I’m writing this just before 6 p.m. on Election Night, a few minutes before polls from the East Coast close. So, please don’t read this as a response to whoever is elected president. Read this as a promise from God’s Word:
“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, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”–Romans 13:1-7
By the time you’re reading this, the United States will have elected a new president. Our country may never look the same again, and there is much worry or fear, no matter who is elected.
There is a promise and a command from God’s Word here, and I believe both help us move forward after Election Day:
Promise: The new president has come from God.
That is not equivalent to, “God affirms the new president,” but rather, speaks to the truth that God is sovereign in this and every situation, and has a plan to use this for His children’s good and His glory. Because I’m not God, I am unable to say what that plan is. But the Bible says God has a plan, and we must trust that God will use the next four years to bring about His plan for the U.S. and for the world as a whole.
God is in the business of saving people, and perhaps the next four years will create an environment where more people recognize their need for Christ. John Piper hinted at the possibility that more missionaries will leave this country for others, carrying the gospel with them. Whatever God’s plan is, we must tell Him we trust Him, want to be a part of His plan, and seek what He would have us do.
Command: We must submit to the government. We must, as long as taxes are a reality, pay taxes. We must respect the office of the president. We must do what the law says we must do.
Some will say, “What do I do now that (fill in the blank) is president?” The same thing you’ve been doing: Be a good and godly citizen and make disciples. Live for God’s glory. That task doesn’t change. Jesus doesn’t say make disciples if the political climate is favorable. Jesus says make disciples, period.
Obviously, if the time comes where we are pushed to disobey God by the government, we resist, just like first-century Christians refused to acknowledge Caesar as Lord. But until that happens, we honor the Father by honoring the president and the government, no matter who is in charge.
Being aware of God’s promise and sovereignty, and obeying His command to make disciples and submit humbly to our rulers, allows us to move forward today and every day.
Lord, may we respect the rulers you’ve given us. May we trust that you have a plan, even if we don’t fully understand it. May we trust that you are in control and may we obey you, and obey our rulers. May we look forward to your kingdom, which is perfect and without end.