Tuesday, April 10, 2012

prayer before politics

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 2:3-4

The "good" referred to in verse 3 is the command in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 for Christians to earnestly pray for kings and all those in authority over them. Why was this "good"? Ultimately this is going out to a Mediterranean world ruled by Caesar. And a brutal military kept the peace with Rome. But Paul's urging for Christians to prayer was for a greater purpose. Paul knew that a stable society (even a forced stability at military might) would be the environment in which the communication of the gospel could spread. And that would please the Lord!

Paul longed for God to be glorified in a peaceful culture where travel and communication could move forward unhindered. That way God's desire that all people come to the knowledge of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ might be realized. The peaceful prayer of Christians for governing authorities was one part of that process.

We are in the middle of a political season in the United States. And I have been watching Christians here confuse kingdoms all my life. It is sad to see hopes pinned to political candidates. Our hope is in God. Paul could ask churches to pray for Caesar who was so pagan as to expect worship as a god from his subjects! What does that tell us about who we should be praying for today?

Christians are not commanded to be politically active. We ARE commanded to be prayerfully active. That does not mean we cannot be involved in politics. Not at all... but rather, like anything else in "this world", we should not confuse it with the expression of God's kingdom. We should only see it, like any other part of our lives in this world, as a means for people to come to the knowledge of the truth of the gospel! It isn't about political liberalism or conservatism. It is about obeying this command and concentrating on God's work in this world. What men will do and how people will lead us politically WILL be disappointing... I guarantee it. What God does through Christ in the gospel will be a cause for rejoicing forever!

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