Sometimes we are required by the movement of the Spirit on our conscience to do difficult things; things that we know will not make us popular; things that may even offend those we truly love in the Lord, though that is, obviously, never our intent. Sometimes, despite our acute awareness of our own personal weakness, in obedience to our Lord and in defense of His honor we are compelled to rise up and speak the truth in love as unpopular as the truth may be. This is such a time.
In reflecting on the result of this year’s election, and the fact that it was fueled to a significant degree by what is reported to be the highest turnout of “evangelicals” ever, this portion of Scripture came to mind: “Your glorying is not good” (1 Corinthians 5:6a KJV).
In the NASB, the Greek καύχημα in this verse is translated “boasting” rather than “glorying.” The word is often used to describe pride, confidence, even conceit. So Paul was concerned that these believers who he loved so much were boasting of wrong things, taking confidence in wrong judgments, even becoming conceited in their own sense of righteousness, i.e., of having done the right thing.
The context in which this exhortation was given is remarkably similar, in my opinion, to what has just taken place with the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States of America. The believers at Corinth were rejoicing in their self-defined graciousness, i.e., that they were so “loving” as to allow unrepentant sinners of the worst kind to walk openly with them seemingly without rebuke, certainly without any holy defense of God’s honor! Today many real believers are openly rejoicing in the election of an openly unrepentant sinner and, worse, that they had a part of his ascension to power! During the primaries, many of these were as appalled by this man’s unrighteousness as they were of that of the leading candidate of the other party. Yet, when he became the nominee of the Republican Party, they said, “Oh my! Well, I think he may be better than the alternative, so I guess I’ll just have to vote for the lesser of two evils.” To put it another way, they consciously or unconsciously followed the advice of one nationally prominent religious leader who suggested to a large crowd he was addressing that “This year we just need to hold our nose and vote.” Does that sound like advice inspired by the Holy Spirit? If we are truly honest with ourselves, must we not admit that such an “about face” is hypocrisy; that defaulting to the error of “The end justifies the means” never honors the God of righteousness?
Friends, I will be blunt: the lesser of two evils is still evil. Where in the Bible is the believer taught to promote any evil? Where in the Bible is the believer ever encouraged to walk “arm-in-arm” with a reprobate, i.e., someone who is obviously "unapproved" to God according to the plain teachings of His holy Word? (Please read Psalm 15:4 to see who the Lord commends.) It seems clear to me that the “evangelical” vote in this election was driven not by an unshaken faith in the sovereign reign of our righteous God over all things, including the Presidency of the United State of America, but by a fear of what the Democratic party's candidate was expected to do if she was elected. My bible tells me that “…whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23b).
My question today for all professing “evangelicals,” especially my brethren, i.e., the true believers among this man-defined group, is this: “Would you be rejoicing in the same way today if Hillary Clinton had been elected? Now I’m not asking if you would rejoice in her, or in what she represents. I’m asking you if you would be able to rejoice with full-hearted praise today if the result of last Tuesday’s election was her being the President-elect rather than Trump? If not, your “glorying,” your “boasting,” is not good, for it is expressing the fact that your hope is not resting wholly on the sovereign reign of God over all things but, rather, in God plus a man, or God plus a political party, or God plus some concept of “gain” that was accomplished by keeping Clinton out of office. God will share His glory with no one. He, and He alone, is to be the believer’s only Hope.
Political expediency must never be allowed to dictate to the godliness the Lord has commanded of us.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15)
Christ became sin for the believer so that the believer could be made the righteousness of God, a light unto the world, the salt of the earth. As believers we are to manifest true righteousness in all we do: in all of our actions, in all of our choices, and in all of our associations. As a child of Light, we is to walk as children of Light, not as friends of darkness (Ephesians 5:8+).
The believer is to emulate Daniel, not Solomon. Solomon was very political. He formed many different alliances with the world to effect what he considered to be Israel’s temporal good. And he was successful in attaining temporal success for himself and his kingdom. His people were rich compared with other nations. They had every material advantage. But have you ever read “the rest of the story” detailed in Ecclesiastes, or his warnings and exhortations in Proverbs? Solomon’s lusts destroyed not only his own peace and joy, but his people’s true blessing and security as he influenced them to set their hearts on earthly things rather than heavenly things. Ultimately, it was his lust for “gain” in this life that was the root cause of Israel’s division and spiritual defeat.
Daniel, on the other hand, determined in his heart that he would never be defiled, neither by the people nor the things of this world. And his resolve was not just regarding his initial temptation to consume food and drink forbidden by God. His resolve was regarding any and every temptation to compromise his heavenly calling to represent his God’s righteousness and power that he would ever face. That Daniel’s determination was not just lip service, but was the true commitment of his heart was proven by the actions he took, the decisions he made in every temptation of his life. In every one of them he stood firm and steadfast in his faith regardless of the potential cost. As a result, he was blessed by God. Yes, he served graciously and successfully under the reign of many heathen leaders, reverencing their lawful authority and praying for their wisdom and success as the Lord willed, just as we are commanded to do (1 Timothy 2:1—4). But he never participated in the advancement of those ungodly leaders to their thrones of authority. His confidence rested wholly in God and His wisdom and might. His heart was wholly set on the things of God. He was fully resolved that, no matter what, he would trust in God’s sovereign power and loving mercy at all times and in all circumstances. The driving force in his life was not the pursuit of personal gain or temporal comfort and convenience. The driving force in his life was a burning desire that his God would receive all the glory in all things as He should. So should it be with us.
With the above in mind, I would ask you to read the following exhortation and encouragement given to us by our heavenly Father, and consider that one day you will stand in His presence to be judged for the actions you have taken, the decisions you have made (and have influenced others to make) in His name.
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
“And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty.
(2 Cor. 6:14-18 NASB)
So, while I can and will live out my life as a law-abiding and faithful citizen of the United States of America under the rule of any man or woman God places into the office of its presidency, I cannot serve two masters. I rest and rejoice today because the Lord has made it plain to me that my eternal citizenship is in heaven, and my allegiance, therefore, is to be to Him alone who is who is Faithful and True, and able to keep me safe and blessed according to His perfect will and purpose for my life regardless of the composition of the leadership of my earthly country. Can you honestly say the same? If not, your rejoicing is not good.
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