I was at times glued to the news and confused over the weekend, watching the US Presidential election results come in. To a Brit, announcing vote counts as they come in is bizarre! I was shocked by how partisan Christians can be, having learnt the hard way how unhelpful that is. And I was disappointed by a video of some crazy “charismatic prayer” for Trump and how my non Christian friends were commenting on it. Mike Betts commented on that video…
Just to say & make clear. Those of us who seek to build local church life on both Word & Spirit this is NOT what we mean! EVER! https://t.co/mRskIs2WPy— Mike Betts (@MikeBetts62) November 6, 2020
I was also heartened by the humility of Kris Valloten’s apology for his prophecy about the election result.
The truth of the matter is that whoever gets in finally is God’s person. God institutes earthly governments – Romans 13:1-7. Go and read that for a second.
“This text has implications for war and peace, dictators and totalitarianism, concentration camps and gulags, revolts and revolutions, laws and law enforcement, political activism and civil disobedience, elections and lobbying, voting and paying taxes, speed limits and seat belts, stop signs and baby seats. This is not a small text. It is one of those mountain peaks of the book of Romans that makes a reader dizzy with implications.”John Piper
If you are interested in pondering those implications, click the link.
Today’s passage tells us what our key starting response to governments should be.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions.
Paul urges us to pray – to make supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings. He uses those 4 words that encompass prayer, to underline that our first and most important job regarding governments is to pray for them. And he urges us to pray.
I find biographies fascinating and have waded through tomes on politicians like William Pitt, Wilberforce and Churchill. I recently read Robert McNamara’s “In Retrospect” on the the lessons of the tragedy of the Vietnam War. What was fascinating is how hard they tried to do the right thing and how much discussion, argument went into the key decisions. They were blinded at the time by the false premise they were working to stop. But I digress. The point is that being in government is hard, incredibly hard. And mostly people work hard to do the right thing. We can be very good at being cynical and critical. And yes of course governments need to be held to account.
However our first job is to pray for them. Why? So we may lead a “peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” When we rabidly support one side or another and vilify or demonise the other, we are not obeying or looking for the results of these Scriptures.
Paul then goes on to say that praying for governments so that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives that are godly and dignified, pleases God our saviour. That takes him to the Gospel. The gospel is more important than politics. The president or prime minister is not the Saviour.
Jesus is the one mediator between God and man. He gave His life for us so that all people can have the chance to be saved. Pray for our governments (whether you voted for them or not) and get on with being a good witness and sharing about the real saviour, Jesus Christ.