As I sit to write, it is Election Day, and the outcome of the presidential race is unknown. As you sit to read this, the election is over and, hopefully (if no chads are still hanging), Obama or Romney has been declared the winner.
Perhaps, the guy I voted for won or maybe he lost. But let me give you three reasons why, no matter who won, I am rejoicing this day (and you can, too). The reasons are found in the words of the Apostle Peter who wrote:
“Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1Peter 2:13-16)
So why rejoice? First, rejoice for even bad government is better than no government. Peter says that the government, whether emperors or governors or presidents, has been established by God to maintain order in this world. He says that governors are to praise those who do good and punish those who do evil. Government is established by God to restrain evil and encourage good citizenship. We live in a fallen world among fallen people, and God has given us government to restrain sin — even bad government still does this.
Consider for a moment a country like Somalia where there is in effect no government. Anarchy reigns; no person is safe; no property is safe; almost everyone lives in fear; lawlessness is the order of the day. Even if you think that our government is bad, be thankful for it — for it still helps restrain sin.
Rejoice! God is in control. The second reason to rejoice is that whoever is our president, though he may have been elected by man, he has ultimately been appointed by God. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
Whether Obama wins or Romney, ultimately, it is God who has placed him there. We recognize this as believers. God rules over all things and that includes whoever is chosen as our next president. So we honor whoever is elected and submit in things not contrary to God’s law.
We do not mock or make fun of them; we honor them and pray for them for the Lord’s sake. God is in control, and no president or person can frustrate His good purposes and plans.
Rejoice! Government cannot take our freedom in Christ. We are free says Peter. “Live as people who are free.” Don’t be gloomy if your candidate did not win. You are not in bondage to whoever wins this election. Do you not understand who you are in Christ? You have been freed from the bondage of sin. You have been freed from guilt. You have been freed from the burden of good works as a way of salvation. You are free to love God and to glorify Him. You are free to know you are loved and accepted by your Heavenly Father.
No government or president or leader can take away that freedom — no matter whom it is. Do you see? If Obama is elected you are still free in Christ. If Romney is elected you are free in Christ. If the winner of this election makes or breaks your happiness and security then you do not know who you are in Christ — for you are free.
Rejoice in the gift of government that restrains evil and enables you to be free to live for God and declare the Gospel. Rejoice that God is the One who lifts up leaders for His good purposes — no matter who it is. God is in control. Rejoice that government can never take away your freedom in Christ. It has been given to you by God and no man may take that freedom away.
James Calderazzo is pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Destin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.