For all practical purposes, it appears the election of the next president is over. Some are rejoicing, some are lamenting. What should be the response of believers to these things? I can’t put it any better than the Apostle Paul who wrote some sage advice to Christians living under the thumb of Nero and Rome in 64 A.D. Now, this date probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but historians may recall that the Great Fire that destroyed a large section of the city of Rome occurred July 18-23, 64. Nero fastened the blame for this fire on Christians, and a major state-sponsored persecution was ignited against this new faith.
In his newest book, “We Will Not Be Silenced,” Dr. Erwin Lutzer writes, “The secular left does not believe America can be fixed; they say it must be destroyed. On the rubble of America’s Judeo-Christian past, a new America will emerge, which they say will be free of poverty, racism and white supremacy.” Already one news service is reporting that one powerful group in our country has petitioned President-elect Biden to rescind accreditation for all Christian-based schools, and he is listening since he is a big supporter of this particular group. Could it be that our Rome is burning?
In light of this, what should the Christian response be? The Apostle Paul tells us: “Remind the people to respect the government and be law-abiding, always ready to lend a helping hand. No insults, no fights. God’s people should be bighearted and courteous. It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come — an eternity of life! You can count on this. I want you to put your foot down. Take a firm stand on these matters so that those who have put their trust in God will concentrate on the essentials that are good for everyone.” (Titus 3:1–8, The Message).
There is so much I could write about these eight verses! Let me highlight a few. First, if you are one who is lamenting the outcome of our recent elections, you feel that something diabolical took place behind the scenes to influence the outcome of this election, fine, that is your prerogative. What is not your prerogative is to disrespect our leaders. “Lend a helping hand, no insults, no fights.”
Paul then reminds us that there was a time, before our spiritual eyes were opened and our minds quickened, that we fell lockstep into the same pitfalls we now recognize and lament. Our enlightenment on these matters was not because we were so smart but because God was gracious and opened our eyes to the dangers of sin. Sin is deceptive. Sin is deadly. It promises pleasure but delivers pain; it promises life but delivers death! Someone once wisely observed, “The chains of sin are so light you cannot feel them until they become so strong you cannot break them.”
We Christians have a horrible history of trying to force the new life on people who are still in darkness. That never works. Perhaps I will explore this thought more fully in the next article. But space eludes me, so let me simply conclude that as Christians, our response now should be to “devote (ourselves) to doing what is good.” (Titus 3:8 NIV).