Elections, Nationalism, and the Glory of God

For months now, we’ve all heard of the absolute importance of electing Romney as President. More importantly, we’ve heard of the necessity of electing Obama out of office. Now, I understand the reasons why people think this is important, and I agree with some of them. It’s generally a bad idea to condone abortion. And we shouldn’t be as accepting of same-sex relationships as we tend to be. I fall in line with these beliefs not because they are based in conservative moralism or nationalistic pride, but because these truths are based in Scripture.

There may not be anything wrong with conservative moralism or taking pride in one’s country in and of itself, but the problem becomes when we take those “good” things and make them ultimate things. We have a word for this: idolatry. Now, I realize that we, as Christians, may not vocalize it this way in an academic setting, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen this happen by our actions. We take such a graceless stance against abortion, to the point that we don’t proclaim the healing found in the gospel to the women who have had abortions. We are so firm in our political views about homosexuality that we often close the door to the redemption the gospel provides. Yes, God can light up the hearts of those He desires, but He has primarily chosen to use the Christian community to proclaim His love and grace to those who need it most.

2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This is an amazing verse. The promise of redemption and reconciliation upon the repentance of God’s people from their sin. We are so quick to point out into the world and say “SEE! YOU NEED TO REPENT SO GOD WILL HEAL OUR NATION!” But that’s not what this text says. It says if the people “who are called by my name” will repent that God will “forgive their sin and heal their land.” In the Old Testament, that was the nation of Israel, and those who converted to Judaism. In the New Testament and today, that is the Church. Those who confess Christ as Lord and Savior. This text is talking to Christians.

Maybe what we need to repent of isn’t just abortion and rampant homosexuality. To be sure, the Church has its fair share of those issues, and does need to repent. But, maybe there’s also something a little more insidious.

Maybe what we need to repent from is clinging to the Bill of Rights as our definition and protection of freedom more than we cling to the gospel as our only hope. Maybe we need to repent from looking to the Constitution as the definition of right and wrong, and dust off the pages of the Bible and seek God for such wisdom. To be sure, this isn’t everyone. There are absolutely those who see the gift of our political freedoms as just that: a gift from God. And they don’t desire the gift more than the Giver. But there are also those who have fallen prey to the enticing words and feeling of nationalism, seeking the welfare of this country above the sanctification of the Church.

I once read that the Christians in China pray that Americans would experience the kind of persecution they experience so that we would finally take our faith seriously. Maybe the outcome of the past two elections is God answering their prayers. Maybe not. One thing is clear though, as Christians, our lives are not meant to terminate on the affairs of this world.

Our lives are supposed to display God’s glory, and it is He who decides under what circumstances His glory is best displayed.

So, yes, pray for our nation AND ITS LEADERS. Pray that God would really awaken this nation and our leaders to the saving grace of the gospel. But not just for the sake of our own comfort, but out of compassion for those who don’t know the freedom and saving grace of the gospel.

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