With the campaign advertisements, donor & polling phone calls, it is clear that election season is upon us! Christians are, often rightly, concerned over where the country is going, what candidates do and say, and the pressure cooker of the election season only adds to that. But what truths from the Bible can we stand on, even leading up to the election? Here are six:
- God is sovereign over whoever is elected in November. It is clear from Scripture that ultimately the White House, as well as every position of power, comes from God’s power and authority. He “brings kings down and He sets kings up” (Daniel 2:21). The rise and fall of nations is in His control (Daniel 4:30 – 37). If even such little things as the life of sparrows (Matthew 10:29) and the rolling of dice (Proverbs 16:33) and under God’s control, will God not also oversee the heart and decisions of rulers (Proverbs 21:1)? The citizens of America will elect their leader on Nov. 6 by voting, but this is simply the means that God uses to install the leader He has chosen.
- God can use bad leaders to accomplish good things. Even if the person who gets elected is not the person we wanted, God is still able to accomplish His purposes! In fact, God always accomplishes what He wants, and no force in heaven or earth can thwart Him (Ephesians 1:11)! God called the pagan king Cyrus to be His “messiah” in setting His people free from exile (Isaiah 45:1 – 4). The apostle Paul reminds us that even an emperor as wicked and notorious as Nero was still the Lord’s civil minister keeping peace, rewarding righteousness and punishing evil (Romans 13:1 – 7). Ultimately, all rulers, kings and presidents will be subdued before the King of Kings and President of Presidents, Jesus Christ (Psalm 2)!
- Therefore, our ultimate hope is in God, not politics. The only real hope for salvation is the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16), not the power of a political party or idea. More than getting someone to think like you regarding a political issue, Christians have an even better message: Jesus is King, He died for you, and you can even now live in His Kingdom until He comes again! The power of the Gospel will bring far greater, and much more lasting, change than any political promise ever could.
- Christians know this world and its systems are passing away, and should live accordingly. I John 2:17 is clear – “The world is passing away, along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” We know this isn’t permanent. We know the new heavens and new earth are coming! So when we think about the upcoming election, and the very real political consequences coming with it, we should not act like it is the most important thing – because it isn’t! We serve King Jesus, and His “Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). If talking about politics, America’s future, problems in Washington, etc., gets me all bent out of shape so that I lose my temper, get depressed, become discontent, and I lose my joy, isn’t that a problem? Doesn’t that show that I care more about this temporary home than my future, eternal home?
- Christians must be good stewards in this world. Though this world is transient, Christ has called us to serve our neighbors, to be active and participate in this world, by the power of the Spirit. So when Jesus commands us to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Matt 22:21), we shouldn’t only pay our taxes on time, but also give our vote as a faithful citizen of the Republic. Jeremiah commanded the exiled believers to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you” (29:7), and as Christians we also ought to seek to support political activities, civil functions, and other institutions that promote the public good. But if we are to be good stewards in the political arena, it is not enough to simply know what each candidate stands for. We must understand what Scripture says regarding political ideas, and then find the candidate who matches up the closest. Then, and only then, will we be good stewards with our vote.
- Vote, and work politically, as if you were not voting. As John Piper put it, “Vote as if you were not voting.” What does that mean? The Apostle Paul saw that the world was passing away, that Christ is coming again, and so we should not cling too tightly to this life, whether marriage, our jobs, or even our politics (I Corinthians 7:29 – 31). Does your commitment or reaction to politics make it difficult for you to trust Christ, or to share God’s love and truth with someone who disagrees with you politically? Pray for God’s Spirit to give you a soft and sensitive heart to the things He cares most about, and to live for Him!
Praying with you for grace in the election season,