I know that many Christians have been deeply invested in the 2020 elections. That’s why I wrote an article called The Great Divide? in September. Here’s what I wrote toward the end of the article –
“Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, wants us to focus on what’s eternal. That’s clear from His own words in the Gospels and the Book of Revelation, His actions while on earth, and the words and actions of His apostles.
So, look at each aspect of a political campaign and determine for yourself what you believe is eternal and what you believe is temporal. Once you’ve done that, invest yourself in what is eternal.”The Great Divide?
Focus is key to how we move forward following the elections. More about that in a few minutes.
[Disclosure: I wrote this article in October, three weeks before Election Day. Knowing how elections turned out and responding to specific race results is not the focus of this article. My intention is to present a Christian perspective rather than a political one. My greatest concern is that we serve God and His eternal purpose no matter what happens in any election.]
Some of the candidates Christians voted for won and some lost. Does that change how Christians should act or what they should do in the coming weeks and months?
I don’t think it does and here’s why.
Jesus told His disciples to make disciples of all nations and to teach those disciples to obey His teachings. Elections don’t change that command from our Lord and Savior. Whether we like various outcomes of an election or not, Christ’s command remains the same. The teachings of Jesus remain the same. The instructions of the apostles remain the same. Nothing about Christianity has changed. Christianity is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). Christianity is not about us and our elections. It’s about Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.
The truth of Christianity is the same today as it was when Jesus spoke and the apostles wrote. No earthly power can change that. Presidents can’t change it, senators can’t change it, representatives can’t change it, governors can’t change it, judges can’t change it, county commissioners can’t change it, mayors can’t change it, city councilors can’t change it. No one can change God’s eternal Word. It is finished and settled in Heaven.
We have work to do .. lots of work .. lots of very important work. What Christians do in response to God’s commands will last forever. What people do in response to earthly rulers’ commands are short-lived in comparison. I’m not saying what earthly rulers command isn’t important in all of our lives. I’m saying that earthly commands affect people for a little time. God’s commands last forever.
As I mentioned earlier, focus is key to moving forward – past the 2020 elections and into serving God in 2021 and beyond. What should be a Christian’s focus?
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”Hebrews 12:1-2
JESUS – He should be the focus of every Christian. Not someone who won or lost an election. Candidates can’t save our souls. Only Jesus can do that. JESUS – the eternal Son of God – should be our primary focus.
The Greek word translated looking is ἀφοράω. It means “to look away from all else at.” It’s the idea of looking away from all other things to “fix one’s gaze” on Jesus. He is the author (ἀρχηγός – founder, originator, first to lead) and finisher (τελειωτής – completer, perfecter, finisher, consummator – bringing a process to completion) of our faith. Fix your gaze on the One who founded your faith and will complete your faith. No one else can or will do that for you.
So, how should Christians look at this election? Focus on Jesus and what’s eternal, not on what’s temporal. Focus on Jesus and His truth, not on what the world tells us about truth.
The Apostle John addressed how Christians should view things of the world this way –
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”1 John 2:15-17
That doesn’t mean Christians shouldn’t vote or be involved in the political process (if their country allows Christians to be involved in politics). What it does mean is that Christians should focus on the will of God that “abides forever.”
I’ve been concerned for decades about the decline of Christianity in the United States and many other countries that once stood firm for God and His Word in the world. Here’s what I said about that on a radio program almost 45 years ago –
“It seems to me that unless Christians respond to God in humility and repent as Jesus said, He is going to spue out the American church and allow us to be controlled by an atheistic form of government. That’s just my personal belief, but I am concerned our days as a nation of free people are numbered. We need to do as Jesus said and repent of our sin of pride.”Teaching Notes On Why Christians Have Difficulty Living By Faith, 1976 Radio Broadcast
Do you think Christianity in the United States is in better or worse shape than it was in 1976? I believe we’re in worse shape now. Here’s why I say that.
I was saved out of atheism in 1971 and began learning about Christianity from the inside. I attended church and Bible studies many times a week. I got to know Christians from many different backgrounds and denominations. Even though there were obvious differences, one thing that was clear to me was their love for God and His Word.
