Come January we will have a new President, Barak Obama. Our nation is almost 140 years removed from slavery, but the wounds are healing. President Elect Obama will be our nation’s first African American President. Whether he is a good president or not, only time will tell and only God knows today.
I will pray for our new President. I will pray that the work of God through His Church will not be impeded by the new President. I will pray that God choose President Obama for good and not for evil. And I will submit.
Scripture is very clear on our obligations to our leaders. It does not qualify those obligations upon skin color, age, education, party politics, rightness or wrongness. David refused to celebrate the death of Saul. In fact, David submitted to Saul as much as his conscience would allow – to the point of sparing his life on more than one occasion and becoming his son-in-law. We as Christians would do well to head David’s example. How?
Those who disagree with the current administration should refuse to celebrate its end. The current administration is led by someone very likely to be a brother in Christ, yet another reason to refuse untimely and unwise celebrations.
Those who disagree with the next administration should refuse to oppose it illegally and should submit to the extent their conscience allows them. They should not only spare the life of the next administration, but be willing to become co-heirs with that administration’s future – again, to the extent possible without contravening Scripture.
Christ rarely, if ever, involved Himself in politics. My study of Roman policies and history has led me to believe the world held as much opportunity for political involvement in first century Judea as in twenty-first century Pennsylvania. But our calling is not to politics.
Our call for peace should first and foremost be the Peace that is between God and man. Without that Peace, there is no other peace. After we have accomplished that Peace we should disciple our brethren to live at peace will all men, extending that Peace with God to our fellow man. But to turn it around backwards is to require something of a nation or people group that it is incapable of giving. Jesus told us that we will always have the poor. He also spoke through the prophets that we will always have war. That is not to suggest that we sit idly by and accept this violence. But neither should we dismiss the message of repentance and salvation from sin as secondary to the gospel of peace between man and man. That is a false gospel and one that is not only destined to failure but destined to an eternity in hell as well. Ghandi will be in hell. As hard as that is to hear it is the truth. He loved peace. But he didn’t know Jesus and there is only one name under heaven by which man is saved.
All this to say that the end of the war in Iraq won’t usher in the Kingdom of God, neither will it lead to national repentance from sexual sin, idolatry, murder of unborn children, coveting and greed. I hope the war ends. But as someone who fought in Iraq I believe God loves more than American soldiers – He loves some Iraqis too. I hope and pray that the war ends in such a way that justice and peace and self-governance are brought to the people of Iraq. But most importantly I hope the war ends in such a way that the Gospel of Peace between man and God will grow in Iraq. For without that Peace, there is no peace.