Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. - 2Corinthians 3: 17 (ESV)
Nothing makes Christians sell out faster than politics. For years the Republican Party has done a masterful job of courting the evangelical vote and convincing them that only two wedge issues matter; abortion and gay marriage. Despite never delivering on any promises made regarding either subject, Christians march like lemmings on Election Day to vote for the off chance that Lucy is sincere this time and will not yank the football away as we run up to kick it.
The Bible however makes it clear that God is the only one we should turn to for the things we hope for in our leaders. The Bible teaches that every leader is placed in power by God, at the very least through His permissive will. He has used pagan, often ruthless nations throughout history as instruments of judgment, even against His people of Israel. The Bible further teaches that we are to be pilgrims and sojourners through this land and that our true citizenship is in heaven. But a funny thing happens on the way to heaven. We have to navigate a world we are no longer supposed to be a part of. But we like our little slice of the world and the utter carnality it offers. The sin and excess. Just like Lot eventually found himself living in Sodom, we find ourselves living in and idolizing the modern day Babylon, America. I am always careful to make sure people understand that as secular nations go, I feel America has been the best and done the most good. That does not however make it righteous. That does not mean it is or ever was in covenant with God. There is a different between being the lesser of evils and being Christian. At least there ought to be a difference.
So the Christian base seeks out people to tell them that this was once a Christian nation when it never was. It seeks out leaders who will stretch out a bony finger accusatorily at the very world that needs the Gospel so desperately. It creates this fictional narrative that if only those walking in utter blindness; who think the things of God are utter foolishness to them, would only behave better then some mythical revival will occur. That God will somehow stay His coming wrath against this country while every other country faces judgment. The mere notion is so wildly unbiblical it is amazing so many continue to fall for it. That is the power of sin. That is the control the devil can exercise in our lives beloved if we are not careful. We want so badly to hold onto Spiritual Babylon that we are willing to compromise everything the Bible teaches. So much so that the last presidential election saw the vast majority of Christians openly supporting a member of the Satanic Mormon cult. Never mind that Mormons believe Satan and Jesus are brothers. Or that God is just one of many Gods and He came here from another planet. Or that you can attain god-like status. Nope, the Mormon is our guy. Except he did not get elected. I once quipped that I felt 2012 was God having a little fun with us to see if we would really support a Mormon in order to keep idolizing this country. Well if that was a little fun, 2016 seems to be on a grander scale because this year we have candidate Trump.
Never mind that he once had the opposite positions on those two crucial wedge issues, for most of his life. Never mind that he was once close friends with the demonized Democrats. Never mind that he has disparaged women and minorities. Never mind that he has openly stated that he does not think he needs to ask God for forgiveness. Now we can add never mind that he uses the Bible out of context horribly to sell this American Idolization. That is what happened Monday during his speech at Liberty University. The verse the Donald abused is the key verse today. As one might imagine, he claimed this as one of his favorite because to him it "summed things up." That liberty (or freedom) is where the spirit of the Lord is. The freedom he was referring to of course is the patriotic American freedom so many like to rally around. But is that what God was really saying here? Let's take a look at the context:
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. - 2Corinthians 3: 12-18 (ESV)
These verses have nothing to do with earthly freedom beloved. Nothing to do with America, liberty, or any other patriotic concept. These are however crucial and powerful verses in the lives of believers. They emphasize that we are no longer separated from the glory of Almighty God! That Christ has lifted the veil that kept us apart from our God! I want us to fully understand the gravity of these verses. Here is the exposition from Gill
where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty; which may be understood of
the third person in the Godhead; where he is as a spirit of illumination, there
is freedom from former blindness and darkness; where he is as a spirit of
regeneration and sanctification, there is freedom from the bondage of sin, and
captivity of Satan; where he is as a comforter, there is freedom from the fear
of hell, wrath, and damnation: where he is as a spirit of adoption, there is
the freedom of children with a father; where he is as a spirit of prayer and
supplication, there is liberty of access to God with boldness, Though rather
the Gospel as attended with the Spirit of God, in opposition to the law, is
here designed; and which points out another difference between the law and the
Gospel; where the law is, there is bondage, it genders to it; it has a natural
tendency to it: quite contrary is this to what the Jews say, who call the law,
"liberty": and say,
"that he that studies in the law, hath , "freedom from everything":''
whereas it gives freedom in nothing, but leads into, and brings on persons a spirit of bondage; it exacts rigorous obedience, where there is no strength to perform; it holds men guilty, curses and condemns for non-obedience; so that such as are under it, and of the works of it, are always under a spirit of bondage; they obey not from love, but fear, as servants or slaves for wages, and derive all their peace and comfort from their obedience: but where the Gospel takes place under the influence of the Spirit of God, there is liberty; not to sin, which is contrary to the Gospel, to the Spirit of God in believers, and to the principle of grace wrought in their souls; but a liberty from the bondage and servitude of it: a liberty from the law's rigorous exaction, curse, and condemnation, and from the veil of former blindness and ignorance."
Freedom from the bondage of sin. Freedom from the captivity of Satan. Freedom from the law. Liberty from bondage and servitude. Liberty from the curse. Liberty from our former veil of blindness and ignorance. A spirit of adoption. How silly are we to hear this word freedom like a nationalistic dog whistle and miss what real freedom and liberty ought to mean in our lives. Now, I do not expect Donald Trump to understand these truths. When introducing the verse he said "two Corinthians" instead of "second Corinthians." He has previously been unable to mention a single favorite bible verse. It is abundantly clear that he has found his fervor for religion when it become politically expedient. I do expect better from Christians however. If you want to vote for him by all means do. Just do not do so believing there is a Christian motive behind it. Do so understanding that the liberty he speaks of is a carnal liberty and not the liberty he so casually referenced from the Bible. What Jesus Christ has set us free from ought to be worth more to us. It ought to be revered. It ought to be above the petty politics of a world we are not supposed to be part of anymore.