Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency this past Tuesday, much to many people’s surprise. Now countless people throughout the world are expressing their thoughts about the result. I personally wasn’t too surprised at the outcome, but what has surprised me (both before and after the election) is that many Christians seem to not understand the biblical function of government. It’s understandable that most non-Christians adhere to views regarding government that are foreign to Scripture, but (genuine) Christians claim to be people ruled by the Word of God; and so Christians should have a biblical view of the purpose of government. Human government was (and is) God’s idea and invention, and so He alone legitimately gets to define its role and function.
Romans 13:3-4 teaches that the biblical function of government is to 1) protect and praise those who do good and 2) punish and frighten those who do evil. Notice that the biblical function of government is not to provide to the world personal examples of godliness (as nice as that would be). Whose job is it to provide to the world examples of godliness? That’s our job as Christians (1 Tim 4:12, Tit 2:7, etc.), not the job of some elected government official.
What this means is that when Christians vote, they should vote for whichever candidate they think will better protect those who do good and punish those who do evil. (Understand that “good” and “evil” refer to what is good and evil in God’s eyes, not in the eyes of men. That means “good” and “evil” as described and defined in the Bible.) That’s what it should fundamentally come down to, not the personal character of the candidate. There of course tends to be a relationship between the personal character of a candidate and whether he/she will rightly protect the good and punish the evil, but not always. And it’s certainly nice if the candidate who will do the best job of fulfilling the biblical purpose of government also happens to the candidate with the best personal character, but that sometimes isn’t the case; and when it isn’t the case, the biblical purpose of government should be of far greater concern to you than any other priority (e.g. the personal character of a candidate for government, whether the candidate is of a specific religious background, whether your taxes will go up or down, etc.).
So for all you Christians out there, if you’re happy with the recent election result, let it be primarily (or exclusively) because you believe Trump’s administration and his party will protect those who do good and punish those who do evil (and because you believe that Trump will appoint other officials who will do the same). And if you’re grieved by the recent election result, let it be because you believe a Clinton administration and her appointees would have done a much better job protecting and praising those who do good and punishing and frightening those who do evil in the eyes of God. Even though other priorities may feel and understandably seem quite important, biblically speaking, everything else is secondary.
Let’s all stop being happy or sad for non-biblical reasons. 🙂