My friends tell me that serving on a jury is part of being a good citizen, and I want to be a good citizen. But I wonder, is it lawful for a Christian to sit on a jury?
Though we have no direct instructions in the Word of God, regarding jury duty, several Biblical statements are relevant and helpful in discerning what is right.
- The jury system, though better than many systems in history, is still of the present government and this world. Jesus was born to be King of a kingdom not of this world. As citizens of that kingdom yet to come, we have committed ourselves to His service. Any service to a worldly government would be a conflict of allegiances. Regardless, juries and government are not places where Christian opinions, values and standards are deemed acceptable. Since Christians do not belong to the present system, they do not think like those who do.
- Believers are commanded not to be entangled with “the affairs of this life.” Serving the present government in any official capacity, including jury duty, could result in a situation where one is responsible for defending values which are opposed to their own.
- We would not want to jeopardize our place in God’s Kingdom by being part of the present government structure.
- The mandate is “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord” (Prov. 17:15). As Christians, we can take no part in condemning an innocent. Lacking the Holy Spirit power, we lack the ability to properly judge, and the courtroom certainly does not provide the material needed to support a judgment in good conscience.
- Serving on a jury could unnecessarily expose us to information that could make our Christian efforts towards service to God more difficult. We are commanded to “keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
Make no mistake; we are grateful to our government and its founders for our judicial system. But given the limitations inherent in humans judging humans, perfect justice is impossible. Trial by jury, where the decision is the considered opinion of a number of persons, is probably the best that unaided humans can devise. Nonetheless, serving those who serve other than God can only complicate and cloud our path into the Kingdom.
After Christ returns, the situation will change. Then, the “in” party will be our party, and the candidates for office those whom we can endorse. The executive authority, that for now is in the hands unbelievers, will be in the hands of God’s people. We want to be ready to take part in that new administration, by living as citizens of His kingdom now.