Posted on November 9, 2016.
By Pastor Skylar Spradlin
5 Thoughts on the Election
I have worked hard not to be a political endorser in our church. Since most of us in our church view things the same way this is not a big issue for us. And yet for some, it can come across as ignorant for a pastor not to inform his church on how to vote. While this is a debate for another time I will suffice it to say that I am simply not a political pastor trying to sway the voters in our congregation. I am instead a pastor who is trying to encourage the church towards godliness and in turn to apply those same principles of godliness in all areas of life, including voting. So, while our church members will not hear me endorse a candidate from the pulpit they will hear me expound scripture on each and every issue that scripture addresses. As our church members and children of the Most High God they are expected to live and vote according to God’s Word.
With that being said, I do feel compelled to break my silence post-election. I hope that our church members have prayerfully and scripturally voted according to their conscience and God’s Holy Spirit. That is most important. But for now, I do find it important to remind us as believers about life after an election. For that reason, I will give five thoughts about the Christian’s biblical outlook and response to an election. This list is not exhaustive nor is it new. And yet, these five simple things are necessary reminders for all of us. They are things that we must constantly remind ourselves when faced with a favorable or unfavorable election outcome.
1. God is Sovereign
This is the most comforting and peaceful thought for the Christian facing an uncertain political and national future. Nothing catches our God off guard. He is not surprised by one vote or by one outcome. He knows the future as well as He knows the past. In fact, scripture reminds us that our leaders are ultimately placed by God. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed (Rom. 13:1-2).”
This verse is often used in regards to the Christian’s view of government and that is because it is an important verse for such an issue. Christians must remember that our God has the true authority and that He is the God over all nations. He institutes the governing authorities right down to the candidates in office. As Christians, we must trust that our good God has a plan and that everything is working according to that plan. So, whether you rejoice or weep at an election outcome, democracy is a tool to strengthen the faith of believers. It is not meant to increases fear and worry. We would exhort all of those who are pleased with the election to trust in God and not a candidate and for all of those who are unpleased with the election to also trust in God not an outcome or a candidate.
2. We are Citizens of Heaven
Our most important reminder during the election season is that we are citizens of heaven with a perfect King. We must view our country, ourselves, and our votes according to this truth. Paul says, “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself (Phil. 3:20-21).” The bottom line is that elections are temporary and we belong to something and Someone eternal. The reminder and the encouragement for us is to have a right focus during the election season. As Christians, our focus should be eternal and heavenward. Our minds are to be set with Jesus (Col. 3:1-3). You may feel the loss of an election or the victory of an election, but you should never feel destroyed by or dependent upon an election. Instead, you have a greater mission and purpose on this earth than your vote. A temporary election and a temporary country cannot change our eternal standing before God. Remember that we are strangers passing through this land on our way to our true home prepared and kept by God Himself (John 14, 1 Peter 1).
3. How We Change the World
The world doesn’t change through politics. The world is changed through the gospel. In fact, the world is heading down the path of destruction. That is the way of the world and the prescription of scripture upon the world. We are not to be surprised when things seem to be bleak in our country. We are to stand as lights of the gospel. It is good, right, and true to vote in a biblical way and to long to see Christians hold office and stick to their biblical convictions, but the world is not changed through policy, social initiatives, or freedom; the world is changed through the saving message of Jesus Christ. The proof is not only in the scriptures, it is not only in our own personal lives, but the proof is seen in the persecuted church where the gospel is thriving in hostile countries and where lives are being saved and changed by the grace of God. We must not be overly confident nor devastated in the results of an election because an election isn’t what we are called to as Christians. We are blessed with the ability to vote, but we are called to change the world through Christ.
The problems our world and our country faces are problems of the heart. And no heart is changed through a political speech, through a vote, or through an outcome. Hearts are only changed by the salvation of Jesus Christ. We must remember that, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).” No candidate can save, no branch can save, no political party can save, only Jesus can save. And what we need most is to be saved. Therefore, remember that while our vote is an honor and a responsibility, government was never intended to be God’s means of saving humanity. That is our greatest need and that is something only the saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring about. We do not deny the desire to see the world function according to the design of God, but this cannot truly happen without first a change of heart. We are not surprised that the world is going the way it is, instead it is just further proof that we need the gospel of grace.
4. Remember Your Allegiance
There is nothing wrong with being an American patriot. National pride is not bad. However, remember that your true and first allegiance as a Christian is to Christ and His Church. This is not to take away from our country or our voting rights, but it is to set our hearts in a right perspective. Ultimately, we belong to Jesus and His church long before we belong to an earthly country. Praise God that we are blessed to live in America, a place where the gospel has gone forth easily so we can hear it, but that praise is for God alone and no one or nothing else. While every believer should enjoy the blessing of voting and while there is nothing wrong with faithfulness to country we must remember that even if this country falls our allegiance will still be to the Eternal One. We are concerned about His glory and His honor far before that of our country. Paul calls out, “To Him be glory forever (Rom. 11:36).” His glory is our utmost priority. His honor is our first desire. Living this life according to His will is our worthy aim.
5. Continue On
No matter the results of an election, life continues on, and so must we. Continue to serve the Lord, serve others, study scripture, pray to the Lord, and share the gospel. There are still souls that need Jesus, still growth that needs to happen in our lives, still needs to be met, and still worship to be given to the Lord. No election ever negates these fundamental truths for the believer. These are our constant strivings. These are our constant missions. These are what we must continue doing. Growing in godliness, sharing the gospel, and glorifying God are the constant desires of a changed heart for God.
An election will always arouse an emotional response in us because we are typically so invested in them. And yet, we are given to something higher than an election. We are given to God. We have comfort in His sovereignty, we have an eternal focus on an eternal home, we change the world with the gospel alone, we are loyal to Christ above all, and we will continue on in these things. So, enjoy the privileges of an election, but always remember and have the right heavenly and Christian focus on such temporary matters.