Stop Viewing Politicians as Messiahs
Updated: May 30
I heard it again. A well-meaning Christian voiced an opinion about President Trump that magnified the politician to an alarming status: “I firmly believe President Trump was sent by God to deal with this country’s sin.” While the sentiment has much to commend it, its context inferred that a vote for Biden is a vote against God’s choice for president—the God-sent savior of the States. Conversely, some Christians view Biden as God’s solution to this country’s Trump-problem, caused by an unholy matrimony between Evangelical Christianity and a morally bankrupt businessman. Both sides are doing their best to convince the other that Christians are doomed if the wrong candidate wins.
While a polarizing election in a divided nation serves as a breeding ground for exaggerated opinions, there is no excuse for wantonly unbiblical attitudes toward politics and politicians. Staking your present security on the victory of your favorite candidate on election night is not only unwise—it is wrong. Trump is not a messiah; Biden is not a savior. There is only one King, one Lord, one Messiah, one Savior; all else are subservient to Him and His purposes. Therefore, as American Christians, we must approach the upcoming election with the assurance that comes from being citizens of heaven.
God has chosen President Trump to deal with the nation’s sin. Romans 13:1 teaches that “there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (ESV). Therefore, President Trump has been specifically chosen by God to deal with unrighteousness and injustice in the United States of America, insofar as every president in the history of this great nation has been chosen by God for that purpose. Governments exist to promote justice, as seen in the rest of Romans 13, so those with political authority have been granted power by God for that purpose. But that does not make President Trump a messiah any more than it made Nero or Caligula or George Washington a savior. Each has to answer to God for his use of political authority, but God has never expected to begin His eternal kingdom through a Roman emperor or United States president.
Too many Christians place their hope in politicians. Too many American Evangelicals trade focus on the infinite riches of the eternal kingdom of God for hope in an earthly empire. Election day will not determine whether God is still sovereign over the United States of America. Moreover, a Biden or Trump win will not surprise God; in fact, the only reason the winner will be in a place of political authority will be because God allowed him to be there.
Christians serve an all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal King of a heavenly kingdom—it is time we start speaking like it. Stop speaking as if the winner of an earthly election will dramatically alter your life; if you have placed your faith in Jesus, your eternity is secure. No president, no economic system, no form of government will ever change your eternal destination. Trump is not your messiah—Jesus is. Biden is not your savior—Jesus is. And Jesus has already shown by His resurrection that not even death is an obstacle to our position in the eternal kingdom of God. As American citizens, who have been given a say in our government, we should vote according to our consciences. But as citizens of the kingdom of God, we should view the outcome in November as a small, temporal matter when compared to eternity.