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It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. - Psalm 118: 8-9 (ESV)
There is no subject that makes Christians abandon their Bibles faster than politics. It is sad every year and especially during a presidential election year, to watch Christians turn from their Savior to flawed men and women to save them. To save their money. Save their future. Save their children. What is worse though is like those who have fallen under false teaching; there is little convincing people of their folly once they have their choice in mind. It is their way or the highway and if you dare to offer otherwise you are not only considered a fool but often a bad Christian. I would spare us this merry go round this year if possible. Consider the following an election year primer for Christians who are serious about God and what His Word says. Let us start with who the Bible says we are:
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. - 1Peter 2: 11 (ESV)
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, - Philippians 3: 20 (ESV)
This needs to be the starting point as believers when it comes to politics. This is not our home beloved. This is not our country and we do not have primary citizenship here. Yes there are secular, civic responsibilities but they have absolutely nothing to do with our true identity as a follower of Jesus Christ. Far too often we see Christians identifying themselves first with the carnality of this country and second as Christians. The result is predictable. They try to bend what is carnal into their faith. The definition of a sojourner is someone who is only staying somewhere temporarily. An exile is defined as someone who is separated from their true home. Do we get that today beloved? I understand that the eternal life is rarely preached about anymore in this worldly church we see today but this is the biblical reality. Far too many Christians identify themselves by their party instead of by their Savior. We are not Republican or Democrat. We are not conservative or liberal. These are carnal terms designed to divide men apart. Our true identity must always be found in Christ who seeks to bring all people together under His glorious rule. So the false litmus tests we always see are of the flesh. The notion that if we are Christian then we must first be of this party of that persuasion is a false premise. It confers righteousness where it does not belong. Neither party is righteous. None of the candidates seek to do the true will of God. They know how to throw out Christian sound bites but at the end of the day they do not believe as you or I, nor should we expect them to without the indwelt Holy Spirit. Here is a little test about conferring false righteousness:
President A - taught Sunday School, served as a Deacon in his Baptist Church
President B - believes that all religions serve the same God
President A is Jimmy Carter and President B is George W. Bush. Neither is righteous beloved but how does the majority of the church view these two presidents? Carter is often vilified by Christians while many consider Bush to be the only real "Christian" president we have ever had. God does not want us seeking our help from man but from Him. Now that we have established who we are, let us not lose sight of who the world is and their relationship to the Bible and God:
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. - 2Peter 3: 14-16 (ESV)
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. - 1Corinthians 1: 18 (ESV)
For us the Bible ought to be the very power of God beloved. Why? Because it provides us with the absolute truth we need to overcome the world and the lies of the devil. But who is the Bible written for? Who is it written to? According to the Corinthians verse it cannot be intended for the unbeliever because he will consider it folly, or foolishness. Have you ever tried to impart biblical truth to an unbeliever? Even if the exchange is cordial they simply do not get it. They do not get the revealed truth of Scripture because they do not have the indwelt Holy Spirit, who the Bible says leads us into all truth. Now consider the verses from the Second Epistle of Peter, which was written to believers. Peter expressly reminds us that there are things that are hard to understand in Scripture and that unbelievers twist them to their own destruction. I think on a basic theological level we all get this. The Bible is written for us and our personal lives. Yes we can use it to help our brothers and sisters but it is not designed for us to wield as a blunt instrument against the unsaved because they will not understand it.
Yet isn't that what Christian leaders espouse we do every election season? Find the candidate that allegedly comes as close as possible to some level of "Christian values." In the hope that they will somehow lead and legislate accordingly. So we hope to legislate the Bible into the lives of people who do not know Christ. That simply will not work. Even if laws were passed or repealed that brought about some perceived moral utopia Christians are seeking it will change nothing in the eternal balance. Behavior is a product of who we are. Sin is a symptom of our fallen state. Outlawing the behavior does not save anyone. Only the Gospel is the power of God unto the salvation of men. Jesus Christ Himself was apolitical when He walked the earth. He was essentially indifferent. Give to Caesar what is his. You want my tax? Go find the first fish and it will be in it mouth. Even before Pilate He clearly stated that His kingdom is not of this world. The truth is we continue as Christians to value the wrong life. We are too busy trying to fix this fallen world, which God has already told us will pass away, instead of testifying to the eternal world that people could have. Not if they behave better but if they put their faith in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Remember the disciples cared a great deal about the politics of their day. They all thought the Messiah was going to deliver them from the political oppression of their day and the Roman Empire. Even after being told repeatedly that He had come to deliver them from the oppression of sin, they still held out hope for a political deliverance:
So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" - Acts 1: 6 (ESV)
This was after the resurrection! Jesus promised them He would rise from the dead and did so and as He spent time with His disciples they still preferred to focus on this life instead of the life to come. Rome still weighed more heavily upon them than the Gospel. The past is always prologue beloved. Even though the Bible says these things were written down so might learn from them we often are reluctant students. We are more concerned with some pre-fabricated notion of revival than we are with making sure our doctrine is sound so that people actually get saved. That if we could just get those unbelieving goats to behave a little better than maybe God will stay His coming wrath. How foolish we are. We are living in Rome. We are living in Sodom. We are living in Babylon. We are supposed to be pilgrims and sojourners passing through and telling people of the Promised Land that is available for all. Remember beloved; God does not promise a great end times revival. He promises there will be a great end times falling away.
The next fallacy we have to dispel concerns relative righteousness. God is not waiting for you in heaven to review your voting record. As if you will stand before Christ and He will say, "Well, I would like to let you in but"Clinton in 96? Sorry, there's the down escalator." Remember that in 2012 the majority of Christians voted for an active member of a satanic cult that believes Jesus and the devil are brothers. Yet every year we see Christians and Christian leaders outright state or at least infer that their candidate is somehow the righteous one. What they really are trying to sell is the notion of the lesser of two evils. That is a debate I do not wish to be involved in and neither should any Christian because essentially you are advocating for and arguing for evil. Lesser evil is still evil. Listen, I have no problem with Christians using the lesser of two evils strategy when casting a secular vote. The issue is in defending it as if it were righteous when it most certainly is not. We should not be caught bragging about our evil vote. We should not be defending our evil vote. We certainly should not be caught politicking for our evil vote. Why? Because at the end of the day it is still evil.