QandA with Pastor Koenig- 10-28-20

Josh WannerDevotions

Christian “Rights”

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

This week in our QandA, I attempted to engage with the topic of how God wants the Christian to vote in civil elections. This topic is heavy on the hearts and minds of Christians throughout the country as we seek to engage in our government in a way that is for the benefit of our fellow man on this earth. In the video, I mention very briefly that our “rights” and what is “rightfully ours” should be at the very bottom of our priority list when determining how to vote. Why is this?

This topic is near and dear to so many because we have been taught, according to the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. However, I am not sure where God actually supports this claim in His word.

Certainly, as God’s creatures, we have been given life, we are given some freedoms in regards to this world, and God indeed wants what is good for us. Call me un-American if you must, but I am not so sure that Scripture says these are our “rights.” A right would be something we inherently deserve, simply because of our existence. As I read the truth of this world through the pages of the Bible, I see that God, as the Creator and Author of life, has the right to do whatever he pleases. However, we, as his creatures, do not.

In fact, the word in scripture for “righteousness” and the word for “Justice” is exactly the same. God created us to be his own and live under him in his Kingdom and serve him in everlasting righteousness and purity forever. However – we failed at this responsibility. Because of our sin, the only thing we deserve, justice for us, our only “right,” is death and eternal damnation. Romans 6:23 says it so well, “The wages of sin is death.” What was right for us was to be separated from God eternally. We failed miserably at the task God had given us, and our only “right” payment is death.

However, the good news is that God does NOT give us what we rightfully deserved. Instead, he gave us the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus (Rom.6:23b). Therefore, the gift of life that you have, now and forever, is not a right at all, it is a gift. In fact, everything we have and are in this world is a gift from God. Our bodies, our possessions, our relationships, our vocations and callings – even the privilege of living in the United States of America is a gift from God. He then calls us to be good stewards, or managers, of all these things he has given to us. This includes the responsibility of good citizenship and involvement in our government. Therefore, be a good steward of the gifts God has given you, and watch the QandA to learn more about what God expects from you when you head to the voting booth.

Finally, and ultimately, give thanks to God for the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. It’s not a right, but it is yours – treasure the gift always!

Prayer: Almighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our this country with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Grant that we, who came from many nations with many different languages, may become a united people. Give those to whom we have entrusted the authority of government the spirit of wisdom, that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, may our hearts be thankful, and in troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

For Further Reading:

“Beyond the Booth” by Rev. Dr. Joel Biermann originally appeared in the August 2020 issue of The Lutheran Witness and can be accessed online here:

Wholly Citizens by Rev. Dr. Joel Biermann, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN. 2017

The Paradoxical Vision by Robert Benne, Fortress Press, 1995