This is from the archives, originally published in 1997:
Who is responsible to stand for the Word of God in a culture that has lost its moral compass? God wants to know who is willing: “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? (Psa 94:16 NKJV). Christ told us, “The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.” [Mat 11:12]
Many political hacks, and some who claim to be Christian, believe that it is not for those of faith to involve their convictions in the public arena. They believe the political system belongs to the world and Christians who participate must conform their views to conventional wisdom. These people are offended when held to a higher standard than man. They don’t believe public office is affected by private morality and they don’t know the meaning of the word “is.”
Martin Luther said, “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all battlefields besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
John Wesley said, “The making an open stand against all the ungodliness and unrighteousness, which overspreads our land as a flood, is one of the noblest ways of confessing Christ in the face of His enemies.”
Confusion In Our Culture
Our nation has been blessed by God. We have squandered His grace and we are watching our blessings and freedoms erode. Can we resolve the social problems we face while ignoring the Hand of God and His requirements for moral law? The answer is “no.” Yet, we continue to abandon the principles that brought us an orderly and prosperous society and we are amazed at the increasing barbarism around us.
On a recent trip to Seattle, I was following a car through the University District. The car had several bumper stickers telling us to liberate laboratory animals, stop wearing furs and ban animal traps. Placed precariously on the lid of the trunk was a Darwin walking fish. My immediate thought was, “this man is confused.” It is not surprising. He is the product of our modern government education. On first hand, he believes in natural selection through the survival of the fittest. On the other hand, he does not, because he believes man has a responsibility to protect the species. His dichotomy, which is the norm today, serves both an individual and a societal purpose.
First): If we can explain creation by evolution, we have no need for a Creator. If there is no Creator, then there is no higher law than man. Additionally, we can scientifically deny original sin and thus, have no need for a Savior.
Second): If we maintain protection of so-called endangered species, or even the whole planet, for that matter, although it is an affront to the theory of natural selection, we can deny that God, Who promised the earth cannot be moved, sustains the earth. Thus we nullify God’s law and authority and we rationalize slothful behavior, which defies His command to subdue the resources and be productive.
Are we surprised that America, which was established upon the doctrines of the Christian faith and whose Founding Fathers believed it was the destiny of this nation to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, has now succumbed to a pantheistic worldview that includes all faiths except faith in Jesus Christ. Don’t be surprised, not for a moment — this nation has always followed the faith of the Church.
Our nation has allowed that God might be dead, the Bible may not be infallible, that tolerance is a Christian virtue, that positive affirmations and self-esteem produce virtue and that worship of nature is a valid substitute for stewardship. The church has not risen up to refute these doctrines, in fact, the major church denominations have taken the lead in espousing these principles.
Certainly, your church has not followed in these steps, or has it? How many cars in your church parking lot display the Christian fish symbol along with a DARE sticker? The essence of Darwin was not that man evolved but that life happened without God. The essence of DARE is the parallel. Though the motto is “Just say ‘NO’ to drugs,” the foundational doctrine is all standards, or morals, are relative and man can become good without God. When we support this premise, we are denying God and make Him out to be a liar.
If we neglect to confront the paganism in our culture, we are denying Him. DARE is only one example. I used it only because there are so many stickers in church parking lots. We could substitute sex education, which many Christians think will protect our children. The same could be said for positive mental attitude (PMA) that many Christians believe is a Christian virtue and leads to God’s financial blessing. I could have used many other examples but my point is this: The church has succumbed to the confusion of human philosophy.
You see, my friend, it is not only the product of modern government schools that are mixed up in their thinking. Our whole culture is confused because our churches have forsaken the Rock they were built upon. We need to return to the Scriptures as the written authority for all of life; for self government, for family government, for church government and for civil government.
Biblical Rules For Civil Laws
God gave us the Scriptures. In His Word, He explains the way of eternal life, that is, salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and He gives man rules to live by, both for the individual, for the community and the nation. He gives us rules for contracts, currency, commerce, collateral and usury, equity, life, immigration, marriage and family, property, self-defense, sentencing and every area of life that impacts our relationships with each other.
