A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE RECENT ELECTION
By Keith Giles
Our Christian faith was born under the world's most violent, immoral and pagan flag- The Roman Empire. Jesus, our Lord and our example, did not spend any time teaching his disciples to oppose the pantheistic government of the day, nor did he ever cry out against their political policies, their unjust use of force or their sexual deviancy. Not even once.
After His crucifixion and resurrection, the Church that Jesus inspired endured 300 years under this same oppressive, anti-Christian Government. Even as this Empire of Evil arrested them unjustly, tortured them to death, confiscated their property and created an entertainment industry around their public executions by sword and wild animal, the Christian Church remained full of love and continued to preach and live out the Gospel of the Kingdom.
After 300 years of such oppression, these faithful followers of Jesus overcame the darkness - not by violence, not by revolution, not by free elections or political pressure, but simply by the hand of God alone and the power of the Gospel to change hearts and transform lives.
If our DNA was founded under such darkness, and if those first Christians remained hopeful, rejoicing in their sufferings, and living out their faith on a daily basis, how much more should we, in this free country, take a positive outlook on our future and live lives of hope no matter who is in the White House?
Over the last few months I have received an inbox full of email telling me to "Vote Like A Christian" and suggesting that I must pray for God to work a miracle and defeat the "Baby-killing, closet Muslim" who opposed our conservative, Republican values. Since the election I have heard Christians around me saying that "America is being judged by God" and moaning about the horrors of living under the oppressive rule of the Democratic party.
But our faith was founded under oppression much greater than this. We still live in a country where everyone is free to worship, free to speak, free to protest, free to sing and pray and read their Bible without fear of being arrested or killed for sport or thrown into jail. Our New Testament brothers and sisters would hardly be able to contain their joy at living in a nation such as ours where our freedoms abound and our faith is not a death sentence.
Is it really so horrible to live under a Democratic President? If our hope is in politicians, then perhaps I could understand this sense of gloom and defeat among God's Church today. But we do not place our hope in men, or in the political systems around us. Our hope is in Christ. Our God is still in control. The Kingdom of God is still advancing. The Gospel of Jesus is still true. We still have cause to shout and praise and celebrate.
Our New Testament is a story of believers who lived such extravagant lives of love among their pagan neighbors that slowly they turned the world upside down- one life at a time, one family at a time, one household at a time, one community at a time.
"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." - 1 Peter 2:11-12
My advice to us is not hang our hopes on any political candidate, party platform, or governing body. They will always fall short of their promise and they will never bring the deep, lasting sort of change we all so desperately need and hope for.
Politicians are people who have placed their hope for a better tomorrow in the political system. They believe that progress will be made primarily in the political arena and therefore they place the majority of their time, passion, energy and hope in effecting change from that vantage point.
I am not a politician. Nor am I primarily focused on a political solution to the problems and challenges that face our communities, our nation, or mankind.
Instead, I have placed my hope for mankind in Christ Jesus and in the Gospel of the Kingdom. Because of this, I do not believe that politics will ever bring about real and lasting change in this nation, or in the hearts and minds of mankind.
I believe that our problems, society's problems, are deeper than any law or policy or proposition or measure can touch or effect. We can change laws but those laws will not change hearts. In fact, every year our nation writes thousands of new laws, and yet we do not see any improvement in our society due to the ever-increasing laws being passed by our legislature.
Does that mean we don't need laws? Of course not. Does it mean we, as followers of Jesus, should not participate in the political process? No, it doesn't. We should vote and speak out wherever necessary, however we should be careful not to forget that the hope for mankind isn't to be found in politics. It's only found in Christ Jesus and in the Gospel of the Kingdom.
This means that God is not a Republican or a Democrat. It means that, although we may continue to be proud citizens of America and participate in the democratic process, our ultimate focus is not politics, our hope is not in politicians or laws. No, our hope is in the Gospel of Christ. Our desire is to bring change to one person at a time, and to campaign for hope in the lives of the broken, the poor, the outcast and the forgotten in our society.
Our participation in the campaign for hope and change does not end at the polls, nor does it express itself in the forwarding of partisan e-mail messages endorsing a specific candidate for office. Our participation begins at sharing our lives with those around us. It begins with loving people as we have been loved. It begins with learning to relate to people; not as a Christian to a Non-Christian; not as a Republican to a Democrat, not as a Liberal to a Conservative, but simply as one human being to another human being.
"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king." - 1 Peter 2:13-17
Our calling is simply to love others more than we love ourselves and to demonstrate the power of God's love to transform us from the inside out.
If our faith was birthed in the crucible of oppression and persecution, I believe American Christians can certainly endure four years of unfettered religious freedom to proclaim the Gospel far and wide without fear of attack.
This is a day of rejoicing. Let us give thanks to God that He is still on His awesome throne.
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