The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America has caused deep division as during his campaign he clearly polarised opinion. At his inauguration it seemed that as many people came to protest against him becoming President as to support him! A common slogan of those who protested against him, despite the democratic process by which he has been elected, has been: ‘he’s not my president!’ But how should those of us who are Christians react?
In the early days of the Church, being a Christian in the Roman Empire meant that you were very often living under authorities who would not be at all sympathetic to your beliefs. However, when writing to the Christians in Rome the apostle Paul gives these instructions:
‘Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves’ (Romans 13:1-2).
However Paul also highlights the responsibility that those in authority have, as he goes on to write:
‘For he is God’s servant to do you good.’ (Romans 13:4).
Those who are in authority have a responsibility, whether they acknowledge it or not, to serve God in a fitting way. As they serve under God, they are obliged to protect, serve and seek justice for all in the circumcises in which they are governing! Therefore, we should be able to see the wisdom and the rightness of Paul’s command to Timothy when he instructs him as to what should be part of Christian worship and individual practice:
‘I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness’ (1Timothy 2:1-2).
In the end, Paul surmises that this attitude is right simply because: ‘This is good, and pleases God our Saviour’ (1 Timothy 2:3). The bottom line is that we are all under God’s authority. To conduct ourselves in any other manner is sinful because it is to make an Idol of self. Whatever our feelings, whether we like or dislike him as a person, like or dislike his politics, or are concerned with his attitude towards women, or human rights and immigration Donald Trump has become President democratically. And it is our duty to prayerfully support him by praying that God would guide him to do what is good and right. And we should also pray, and let’s not forget this, that he would have, or come to, a trust in God to guide him in every area of his life. Let’s not add politics to the list of idolatries (see: The Second Commandment) that we can become so easily subject to. After all, the Bible instructs us:
‘Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save’ ( Psalm 146:3).
When all is said and done only the Lord Jesus Christ can save, and we should never stop proclaiming that wonderful truth!