On Wednesday, January 20th, the 59th Presidential Inauguration will be held on the West Front of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Joseph R. Biden, former Democrat Senator from Delaware and Vice President under President Barack Obama, will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
It’s been a tumultuous few months since Election Day 2020. Close races and run-off Senate elections, concerns of election integrity, and the ongoing devastation of COVID-19 have dominated the news. How should the Christian interpret and respond to these events?
First, we must pray. As believers, we can come to the throne of God with all of our supplications, and this should include for our leaders, all those in authority, and our nation. In this particular time of hardship and unrest, Christians should be in daily prayer for our country.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
1 Timothy 2:1-2
Second, we must also remember that while God is our ultimate authority, as Christians, we are also called to respect our government. Ultimately all power comes from God. As American Christians, we are blessed to live in a free country where we can worship and live as we please [although with restrictions during a global pandemic!]. We can be grateful for our freedom, and respectful of those in leadership, whether we disagree with their policies or not.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
Third, when it comes to discussing matters of politics, policy, government administration, education, elected officials, etc, we must remember as Christians to always demonstrate the light of Christ within us. We should treat everyone with love and kindness, responding with a gentle answer rather than stoking anger or bitterness.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”
Fourth, giving a gentle answer does not mean we should abandon principles. As Christians, we must continually look to God’s word to guide our interpretation of political events and government policies, whether federal, state, or local. While we respect our authorities, we are ultimately responsible to God for our life and conscience. We can take courage from the life of Daniel to never allow government authorities to force one to violate God’s law. The Ten Commandments, God’s design for man and woman, and all of Scripture should inform our worldview and how we live our lives—we can speak into our culture and communities with the truths of these teachings with love.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Lastly, as Inauguration Day approaches. we must cling to the truth that God is in control. Everything—including elections and inaugurations of presidents in the United States are guided by the providence of God. Just as COVID has also been a reminder of this, God is in control, we are not.
“He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them.”
Knowing this truth, Christians must strive in everything to make Jesus Christ Lord first and foremost in our lives. We live in the tension of the Kingdom of Man and the Kingdom of God. We are stewards of God in the Kingdom of man and can be a light to our neighbor when it comes to issues of politics and policy, but ultimately our true citizenship is with Christ. No matter what happens to us here on earth, here in Harford County, Maryland in the United States of America, our promise of resurrection with Christ and eternity with him, is secure.
“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
Whatever your feelings about Inauguration Day, Christians, let’s commit to pray, and praise God for the hope and security we have in Him.