Furthermore, God established the rules for governing community and nations. Our laws are to reflect His laws (Exo 19:5; Lev 20:8; 22:31; Deu 13:4; 1Ki 10:9; 1Ch 22:13; Job 34:17; Psa 63:11, Jer 22:3-5). They must be fair and equally applied (Num 9:14; Deu 1:16-18) and the people must know what God expects (Deu 31:7-13; 2Ch 17:7-10; 2Ch 34:30-33). Furthermore, kings and civil authorities are not a law to themselves. They are subject to God’s authority (Exo 19:5; Lev 19:19; Deu 4:2; 1Sa 10:25; Joh 19:11). They must not compromise God’s laws to satisfy the desires of the people (Exo 32:1-6; 1Sa 15:24-26; Ezr 3:3). The people, also, are subject to the Lord (1Sa 12:13-15).
He instructed us on the election of our leaders. We must raise up Godly men who fear God, who hate dishonest gain and have God’s approval (Exo 18:20-21; Num 27:15-18; Deu 1:13; 3:28; 17:14-20; Jos 1:6-9; 1Sa 12:1-5; 1Ki 3:7-12; Ezr 7:25-26; Neh 5:14-19; Pro 16:12-13; 25:5; 31:1-9; Hos 8:2-4). When the leaders reject God, the people are easily lead away (2Ch 36:14; Ezr 9:2; Pro 29:18; Eze 22:23-31) and justice is perverted (Job 9:24; Pro 28:2; 29:12; Isa 30:9-15). When people understand the laws of God, there is great revival (Neh 8-10; Pro 29:2).
According to Isaiah 1:16-17, those in authority are to seek justice, remove the burden of regulation from the oppressed and defend those who are too small and/or weak to defend themselves. God is concerned about the rights deprived and that justice be maintained within a nation (Isa 10:1-4). When civil leaders become consumed with their own importance, everything becomes tarnished with their immorality (Isa 28:7-13). They deceive themselves that tomorrow will be just as good as today, or even better (Isa 56:10-12). But the Bible promises they cannot escape God’s judgment even if they make a covenant with death (Isa 28:14-18).
Solomon admonishes us in Proverbs 29:4, “By justice a king gives the country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes [or votes, or power] tears it down.” [NIV] Our nation is in the process of being torn down. Will His people rise up and be leaders who bring the nation’s attention back to Him? Or will no one be found who will stand in the gap (Eze 22:30)?
The Role Of Law And Regulation
Nehemiah wrote that God gave us regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good (Neh 9:13). God is the foundation of all law. By Him kings reign and rulers make laws that are just (Pro 8:15). Jesus Christ affirmed to Pilate, that only God gives man authority to reign (Joh 19:11).
Will we be bold enough to stand up for God’s authority over the laws of the nation? Our Founding Fathers had that vision and that is what has made our nation great. If Godly men rise up to rule, the people will rejoice (Pro 28:12).
Nahum warns that a nation that ignores God’s authority will be overrun with bureaucrats and regulators (Nah 3:17). Throughout history, bureaucratic position has been a spoil of war, or the reward for those in political circles. The Bible records that Saul, Israel’s first king, dispensed favor and power to purchase loyalty (1Sa 22:7). We are losing a war for our culture, our Christian heritage, and the proliferation of regulation and bureacracy is evidence of the spoils going to evil.
What do regulators accomplish? Don’t their good intentions, or rather, their political goals disguised as good intentions, result in the loss of liberty? The Bible warns against politicians who rob the labor of the people by constructing manifold lavish buildings. Whether buildings or handouts, there is always a “need” or some crisis to justify the extortion. The people are deceived, taxes increase and the taxpayer is left hungry (Isa 32:5-8).
The Bible tells us a good leader is servant to the people and sympathetic to their concerns. He does not burden them with harsh taxes and regulations. The Bible tells us the people will be loyal to leaders who will reduce taxes and regulations (1Ki 12:1-19). But, a leader who turns from God’s commands causes troubles for a nation (1Ki 18:18). Woe to those who make unjust laws and issue oppressive decrees to deprive the people of their rights (Isa 10:1-3). Don’t confuse rights with a government check.
