Calming the Presidential Campaign Rhetoric: Christ is Savior

Lots of Americans on both extremes of the American political spectrum get fervently wound up in election year imagining some apocalypse if their favored presidential candidate does NOT win the election.  I don’t know whether that is the product of the negative campaign ads or the reason the campaigns constantly run those ads.

For Christians, we live by a truth which is outside of the effects of who wins the U.S. presidential election:  Jesus Christ is Lord, God and Savior.

No election can change that simple, yet eternal truth.   So however much we fear the “other” party’s candidate winning the election, we do need to keep perspective.  Jesus Christ is Lord, yesterday, today, forever (Hebrews 13:8).

“As the prominent biblical scholar N.T. Wright says, if Jesus is Lord, Caesar is not. The Priene inscription called Caesar ‘savior’ – savior of the world, bringer of peace and justice to which Paul says, ‘No way!’ We must add, therefore, that if God is savior, Caesar is not. And if God’s salvation, including peace and justice, comes through Jesus, then it does not come through Caesar – or any other political or imperial force or figure.” (Michael J. Gorman, Reading Paul, pg. 44)

That “any other political or imperial force or figure” includes the President of the United States and the United States itself.  Just for the sake of a little humility for us Americans and to deal with our own hubris, we might remember that the devil in Luke 4:5-6 when tempting Jesus says all the authority and glory of every kingdom on earth belongs to him, and he offers it to Jesus who refuses it.   Salvation comes through Jesus Christ, not through the US, or through the US only if the right man gets elected president.  Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of lords, showed little interest in governments and their power.

None of this is to say that it doesn’t matter who wins the election.  Since we do believe in free will, every decision matters and has its effect, great or small, on the universe.  But the complexity of the universe and the the love of God interact in such a manifold matrix, that we have Christ testifying to the fact that God the Father gives both rain and sunshine to the good and evil, the just and the unjust, the righteous and the unrighteous:

“… your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45)

Jesus attributes this particular behavior of God to His love, and then goes on to say we are to be as perfect in this love as God.   So we as Christians can have strong partisan, even polarizing, political feelings, but then as Christians, we are obliged to love the other as God does.

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