Peace Lutheran Church Natoma, Kansas
Early in the summer, Adult Bible Class did a Bible study from Lutheran Hour Ministries Men’s Network entitled: We the People: Citizens of Two Kingdoms. And one of the key points of that study was that we are citizens of two kingdoms. By birth, we are citizens of the United States; and by baptism we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven.
By our baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection, our place in heaven is secured. With our salvation secured, we can now go about engaging the kingdom of the world, the United States, not in an effort to force others to join the Church, but rather in an effort to bring about the practice of natural law and the free practice of religion.
Yes, we can use the government to further the position of the Church, even if the government does not adopt Lutheranism as the official religion. The government can pass laws which promote natural law regarding the protection of life and the definition of marriage; and, the government can continue to protect the freedom of religion that we enjoy, where the Church is allowed to assemble and hold to its convictions without threat from the government of unfair tax or penalties; and without the threat of angry mobs attacking.
We are not trying to create heaven on earth; nor are we trying to make LCMS President Matt Harrison the President of the United States. We merely want to promote godly values in the laws, and protect the opportunity that we have to share the Gospel freely.
And so as we stand one month out from Election Day and prepare to engage the kingdom of the world as baptized children of God, we now ask the question of who to vote for and how to vote using this knowledge of trying to effect in a God-pleasing way the kingdom of the world. Because while we try to vote according to our baptism, the truth is that we find ourselves looking at some less than desirable candidates for many offices, and may in fact feel like we have no one to vote for at all.
Yet, when we go to the Bible and look at some of the significant world leaders who affect Israel and the early days of the Church, the question is raised: what do Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Herod and Pilate all have in common? They were all un-godly men who held positions of power, and were used by God to accomplish His purposes.
When you go into the voting booth and vote, there are some characteristics that, as a Christian, you should be looking for in a candidate; particularly the issues of life and religious freedom. But the truth is that throughout the history of the world, and yes, even throughout the history of the United States, God has raised up some leaders who were less then desirable, and even outright ungodly; and He still used them to fulfill His will.
God will use whoever is elected to serve as President, or Senator, or Representative, all the way down to dog catcher, to fulfill His purposes in bringing about His greater will. Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus were both used to bring about repentance in Israel; Augustus was used to fulfill the prophecy that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem; Herod and Pilate were used to bring Jesus to the cross and His death. God used these leaders, without their knowledge, in order that the plan of salvation which was accomplished at the cross and empty tomb might be fulfilled and you might have the promise of life eternal.
In November, God will use whoever is elected to serve over the next period of time to continue to fulfill His purposes, both for the maintenance of righteousness and the hindrance and punishment of wickedness. And we, as the Church, will continue to pray for all those who hold public office, that they would fulfill their offices in a God-pleasing manner.
God Bless! Pastor Schmidt