We say that America is a nation of law. Yet, we have become a nation of laws. The rule of law is this: Law is king, or lex rex, as our Founding Fathers used to say. Law is not any and every statute and code that bureaucrats, legislators and Congress can come up with. There must be a foundation. Our foundation is the Anglo-Saxon common law, which, beginning with the Magna Charta was the first Gentile law of kings that used the Bible for its authority. Originating from this tradition of Biblical law, the foundational legal instrument in the United States of America is the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
According to the Declaration of Independence, along with the right to life and liberty, we are endowed by our Creator with the right to the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness is not the right to do whatever we want to do, whether good or evil. It is not the right to a paycheck, welfare check or government grant. It is not the right to a free education, health care, or any other subsidy. We have become confused. Historically, it is the right to property coupled with the right to engage in commerce, establish estates, raise large families and set up inheritances for our children.
We have lost our foundation and the people have cast off restraint (Pro 29:18, Lam 2:9). We have left God’s law, consequently justice is driven back and the righteous have become prey (Isa 59:1-15). Because we have squandered God’s grace and have left our sure foundation, God has given us over to oppressive laws (Eze 20:25, Deu 28:29).
Isaiah 33:15-19 tells us if we wish to see the king (civil government) in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar; if we desire to dwell securely and have your needs provided for by God; if we want to survive the arrogant, corrupt bureaucrats and officials who terrorize, tax, confiscate and speak a strange speech, then we must:
- Walk righteously,
- Speak what is right,
- Reject gain from extortion,
- Keep our hand from bribes,
- Stop our ears at evil plots,
- Do not contemplate evil.
So Christian leader, we know that our society has left God’s law. We also know that God has promised regulation and taxation if we disregard His law. Knowing this reality, is there any Scriptural justification for Christians to wink at regulation or to work for government programs? Or didn’t Jesus’ commission give us with the responsibility to teach the nations His laws and to change the world His way and not man’s way?
“Restore us to Yourself, O Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless You have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure” [Lam. 5:21-22 NIV].
You Cannot Separate Law and Religion
Despite all the arguments regarding separation of church and state: No nation has ever been able to separate law and religion (Deu 4:5-9, Mic 4:5). So just as Joshua admonished his people in chapter 24 to throw away their foreign gods and to serve the Lord, we also must stand before our nation and admonish the people to follow the laws upon which this nation was founded: the laws of the God of the Holy Bible.
As one examines the history of our nation, it becomes clear that society has always followed the church. Whenever the church became corrupt or apathetic, our laws became corrupt and unjust. The reverse is also true: that intervals of Godly law followed revival in the church. God holds the church to be the beacon, not only of His love and grace, but also of His law. This is not just true for ancient Israel and modern America. This is true for all nations. The laws of the nation always reflect the religion of the nation, whether that creed be of man or of God. Micah tells us that what our religion is — or who our God is, will determine our law (Mic 4:5).
In his book, A Concise History Of The Common Law (Little, Brown and Company, 1926, 1956, pg. 8), Professor Theodore Plucknett describes the positive influence Christianity had in bringing England out of a pagan culture. Individual responsibility restored social order to the Anglo-Saxon countries. The Common Law, born from the Magna Charta, which birthed our legal system, was based upon individual accountability to God.
Christianity had inherited from Judaism an outlook upon moral questions which was strictly individualistic. The salvation of each separate soul was dependent upon the actions of the individual. This contrasted strongly with the customs of the English tribes which looked less to the individual than to the family group of which the individual formed a part. Necessarily such a system had little place for an individualistic sense of morals, for the group, although it was subjected to legal liability, can hardly be credited with moral intention in the sense that an individual can. With the spread of Christianity all this slowly changed. First, responsibility for actions gradually shifted from the whole group to the particular individual who did the act; and then the Church (and later the law) will judge the act, if necessary, from the point of view of the intention of the party who committed it.
When we follow God’s law we have a sound society. When we reject His commands we have anarchy and chaos. Don’t presume I am arguing that we set up a theocracy. The fact is that our nation was established upon Biblical principle, and our forefathers believed that nations and individuals are accountable to God. Their faith never established a theocracy, nor did they intend to.
