The Election And Beyond

Many words have been spoken and written about this election cycle. I don’t plan to add much of anything new to what you have already heard or read, but I do want to encourage you, the congregation of CPC, concerning our responsibilities as Christians living in America.

The first thing that we need to remember is that our primary citizenship is in heaven, where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father (Phil 3.20). It is from heaven that we await our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Savior doesn’t come from Frankfort or Washington D.C. and is not a Democrat, a Republican, Libertarian, or Constitution party candidate. Our destiny is not bound up with the destiny of this State or this Country. Whatever ultimately happens to country in which we live, it will not change our ultimate fate or the fate of the world. God’s promises to us and for the world are sure in Christ Jesus.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned about our culture. We should. God told the people Judah through Jeremiah that they were to “seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to YHWH for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” (Jer 29.7) We work and pray for peace in our city, state, and country in the same vein: so that we can lead quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and honesty (1Tm 2.2). Caring about the peace of where we live is fulfilling the commandment to love our neighbor. Whatever we can do that will demonstrate the greatest love for our neighbor in our earthly citizenships, we ought to do.

But again, we are citizens of heaven. This heavenly citizenship is a mission. We are missionaries of heaven who are working to colonize the earth. Anything that God puts in our hands as a privilege or responsibility in our citizenship in this particular country is to be used for our mission. One of the small tools that God has given each one of us in the country, which is pretty unique historically, is the right to vote. As Christians our “right to vote” is a responsibility given to us by God. It is authority, and there is no authority that is given that has not been given by God (Rom 13.1-7). Wherever God has given us authority, he expects us to use it in a way that is consistent with the mission he has given us. Our vote, just like all authority given to us, is to be used to serve others for their good. Voting is not a “sacrament” (unless you subscribe to the American civil religion). It is a tool of dominion to be used shrewdly to stand against as much evil as possible that would hinder the mission of the church. The vote is not a full acceptance of the character or the stands that a person takes. It is not a “prophetic message” to validate or condemn a candidate. Our vote, with as little power that it has, is a tool to help put in place a person that gives our neighbors the best chance at peace and prosperity. That means, in the least, you will not vote for or help elect someone, for example, that promises that there will be no let up on abortion. Any person that promises to double-down on murder should be fought against with any tools that we have. Any candidate that threatens the church with persecution for not lining up with these new, ungodly cultural norms should be fought against by the church with every tool God has given us ... even when we have to work to elect someone who is “less evil.” When God told Judah through Jeremiah to pray for the peace of the city to which he was sending them into exile, he was telling them to work for peace within an idolatrous empire with the chief idolater being Nebuchadnezzar himself. Nebuchadnezzar was evil. However, idolatrous Nebuchadnezzar surrounded himself with wise counselors like Daniel who influenced how he ruled. When we are voting, we shouldn’t just look at the candidate, but we should look at those with whom he surrounds himself/herself. His/Her counselors will tell you something about the potential direction for the future.

Resorting to God’s sovereignty in the election is not an excuse to neglect our responsibilities as Christians. That is, there are some who will say, “Well, God will appoint whomever he will. It doesn’t matter how or if I vote.” This is a misunderstanding of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. It is like saying, “God has my days numbered, so it doesn’t matter if I let go of the steering wheel of my car. I can just ask Jesus to take the wheel. If it is his will that I live, then I will live. If not, oh well.” God works his sovereign plan out through our actions, and he will hold us responsible for what we do and don’t do. Yes, whomever God plans to be elected will be elected, but he will also hold each one of us Christians responsible for how we used the authority he gave us to do everything we can in love for our neighbor and the mission of the church.

Somebody for whom we don’t care too much will be elected president. Our Christian mission doesn’t end after the election. We continue to work to colonize the earth through discipleship. Part of this responsibility will be to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence (1Tm 2.1-2). As the church, an aspect of our mission is to continue to pray for all of our leaders. When they are wicked, we can pray for their destruction, but destruction in God’s world comes as much through conversion as it does through removal from office or death. When they make and enforce righteous laws, we can give thanks.

There has been a great amount of stress surrounding this particular election. Now with a 24/7/365 news cycle through all sorts of media, we are surrounded by all the noise. Anxiety levels tend to rise. Some of us are afraid. Some of us are discouraged. Some of us are angry. Our cultural world is crumbling. It is dying. The old America that many of knew that had at least some righteousness in government office is quickly fading into blatant, evil, corruption at every level. God is killing us as a culture. As Christians, while we are concerned about all of these problematic cultural shifts, we are the only ones who have the hope that can keep us from being controlled by fear, discouragement, and anger. We have faith in God who raises the dead. Though death is painful, our hope is not extinguished in death. God will raise the dead. The church will survive the American downfall. We were here before America. We will be here after America. Whatever God is doing in taking us through death, we know that it is for our–the church’s–glorification. Though painful at times, we approach life with this confident hope that there is life beyond every grave for us.