By the time you read this, Canadians will be going to the polls, and, for some, the election results will already be in. Our country will have a new government. In the coming days ahead, we will have time to ascertain what the results mean, and the direction in which we are headed.
I have been thinking about several realities.
The first is that of biblical instructions given to Christians regarding our relationship with government.
According to Romans 13:1, we are told, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” In God’s sovereign design, He has provided us with the government that we have now.
That does not always mean that things will turn out well or poorly. We must remember that Paul wrote these lines while Nero governed Rome, and Christians were not well treated. God has His own designs, for He sees the long term perspective. However, we do not know what these designs are regarding this government; but we must take comfort in the fact that God is in control.
Second, we as Christians have an obligation to perform.
According to Romans 13:7, we are to: “Pay to all what is owed to them; taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed.” Furthermore, as 1 Timothy 2:1-2 reminds us, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
So, from these texts we remember that our first obligation is to support the new government in any way that we can do so, maintaining a clear conscience. We are also committed to praying for our Prime Minister, whoever he may be.
Third, we need to remember, that on this side of eternity, there will always be a clear dividing line between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of men.
The kingdoms of this world are not the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. For that reason, we will never place our hope for the future or of the advancement of the gospel into the hands of the state. We will always pray that “your kingdom come, your will be done.” For it is in Christ’s kingdom that we find our affection, joy and hope. For this reason, Christians need to continue to resist government when it refuses, for instance, to protect the lives of unborn children, or when it insists on moral issues that are at odds with the kingdom. We support the government where we can, seeking to encourage and strengthen it, but our ultimate loyalty is to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Finally, Christians must always think of our relationship to the state much in the way Daniel’s relationship to the state was. He seems to have held high public office, and sought the welfare of Babylon. But when a statue was built on the plain of Dura demanding that all bow before it, or when prayers are later forbidden to anyone except the ruler of Persia, Daniel opened his window to Jerusalem and prayed to his God – facing the place where his hope truly lied.
For us, we will seek to bless this nation in every way in which we can. But in this hour, Canada will never be Jerusalem, even as Babylon or Persia could not be Jerusalem.
Our conviction is to bless this land. But our loyalty is to Him who sits on the throne and to the lamb.