenship. Let’s look at this in sections: The Nature of Government, The Call to Citizenship, and the Responsibilities of a Christian Citizen.

The Nature of Government - Bible principles concerning the nature of government are as valid today as when they were first given.

  • Civil government is of divine appointment.
    • Civil government is a part of God’s purpose for this kind of world. God’s people have lived under many different forms of government. While no one form of government is divinely chosen, government itself is ordained of God.  We must remember that Christians created this Country and much of the rebellion was organized form the pulpits.  You must vote because through our voting we are playing our part in a process which will ultimately reveal God’s choice for the ruler of our nation. (see this list of reasons).
      • (Romans 13:1-2, NIV)  1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
        Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
  • Government leaders are servants of God.
    • The Old Testament describes the desired character of a civil ruler.
      • (Psalm 72:1-2, NIV)  1 Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness.
        He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice.
      • (Psalm 72: 12-14, NIV)  12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.
        He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.
        14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.
    • The New Testament identifies public officials as representatives of God’s authority, worthy of respect and honor.  AND for those in positions of Authority that they should be God's Servant.
      • (Romans 13:3-5, NIV)  3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
        For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
        Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
  • Civil government is temporal.
    • No human form of government will last through eternity. All will eventually end. Only the kingdom of God will endure forever.
      • (1 Corinthians 15:24, NIV)  24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.

The Call to Citizenship - God’s people are concerned not only about the world to come but also about the world in which we now live.

  • Christians are citizens of two worlds.
    • Though these two worlds are never to be confused, faithful citizenship in the kingdom of God makes demands upon the believer’s citizenship in the community, the state, and the nation.
      • (Philippians 3:2, NIV)  20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
      • (Luke 20:25, NIV)  25 Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.
      • (John 17:15, NIV)  15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
  • Christians are called to transform this world.
    • Obedience or disobedience to the Roman government were basically the only options available for New Testament Christians and their fellow citizens. We live in an open political system, however, which allows for much more influential participation in the processes of government.
      • (Matthew 5:13-16, NIV)  13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
        You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
        15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
        16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Responsibilities of a Christian Citizen - No single passage of Scripture lists all the duties of a Christian citizen. Insights into what is expected of responsible citizens, however, are to be found throughout the Bible.

  • Give primary obedience to God.
    • God alone deserves to have unquestioning obedience. Christians must exercise moral discernment in their support of government.
      • (Acts 5:29, NIV)  29 …We must obey God rather than men!”
      • (Matthew 23:10, NIV)  10 …you have one teacher, the Christ  [Note: In this context ‘teacher’ also has the same meaning as ‘master’ and ‘‘Christ’ also means ‘Messiah’.]
      • (Daniel 3:10-11, NIV)  10 You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace.
      • (Daniel 3: 16-18, NIV)  16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.
        17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.
        18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.
  • Obey the law.
    • Ideally, laws exist to restrain evil, preserve social order, and promote the general welfare. They are to be respected and obeyed in the context of Christian responsibility.
      • (Romans 13:5, NIV)  5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
      • (1 Peter 2:13-15, NIV)  13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority,
        14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
        15 For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
      • (Titus 3:1, NIV)  1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,
  • Pray for public officials.
    • Prayer to God on behalf of government leaders properly complements active political involvement. Christians should pray for government leaders without attempting to make prayer a substitute for active political involvement, or vice versa.
      • (1_Timothy 2:1-2, NIV)  1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone -
        2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
  • Pay taxes.
    • Pay taxes, settle your debts and be just.
      • (Luke 20:25, NIV)  25 … Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.
      • (Romans 13:7, NIV)  7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
      • (Micah 6:8, NIV)  8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
  • Support, preserve, and protect freedom.
    • That form of government is best in which personal and religious freedom are guaranteed.  One function of government should be to guarantee personal and religious freedom. Christian citizens should be eternally vigilant in the preservation of liberty.
      • (Galatians 5:1, NIV)  1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
      • (1 Peter 2:16, NIV)  16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
  • Christians as Leaders
    • In the Old Testament, King Solomon prayed for a discerning heart and not for riches. This pleased God. Likewise, we should also do the same.
      •  (1 Kings 3:9-11, NIV)  9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?
        10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.
        11 So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice,... ”
    • Obedient Christians will be good leaders/citizens and must act accordingly.
      • (Philippians 1:27, NIV)  27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
    • The time to act is now.  As Christians, if we see that we can do good and then do not act on it, it is a sin to not do anything.
      • (James 4:17, NIV)   17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

** Note:  I started this outline on Christian Citizenship from information at The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission page.  I have modified it a little and will continue to work on this as I get input.   Though I am a member of "Garden Ridge Church of Christ", the Southern Baptist Convention Christian Citizenship website was a key source that got me started. Plus they have a really nice Christian Citizenship Resolution that I like also.  There were a few other sites and some individuals that have contributed.  Please feel free to share.

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