Our founding documents reflect our Biblical heritage. The Declaration of Independence manifests rights that are established by God. It lists the violations of these rights by the king of England and every argument can be supported with Scriptural principle. Our Constitution, though not mentioning God, was a supplement to our Declaration of Independence. It defined the limits of government with principles that can be supported Biblically. It was the principles contained in those two documents that produced such a great freedom, as no other nation has ever enjoyed, and this foundation has made our country the most prosperous in history.
I recently read with interest a letter to the editor of a Christian magazine. Commenting on the recent school shootings, the writer claimed these atrocities cannot be attributed to the mere removal of God from the classroom. She contends that other pagan nations do not have the problem of children shooting children. Therefore, the problem is one of means, motives and opportunities. She implies control of access to weapons and more sensitivity training will solve the problem. Her attitude is a dangerous one and non-Scriptural. Laws that restrict access to weapons and impose politically correct thought will not lead to a lessening of crime. It will only lead to the elimination of liberty.
For the sake of argument, let us assume as fact her claim that godless nations do not have the problem of children killing children. Every nation and every village, whether pagan or Christian, has established some degree of civilization and the laws of a people reflect their religion. Ours has been a Christian heritage. Our laws have been Christian laws. Recently and gradually, we have removed God from society and our laws are in flux. Just as the nation of Israel before the time of the kings, we are doing what is right in our own eyes (Jdg 17:6). In other words, the reason we are witnessing more juvenile felonies than in preceding generations is because we are creating anarchy by removing our foundation.
Our families have broken down and morality is open to amendment. The government schools are substituting pagan hopelessness for education. The Scriptures tell us when Israel left the LORD they became more pagan than the nations that were before them (2Ki 21:9). Christ declared if the light within us is darkness, then how great is that darkness (Mat 6:23). When a people hold to the laws of God and subsequently reject Him, civil order will be worse than the evil that was before them. Blood is sweeping over our land like a tidal wave, simply because we have regulated God out of our society. No amount of laws, education and self-esteem is going to change this path to barbarism.
Christ’s Command To Forcefully Advance
We have spent the last forty years trying to maintain ethics, or morality, with an absence of truth in society (2Pe 2:19). Jesus made it clear that we cannot know the truth unless we hold to His teachings (Joh 8:31-32). Only then can we know the truth (Pro 1:7). Only then will the truth set us free.
The foundation of freedom is truth. As Christians, we can choose to become entangled with the world through compromise and tolerance (Heb 12:1, 2Pe 2:20) in violation of Matthew 11:12. Or, we can choose to be that city set on a hill (Mat 5:14-16). There is no freedom without ethics, or morality. There is no morality without truth. There is no truth without Christ.
What have we done to the faith? Remember the account of Aaron, the Israelites and the golden calf in Exodus chapter thirty-two. The people were tired of waiting for Moses. They wanted new gods. They wanted to get to the Promised Land on their own terms. Aaron, the priest appointed by God Himself, was afraid of the people. So he fashioned the calf, declared it to be their god and proclaimed a festival to the LORD. Rather than stand in contrast to humanistic ideals, he tried to make God tangible to bring the faith and the world together. He didn’t exactly replace God; he gave Him a face. Haven’t we done the same to the Christian faith? We have fashioned salvation to be a facilitator of mans’ self-esteem. Now it is easy to be saved without repentance and a faith that leads to obedience. We, too, want to get to the Promised Land on our own terms.
As a result of our weakened faith and misunderstanding of God’s sovereignty, many Christians today have placed their dependence upon government programs and bureaucratic agencies. They have prescribed Christian and Biblical charity to the state. They help organize self-esteem programs and feel-good events, which is humanistic idolatry. They have made civil government to be god, even mistaking it for our creator and provider.
One day, I was sitting with a group of believers discussing the role of civil government. When someone suggested that we could get rid of the department of health, another man was quick to defend that we need them to regulate septic systems. So, I asked the responder where in the Bible does it say that God promotes regulation? Is the civil government responsible to prevent me from violating another man’s rights? Or is it, rather, to set the law and bring me to justice when I violate the law (Exo 21-22)?
