Barack Obama is the President of the United States, and that won’t be changing come January 20. As I type this out the President has taken a slim lead in the popular vote and will end up winning a second term with an electoral landslide of 332-206. Governor Romney is just beginning his concession speech (about an hour and a half too late).
For convictional Christians this is an awfully tough pill to swallow. To be sure, it is hard to imagine how Obama was re-elected given how under his administration the national debt has increased by over six trillion dollars (an increase of over 60%), unemployment is higher than when he took office, and a healthcare reform bill that will inevitably kill jobs and take away personal freedoms was shoved through without a single Republican vote or serious consultation.
Hard to imagine, for sure, but absolutely tragic that he has been re-elected given his unqualified support for abortion on demand, his abandonment of the biblical definition of marriage and his support for homosexual uber-rights, and his administration outright attack on religious liberty. I stand by what I said in my post last night, that it was a sin to vote for this man.
What does this say about our electoral process? What does this say about the nature of political campaigns? And more so, what does this say about the American people? Nothing good, in my opinion. Yet, while this is tough to comprehend from a patriotic, nationalistic perspective, when we look at our nation through the lens of Scripture, biblical theology, and the gospel, this is really just the natural state of man running its course.
Much Monday Morning Quarterbacking will be done concerning this election, the Romney campaign, and the state of the Republican Party… and rightly so. But Christians must look beyond the questions facing this earthly kingdom and consider where we, as citizens of heaven and the kingdom of God, should go from here. There are more points that could be made, and will be by others and perhaps myself later, but very quickly, here are three essentials that should guide us as disciples of Christ.
- We must really pray for President Obama — for his benefit, but for ours as well.The apostolic command of the apostle Paul is clear. Entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, are to be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority (1 Tim 2:1b-2a). For Paul, writing this letter to his beloved son in the faith, Timothy, in a world governed by the Roman Empire, which was adamantly opposed to the message of Christ, it’s important that the last part be emphasized. Even kings and those in authority need to be prayed for. It would be easy for Timothy to pray for faithful church member Bernice, who has missed Sundays and Wednesdays lately because of her health, but it’s another thing entirely to pray for Caesar when Caesar’s men are out to get you.I feel that President Barack Obama is an opponent of biblical Christianity and that his administration will continue to use its political power to hurt the church, unborn children, the institution of marriage, religious liberty, and possibly more. However, we must pray for him. The arm of the Lord is not too short to save (Ps 59:1). We are in sin if we do not pray for him, that God might save him from his sins through Christ and bring about a change of heart on many matters. It’s for the President’s benefit we must pray.But the point of that familiar passage is lost unless we realize that Paul ultimately has in mind the well-being of the church as the goal of our prayers. We pray for Barack Obama “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 2:2b-4, emphasis mine).
The purpose of our prayers for Obama is for our benefit, that we might be unimpeded, so to speak, in being ministers of the gospel to sinful people, that all kinds of people might come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. We pray for the President so that those in authority might not get in the church’s way of fulfilling the Great Commission. So we need to pray for Barack Obama. Not just say we should do it, but actually do it.
- We must realize that America is no longer a nation in which we should expect the best of our countrymen.It’s simply staggering to me that Obama was re-elected. From a political perspective he would seem to have been easy prey for a qualified challenger. Mitt Romney is far from perfect but I believe he was a qualified challenger, so it dumbfounds me that given the state of the economy, the Benghazi debacle, and dozens of other things (the most important already mentioned) that Obama would be chosen to serve for four more years. The Obama campaign was one marked by very little reference to what the President accomplished over the last four years, but very much by vicious attacks on Governor Romney, and also Rep. Paul Ryan.Yet, as I type this Obama is about to give his victory speech. Florida will inevitably be called for him (tomorrow, most likely). In the end, in the Electoral College this wasn’t really close. What does that say about us? What does it say about our country?It would seem many voters judged a man by the color of his skin rather than by the content of his character. Ignoring undeniable facts about the state of our union, they chose four more years because of what Obama looks like rather than who he is, and that’s one giant leap backwards as it relates to race relations in our country, in my opinion.
And besides that, given how prevalent the defense of immoral behavior and the murder of unborn babies was in his campaign, it’s heartwrenching that so many Americans agreed with him and his party, at least to the point they were willing to sign on for more. Quite frankly, I have lost whatever faith I had left in the American people, in general, to use the moral compass God gave them to make sound decisions. Abortion on demand, gay marriage, and free contraceptives? This is the America a majority is willing to vote for? May it never be! And yet here it is.
Biblically speaking, I realize this is the default for sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God. I see before my eyes the restraining grace of God upon a people being withdrawn, and while I trust in Him I must admit in my own imperfection it’s more than a little scary. As John MacArthur said in a couple of sermons leading up to this election, this was basically a campaign built upon the sins of Romans 1, and America said, “Yes we will!” The wrath of abandonment is upon us, and thus it would be foolish for Christians to continue in the misguided belief that Americans generally have good heads on their shoulders. All evidence to the contrary.
- We must refocus on reaching our pagan nation, not through the political victories of the Republican Party, but with the word of God.I am thankful that, increasingly, American Christians are waking up to this fact, but the Republican Party is not our Savior and does not have our best interests at heart. That doesn’t mean we were wrong to vote Republican today, and it doesn’t mean we’ll be wrong if we vote for a Republican in the next election, but we better realize right now, if we haven’t already, that salvation doesn’t come through a political victory, and it doesn’t come through the defeat of our political enemies.Salvation comes by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, and it’s high time disciples of Jesus, myself included, refocused after this taxing election season upon the primacy and necessity of the gospel. We are never going to reach our pagan nation for Christ through the GOP. We are only going to win sinners to Christ and glorify God in our confrontation with the culture when we are boldly proclaiming the word of God and faithfully live it out in the world.For at least the past two presidential election cycles now, Republicans have nominated men (John McCain and Mitt Romney) who were fairly far removed from Christian principles in many ways. Many of us voted for Mitt Romney today because, yes, we weren’t voting for a national pastor, and yes, he was a far better choice than Barack Obama. However, in what was probably the weakest field of presidential candidates in the Republican primaries in my lifetime, no one stood out as a truly viable conservative Christian candidate. If we want to get serious about politics as Christians we ought to do a much better job supporting the right men early on.
Yet, we must still realize that we cannot, and must not, trust in princes (Ps 146:3). The kingdom of God, and not the presidency and control of Congress, must be our priority. I do not expect our political influence to increase, but decrease. But that should not for one second adversely affect our zeal for Jesus Christ and our readiness, willingness, and ability to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations. After all, the LORD reigns forever (Ps 146:10) and His desires for and commands to us will not change. Let us make sure we are representing the interests of the Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and not the mere interests of the party of the elephants (or even the donkeys). American government won’t save sinners. Jesus can. May that be our aim and passion.
To God be the glory.