By Pastor Ian Thomas
As the Election Day approaches on Tuesday, I want to draw our attention to a few passages from God’s Word that should teach & instruct our response to the election results, no matter what we are feeling in this season.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior,
the Lord Jesus Christ….
If you have been saved by Jesus Christ, then you are first and foremost a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and then secondarily, a citizen of the United States of America. When we flip this reality, we are walking out of step with the gospel. Our eternal trajectory is to live on a renewed earth in the Kingdom of God; the United States will not last for all of eternity and will eventually pass away. We must fight to remember that we are dual citizens, and that we ultimately look to King Jesus as our Lord, Savior, and hope for this world, which will not be found in any earthly political candidate (Phil. 2:9-11).
This reality does not mean that we disengage from our citizenship here. On the contrary, since God is sovereign over the exact places and time that we live in (Acts 17:26-27), we seek to be faithful and engaged in the context that he has placed us. Empowered by the Holy Spirit and motivated by the saving grace of Jesus, we seek to be faithful Kingdom citizens that bring the gospel to bear in our lives in the here and now. So by all means, we should vote and participate in the process God has ordained for this particular time and season. As we do so, we fight to remember our highest allegiance is towards the Kingdom of 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.
Paul reminds the church in Rome of two very important realities here; first, God has ultimate authority over the world that he has created, and secondly, he has instituted and established those who are in positions of leadership and authority in earthly government. This may have been a startling reality for those in the early church, since the emperors that ruled in this time period actively persecuted God’s people! God is not sitting back waiting to see what will happen on Tuesday; he is sovereign and in control. If we are panicking in regards to what may happen this week, we are not trusting God’s sovereign rule and plan over this world, and revealing that we may be wrongly prioritizing our earthly citizenship over our heavenly one.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
Paul urges us to pray for those who are “kings and all who are in high positions” so this ought to be our posture on Tuesday (and at all times). If we are unable to pray for the next president of the United States, this may be another indication that our earthly citizenship is wrongly prioritized. Moreover, Paul instructs us to pray for those under earthly kings and leadership, that we may live “peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified.” This should be our aim and our prayer; that those under the leadership of the next president will thrive, flourish, and have the freedom to live dignified lives that glorify and make much of King Jesus.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.
No matter the results on Tuesday, people are prone to make crazy and irrational statements in response. If we are in Christ, we must fight to speak the truth in love; meaning, we are not silent on important issues, but that when we do speak, we do so with speech that is “always gracious” and “seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). This election and political season has been particularly contentious and hostile, so we have an opportunity to be a tangible picture of the gospel by holding fast to the truth, but by speaking to others in love- especially towards those whom we disagree.