“So God approves this?”
I was following a heated discussion on a social media site. The participants had just voted in the presidential election and were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, supporting rival candidates.
“Of course God approves this!”
The discussion continued for several postings with dozens of others chiming in and taking sides. In the end, neither could claim victory. No surprise. They were asking the wrong question. We should not be asking whether God is approving of the results of our presidential election. All leaders are accountable to God, regardless of whether we agree with their politics or like their personalities. We are commanded by God to submit and obey them.
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.
Romans 13:1-2 (NLT)
However, this obedience comes with an important caveat. We obey our leaders unless their rulings directly violate God’s Word. The Apostle Peter defiantly stated this to the Jewish leaders who warned him and the rest of the disciples to stop preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.
…We must obey God rather than any human authority.
Acts 5:29 (NLT)
Christians state that God is in control of everything that happens, but do we truly believe this? When Christians can be so polarized by the outcome of a presidential election it appears that we are more focused upon the politician than the true power behind any leader. Jesus Christ recognized this. He lived in a very politically divisive culture. The Roman empire ruled the area and controlled it with a harsh military presence and oppressive taxes. Various groups such as the Jewish priests and radical anarchists jockeyed for power. To this same environment, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born and raised within this political chaos. Jesus Christ obeyed the laws of the land and the politicians, allowing Himself to be arrested by the Jewish leaders who falsely charged Him with blasphemy. Jesus Christ said the following to the Governor Pontius Pilate before he sentenced Jesus to die by crucifixion.
“Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?” Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
John 19:10-11 (NLT)
Jesus Christ obeyed the commands of an unrighteous leader like Pontius Pilate. Why? He knew that any authority that Pilate exercised was only granted by God. At any point in the interrogation, Jesus could have called legions of angels to protect Him and prevent the Crucifixion from happening, but this was not God’s plans for Him. Jesus Christ was to die for our sins and reconcile the relationship that sin had ruptured between God and man. God used an unrighteous leader like Pontius Pilate to be a part of His glorious plan of redemption for the human race.
Did God approve this?
We are asking the wrong question. No matter who our leaders are, God is always in control. It cost Him the death of His only Son, Jesus Christ, to prove it to all Creation.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.