One year ago, Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States of America. There are those among us who absolutely adore President Trump. There are also those who absolutely hate him. I cannot think of a more polarizing figure in American history. But there is still that old question of why. Why did Donald Trump run for the office of President? Why was Hillary Clinton his opponent? What could have possibly happened to the American people causing them to choose the two worst presidential candidates in American history?
The Providence of God
I don’t want anything I say to be outside of the context of the providence of God.
Isaiah 46:10 (ESV)
10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
Romans 8:28 (ESV)
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
The short answer is that God is in control. Nothing happens outside his decree and no one thwarts the plans of God. This means that God wanted this to happen! Why, oh why, would God ever want to do such to America? Friends, America is not God’s covenant people. America is just a nation much like Rome or Babylon, except those nations played a significant role in the Canon of Scripture. Oh, and America is not Israel. I’ll say it once more for those that glossed over it the first time: America is not Israel. So now arises the question, “Why?”
Why did God do this?
God doesn’t owe anything to America. He is only concerned with His Church. It just so happens that there are members of His Church in America, but she is not the object of God’s affection, the Church is. Understanding this, we look back at that debacle we call a presidential election.
Don’t stone me for saying this, but I firmly believe it was all a judgment, not so much on America, but on the Church. For decades, the Church has wanted more and more to act like the world and the world more like the church. If you go back in time to the mid-twentieth Century, you’ll find families that have just gotten TV sets, parents that raise their children attentively, children that obey their parents, etc. The point is that it was quite difficult to tell the world from the Church. In such an environment, there is an overwhelming temptation to act like the world (they aren’t that bad) while simultaneously trying to be a part of the Church.
This led to a lot of nominal religion. Instead of the Church pulling the culture toward godliness and holiness, the world began pulling the Church toward worldliness and ungodliness. This was also in the midst of the “Sexual Revolution” that took place in the mid-20th Century.
All of this, I believe, has culminated in the present-day political arena. God gave them up.
Romans 1:18–32 (ESV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
This pericope describes America as a whole. However, God will never leave nor forsake his Church. So what gives? Is he giving his Church over?
Hebrews 12:3–11 (ESV)
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
God, brothers and sisters, is disciplining his Church. It is in starkly anti-Christian cultures that the Church endures and grows. Let us, therefore, resist the world. It is becoming harder and harder to embrace the world and Christ, (this is by design) so let us choose Christ. Do not buy the lie the world is selling that politics will solve our problems. Politics can only ever exacerbate our problems because our problems are all sin. The only solution is to turn to Christ, believe in him and be saved.
Soli Deo Gloria.