Here is what I know. The United States is about to elect a new president next week. The new president will not be a faithful follower of Christ as defined by scripture. The new president will not value all human life. The new president has displayed both unethical and immoral behavior as normative for their character. The new president will be a polarizing figure in American politics and culture. The new president will fill many with a hope that is not warranted. The new president will fill many with a sense of despair that is too hopeless. The new president will widen even more a divide that is racial, economical, social, and cultural.
Being that the above is true, it would seem that for Christians, regardless of their political affiliation, a biblical perspective would be welcome. Let us then consider the scriptures.
Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life. I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save… The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.
From Psalm 146
The Psalmist is fueled by praise and is not distraught with despair. He encourages us to not put our trust in human rulers because God reigns. Whoever you feel compelled to vote for, don’t put your trust in them. They cannot save you. They will over promise and under deliver. The Lord who reigns, on the other hand, keeps his promises which he has made known to us through His word.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
All authority is the Lord’s. Apart from God’s gifting of his authority there is none. Our democracy was allowed by God. The authority we exercise as we vote was allowed by God. The authority held by those in elected office is allowed by God. Any exercise of authority in the universe that exists under God’s authority must be a reflection of his supreme authority. This is what is meant when we speak of God’s sovereignty in matters of governance and politics.
We discover in many places throughout scripture that God gives wicked rulers to his people as an act of judgment in order to lead them to repentance. The same is true of God when he allowed foreign rulers to conquer and subjugate his people Israel. God is sovereign and he gives all authority wherever it is found. Whether those authorities are a means of blessing or a means of curse are God’s concern. To this point John Calvin reflected, “They who rule unjustly and incompetently have been raised up by [God] to punish the wickedness of the people.” (Institutes, Book 4, chapter 20).
We should not be confused about this. One of my former mentors used to say to me, “Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results that it gets.” We produce what we value. Let us have no doubt that we will elect the president we deserve. And that president-elect will, by God’s permissive will, take office and rule exactly the way that is warranted. As surely as a tree is made known by its fruit a nation will be exposed by its politics.
As Christians, as God’s redeemed children, as citizens of God’s glorious and eternal kingdom, we would do well to remember these things. Whatever path America walks down, God’s kingdom is steadfast because his rule is certain. Christ has not relinquished the throne or the scepter given him by the Father. As the church, it is our privilege and responsibility to seek the welfare of our nation and to consider the welfare of all nations. But we mustn’t conflate our country’s trajectory with God’s kingdom purposes.
Whoever your candidate or party, even as you vote, do not put your trust in them. Whoever wins will win by God’s sovereign allowance for God’s ultimate purposes. If we suffer under poor leadership let us take heart that God is chastising us that we might repent. Church, our citizenship, our mission, and our great hope will not be affected in the slightest of ways when the election results come in. That’s what I know.