The Election Is Over: What Is an Evangelical Christian to Do?

posted by Southern Evangelical Seminary

The people have voted. The votes have been counted. Donald Trump has been elected as the nation’s 45th president. And, once again, the election results reveal a deeply and evenly divided nation.

Apparently half of America is at least relieved, the other half dejected. By all accounts, the majority of Americans were not happy with the excruciating choice they faced in voting for Mr. Trump, Mrs. Clinton, a third party candidate, or no one at all. I know that I cast my vote with less enthusiasm than in any previous election. It was already certain on election day that whichever candidate won, he or she would be the least popular president-elect in U.S. history.

So, what are Christians to do?

First, As Christians we must remember that however much we love our country, we are commanded to love our Heavenly Father and His Kingdom more. Our primary and permanent citizenship is in heaven. Our ultimate allegiance and duty is there.

Second, we must pray for the president-elect, as we have been commanded to do. I have been praying for President-elect Trump every day, as I have been for President Obama since the day he was elected. Also, we must always remember that we serve a sovereign God and that “the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Prov. 21:1).

Third, as Evangelical Christians we must remember the “evangel” in Evangelical, the Gospel good news that God loves each one of us and sacrificed His Son to a cruel, cross-kind of death so that each one of us might have an abundant and meaningful life now and eternal life in the hereafter if we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.

So, having been vertically reconciled with our Heavenly Father through His Son and our Savior, we have been called to be witnesses to, and examples of, that vertical reconciliation. Furthermore, having been reconciled to our Heavenly Father, we are called to “the ministry of reconciliation” (both vertically with God and horizontally with each other) and “ambassadors for Christ” and His ministry of spiritual reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19-20).

How can we as mere human beings do this? The answer lies in the fact that in Christ we are no longer merely human beings; God does make us new and unique.

The Apostle Paul explained to the new Gentile Christians in Ephesians that in Christ God had reconciled the enmity between the Jew and the Greek and had forged “in himself of two one new man” (Eph. 2:15).

There are two words in Greek for “new.” The first, “neos,” means new merely in a point in time, such as a “new” wrench or screwdriver is just like the millions of wrenches and screwdrivers produced before it.

The second Greek word for new is “kainos,” which means new in quality — a new, unique kind, something that never existed before. The word the Apostle Paul uses in his letter to the Ephesian Christians is “kainos.” Each Christian is a new kind of person of a make-up that has never existed before, indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit, inhabited by a new nature, born-again from above.

As Christians we are called to live up to our new make-up and lineage, and be ambassadors of both vertical reconciliation with God and the consequent horizontal reconciliation with our fellow man that our reconciliation with God makes possible.

So, in the coming days, weeks, and months, we need to reach out with the agape love that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit produced in our hearts by Him (Gal. 5:22-26), seeking to be ambassadors of reconciliation.

Elections have consequences. The American people have collectively decided that they believe some policies are more prudential than others. That still leaves common ground based on civility and a fundamental understanding that we can disagree without being disagreeable and questioning each other’s motives.

And let us all strive to be hierarchalists in this sense: Christians first, Americans second, conservatives, moderates or liberals third, and Republicans or Democrats last. Let us pray God will give us the wisdom to evaluate all legislation and all government programs by biblical truths and standards, not self-serving or merely political calculations.

One of my Evangelical friends said to me the day after the election, “I don’t know if Evangelicals have a home in any political party anymore.”

I responded, “Good, we shouldn’t have a home in either party.”

We should be seeking to be salt and light in both parties and among independents, looking for candidates, office-holders, and parties that endorse our convictions, our beliefs, and our values. To paraphrase the late, great Winston Churchill, let us, as Evangelical Christians, so now conduct ourselves that if God allows America to exist another thousand years, historians will look back and say, “This was the finest hour.”

This article originally appeared in the Christian Post.

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