Why Vote If God Picks ’em?

Romans 13:1
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.
Christians talk about how important it is to vote but then they also say whoever gets elected – good, bad or really bad – was put there by God.  So, what is the point in voting if God determines who gets elected anyway?  That used to confuse me.

But then I realized Romans 13:1, the passage referenced for this confusing contradiction, does not say “whoever gets elected is put there by God”.  It says the authority was established by God.  There is a big difference.

All authority belongs to God.  Because God is a god of order and not chaos, He has established authorities on earth to govern.  God established the authority, the position of rule, but He does not necessarily put specific people into those positions.**  In a democracy that is done by the choice of the people.  So, yes, it does matter that we vote and who we vote for.  Our vote impacts who will be entrusted with the sacred duty of leadership, carrying the mantle of God’s authority, in our nation.

Make your choice but then don’t blame God for the outcome. In a democracy we deserve the leadership we get.
1 Peter 2:13-15
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.

** Obviously, sometimes to accomplish His specific purpose He does put a specific person in power.  But there is nothing in Scripture to indicate that every person in power was put there by God.

[photo credit]

5 thoughts on “Why Vote If God Picks ’em?

  1. Great comment, Scott!
    I know some folks would disagree but I think there is some element of man’s choice in many (perhaps most) events. Rather than it making God out of control, as some charge God is if man has total free will, I believe it makes him even more awesome in that He accomplishes His purposes even when we are running around messing with the game pieces.

  2. Love this: “I believe it makes him even more awesome in that He accomplishes His purposes even when we are running around messing with the game pieces.” That’s encouraging.

  3. Great point Rick! Distinguishing between “authorities” and the individuals that occupy those roles. Paul’s choice of words there are very specific. Too many times in the Bible God was not happy with the choice of the people or the standing rulers at the time – some of them were even considered illegitimate and needed to be overthrown. He holds us, we the people, accountable for the choices that we make in self-government. The story of Samuel and the choice of “the people” of a King provides a great example of the dynamic. God was involved in the choice of Saul however it was only with the approval of the people. In this case God was helpful to them but not a micromanager. Nothing was done without the consent of the people. It was God’s instruction to Samuel specifically requiring the consent of the people. This was one of the texts used by Samuel Rutherford to build a case rejecting the “Divine Right of the King” belief that prevailed in the middle ages.

    • Thanks, Glenn. Misunderstanding this passage sure has caused a lot of “que sera, sera” in the church. I appreciate your added perspective on it, too.

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