"He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."
Colossians 1:18

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

What to Do with the President

The presidential election has come and gone once more here in America, and the Christian community has mixed feelings.  Some believers are ecstatic, when they certainly should not be.  Some are downcast for purely wrong reasons.  Some have good call for concern and sadness. 

It becomes every believer living in a democracy to cherish a uniquely Christian conviction when scrutinizing political candidates.  Dr. MacArthur said it well recently:  "You’re not voting for a pastor, you’re not voting for a spiritual leader, you’re voting for someone who has some sense of morality. Since the Bible says that the role of government is to punish evil doers and protect the good, you better have somebody in power who understands what is good and what is evil."  This is good perspective to bear in mind - let us spend our passions upon those things regarding which the Lord has spoken clearly and loudly in His Word:  the sanctity of unborn life, the narrow definition of marriage, the call to earn one's bread, the relationship we are to have with Israel, and so forth.

Much may be said about these matters, and indeed much has been said in the months leading up to the election, so I will not belabor this any further.  However, I would like to address the question of what we do from here as believers.  We have made our choices and cast our votes, and I would hazard to assert that any believer that loves God and His timeless truth is not pleased about Obama's re-election.  However, what do we do from here?  Three brief suggestions:

1.  Prayer.  "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:1-4) We are to pray for our leaders, that they may be saved, for two reasons.  Not only is this attitude pleasing to our God, who loves to save people, but it will help us to conduct ourselves as believers in peace as we strive to carry out God's call to make disciples.  Consider for a moment if our nation were largely governed by people of true godliness and Christlike integrity - how might the Lord use such conditions for the furthering of His kingdom?  A direct question, now - do you pray for President Obama's salvation?

2.  Obedience.  The unsavory aftermath of this election does not arm believers with any sort of license to disobey their government.  Do we fear that injustices against God's established moral system will be redoubled?  Certainly.  Will we be disappointed, distraught, and dissatisfied with many of the choices made?  Without question.  However, this objections can hardly surmount the decree of the Lord concerning authorities, delivered by Paul to the believers living in the capital city of Caesar, of all rulers:  "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves." (Rom. 13:1-2) These are strong words that brook no excuses. 

An example close to home may illuminate.  I am a gun owner, both for personal enjoyment and for personal defense.  I believe firmly in the right to own firearms, and adamantly oppose modern gun control efforts for law-abiding citizens.  This being said, what should be my response if, say, the 2nd Amendment were repealed, and the government required all citizens to turn in their firearms?  Quite simply, my response needs to be to take my entire firearms collection to the appropriate collection point and turn it over without a joyful heart.  God's Word makes no provisions for my hiding guns under the floorboards, or burying them in the desert, or marching on Washington with a gun in my hand.  Such a response conveys a greater trust in metallurgy and smokeless powder than in the sovereign God of Romans 13. 

3.  Patience.  We Christians tend to not be dull and passionless.  Let us take care, though, that our passions are not misspent or poorly focused.  You discuss abortion with a staunch pro-choicer, for instance.  Are you consumed with a defense of pro-life philosophy, or with concern for this person's soul?  If they are saved, they need loving correction.  If they are not, the gospel is the first priority.  Rallying to a pro-life banner will not, in itself, alter an unbeliever's trajectory one hundredth of a degree away from eternal hell.

The same applies on a larger scale.  We can rant and rail about the poor decisions that the present administration is making, but do our just concerns prompt us to become embittered worriers, or praying, zealous workers within God's eternal kingdom?  Treating the symptoms of unbelief without addressing the unbelief itself does not breed salvation, only hypocrisy, and as a side note, will not save this nation.  This thrusts us, quite appropriately, into the realm of evangelism, and evangelism requires patience and compassion.

The same truth lies at the root of all of these points - the truth of Psalm 103:19: "The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all."  We can follow a sovereign God in the program He has determined for His people because He is utterly sovereign, and His omniscience, compassion, wisdom, and omnipotence accompany Him through His sovereign work. 


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