The Christians I met believed strongly in primary teachings (διδασκαλία – doctrines, lectures, direction, admonition) of the Bible – like the authority of Scripture and the Triune God (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). They believed that Jesus Christ had existed from eternity, was co-equal with the Father and the Spirit and was not God’s first created being. They believed that Jesus had come in the flesh and was born of a virgin. They believed that Jesus died on a Roman cross to pay the penalty for sin and rose from the dead on the third day.
That’s not as true today as it was then. Unfortunately, many people who self-identify as Christians deny basic tenants of the Christian faith and have fallen into the trap of Neo-gnosticm and other heresies that were refuted by the apostles and early Church leaders.
It is sad to report that many preachers and teachers who taught orthodox Christianity in the past have fallen into heretical camps that have led many Christians astray. Jesus and the apostles warned us this would happen and the effect it is having on Christianity now is devastating. The modern Church is losing focus because many have left their biblical foundation and the Chief Cornerstone of Christianity –
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”Ephesians 2:19-22
Bad beliefs lead to bad results
Christianity has been on the decline theologically for decades and that has impacted its influence on society and the culture.
“The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.”In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace, Pew Research
According to annual Gallup research, Protestant Christianity declined from 69% of the U.S. population in 1948 to 35% in 2019. ‘Nones’ (no religion) increased in the same time period from 2% to 21%. Pew Research has Nones at 26%. It’s clear that Christianity in America is declining numerically.
The number of churches in the United States has also declined greatly, which makes sense given the numbers we see above. Membership is down from 70% in 1992 to 50% in 2019. Denominations have reported for a long time the closing of thousands of churches each year.
It should come as no surprise that the influence Christians once had in the United States is also down. 63% of the U.S. population, according to Gallup, thought religion was losing its influence in 1992. That number increased to 79% in 2019.
This information should not be a surprise to anyone who has studied the Bible and believes it to be true. God has been crystal clear through Scripture about what He expects from His people. As we read in Hebrews 1:1-2 –
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.”
Here’s what God spoke to Israel through the prophet Moses just before his death. It was a warning the people of Israel did not heed –
“For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”Deuteronomy 31:29
Even before Israel entered the Promised Land, God told them through His prophet that they would become utterly corrupt and do evil in God’s sight. Read on through the Old Testament and you’ll see that what Moses prohesied came true.
We find similar warnings from Jesus Christ and His apostles in the New Testament –
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”Matthew 7:15-16
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”Acts 20:28-30
False prophets were a big problem two-thousand years ago and they’re still a big problem today.
Five of the seven churches Jesus addressed in the Book of Revelation received a strong rebuke and warning. Here are a couple of examples. Keep in mind that Jesus was addressing Christians –
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”Revelation 2:4-5
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”Revelation 3:15-16
Jesus and His apostles also warned what would happen before His return to earth to judge the nations and establish His Kingdom on earth.
“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”Matthew 24:37-39
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”2 Timothy 4:3-4
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”2 Peter 2:1-3
“Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”1 John 2:18-19
God warns us because he loves us. Isn’t that what good parents do with the children they love? They warn them about things that can hurt them. False teaching can and will hurt you. It will hurt your walk with God. It will hurt your service for God. It will hurt your church. False preaching and teaching has hurt our society and culture. I’ll say it again. Bad beliefs lead to bad results.
You may be wondering at this point what hope Christians can possibly have in a world that seems to be falling away from God’s truth at increasing speed. I will tell you that there is hope. That hope is JESUS –
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”Titus 2:11-14
Jesus is our focus and our hope. We look to Jesus as the Author and Finisher of our faith and we look to His return as our blessed hope.
Christians should not fall into the enemy’s trap of thinking that our hope is in a political figure or government institution. Jesus Christ is our only true hope.
How then should we live? “… zealous for good works”. Jesus has redeemed us from every lawless deed and purified for Himself His own special (περιούσιος – specially chosen, select, treasured) people. Why? To be zealous (ζηλωτής – one who is eagerly devoted to a person or thing, passionate, zealot) of good works ( καλός – beautiful, honorable, worthy, good .. ἔργον – task, deed, action).
We have important work to do in service to the King of kings and Lord of lords. We know that the appearing of Jesus Christ is our blessed hope and we should want to serve Him now with all the strength He has given us.”
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”Revelation 22:12-13
You can download a free eBook about Christian responses to the 2020 elections here. Please use it in any way God leads.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.