I have made some scattered comments in recent months in relation to this past election cycle and the candidates for president. I think I made it clear that neither was anywhere close to an ideal. Especially was this true for Christians looking honestly at each candidate. I am sure we can all point to severe ethical deficiencies in both and also in candidates for other offices. But now the election is over. God has in His sovereignty allowed (or caused) many to vote for one winner. This same God remains sovereign. That same God is neither Republican nor Democrat—nor Libertarian, not Green, not Socialist, etc. No doubt some of the principles from each party overlap more or less with some of what God says is right and wrong, and to that extent, we do well to at least listen and understand what they articulate. But in the end our allegiance is to God and to His Word, not to party or candidate.
Politics is a temporal good, what many Christians (Augustine, for example) have called a lesser good. It is a good to be sure. But it cannot be equated with the highest Good. To do so creates the situation of political messianism, a problem civilization has encountered for centuries on both the political Left and the political Right. It also violates the First Commandment to have no other gods before the one true God.
But I was today reminded that we ought as believers to go a bit farther in the aftermath of this election. There are those who rejoice greatly in what happened, there are those who didn’t care, there are those who have been deeply disappointed, and there are those who hated both viable choices, but agonized over how to address their conflict. These groups come even from the Christian church. The Bible is clear that we ought to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Those brothers and sisters in Christ who weep may do so for several reasons. They may have felt that their concerns were not heard. They may, for good reasons or unfounded, feel afraid, as some have reported. They may feel that the end of the republic has come, the apocalypse is almost here. Those who rejoice might not do so literally, as I believe many Christians voted for one side as the lesser of two evils. But whatever the reason, we, their brothers and sisters in Christ owe it to those with whom we disagree to listen and to empathize. We can go further in affirming our unity in the death, resurrection, life and salvation accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ. We are one in Christ, not in politics. Our political differences are not unimportant, but they are also not the central fact of life. Our political differences do not mean we must compromise on what God says is wrong or right. But those differences do not allow us to reject those Christians on the “other side” as hopelessly lost.
Christ is King. No human is ultimate ruler. As our hymn this morning reminded us, someday, “Lo, He Comes with Clouds, Descending.” The last stanza reads: “Yea, Amen! Let all adore Thee, High on Thine eternal throne! Savior, take the power and glory; claim the kingdom for Thine own. O come quickly, O come quickly, O come quickly! Hallelujah! Come, Lord, come!” Let us pray for our Christian friends and relatives who were affected by this election. Let us pray for our future leaders that God would thwart evil plans, that He would give the proper sense and measure of justice, that we would obey as Scripture instructs, that they would in God’s good will be converted, and that in the end, God would still be glorified. And in all this the church, God’s own chosen, will prevail in Christ.