If we empower civil government with the force and responsibility to prevent crime, we are intruding on God’s authority and isolating man from accountability to God (Pro 28:18, 29:29, Mat. 20:25-28). This is the fallacy of crime intervention and prevention laws, including gun control: Not only is it impossible to make enough laws to neutralize mans’ bent toward evil, but you cannot support it with Scripture. The only result of preventative laws is to revoke the freedoms of innocent people — and in most cases, that was the intent.
Jeremiah tells us that the heart of man is evil and desperately wicked. (Jer 17:9). The next verse tells us that we can never understand it. If this is true, it follows that man cannot mount the proper strategy to prevent evil and eliminate crimes and trespasses. That is why the role of civil government, in regards to crime, is limited to bringing justice to bear against the wrongdoer. It is a vain hope that we can eliminate sin by regulating all activity and thought. Utopia cannot be created on earth and man cannot play God without horrible consequences. William Penn warned, “Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”
At the end of the 1994 legislative session, after the Republican Revolution, I was sitting at breakfast with a conservative member of the House. He is a God-fearing man, but halfway through the session he abandoned his Biblical views, in favor of expanding the power of the state. He allowed his views to become compromised for the sake of winning leadership approval in his run for a Senate seat.
As we sat together for breakfast, I began our conversation along the topic of the need for Christians to stand firm for Godly law. He followed with me, but as the conversation began to focus on the activities of the past session, he attempted to bring in arguments that would stretch the tent and give a little more latitude for compromise. Finally, he defended that he reads his Bible and he prays every day, quite often with the House leadership. Therefore, he cannot help but think that his every step is ordered of the Lord and everything he does is within God’s will.
I told him that I thought that his argument sounded fine but I thought he neglected two important elements: First): Although Christians are saved from sin we still have our old sin nature. Jeremiah warns us that the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9). Along this same line, Paul reminds us that the regenerate man longs to do good but wars against his fleshly desires (Rom 7:15-18); and Second): If our impulse is from the Lord, it will never violate the Word of God. Everything that we do, that does not measure up to the Scriptures, comes from our sinful nature and not from the Lord (1Jo 4:1). We cannot fight worldly battles with human wisdom (Pro 3:5-6, 2Co 10:4-5, Col 2:6-8, Heb 10:26-31). His response was, “that we really need to continue this conversation sometime.” I am sorry that I offended him.
My friend, when Jesus Christ instructed us to be as shrewd as serpents (Mat 10:16), He also commanded us to be innocent as doves! I have often had conversations with various legislators regarding their support of a bad bill. Invariably, they will defend their action as a necessary evil for re-election. And, as always, I have to confront their logic. “Let me get this straight,” I will say. “The good guy had to vote for an evil law, to guarantee that the bad guy will not get elected and vote for evil laws?”
“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out in the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.” [Luk 8:16-18 NIV] What does this verse mean?
- We cannot hide our faith–it is not something “personal”;
- We must stand out for the world to see;
- The light revealed through our faith will drive out deception and darkness;
- So consider carefully how you interpret Scripture, it will determine your fruit;
- If your faith bears fruit, you will be given more;
- If your “personal” faith bears no fruit, what you have will be taken.
Because we have compromised the faith, we are afraid of division. We are told, in the book of Second Kings, chapter seventeen and verse forty-one, “Even while these people were worshipping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did.” The lie calls sin and rebellion “diversity” and promotes a tolerance of evil. We need to keep in mind, the truth, which is the foundation of peace, brings division. Jesus Christ said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” [Mat 10:34 NKJV].
Jesus Christ proclaimed that “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” [Mat 11:12 NIV] The King James says, “the violent take it by force.”
What is this violence that Christ is advocating? Let us look at the character of John the Baptist, described by Jesus in the preceding verses. He was not a reed swayed by the wind. He was resolute and never compromised God’s requirements. Yet, he was not arrogant or self-promoting. He was humble before God. He is our example of violence, or forcefulness. He laid hold of the kingdom, even to the death. However, his violence was not in his death. His violence was that he was not afraid to hold up God’s standard, which is violent to the world’s philosophies. He was not afraid to call the people to repent, as if they were sinners in need of salvation from the fires of Hell. He was not afraid to hold public officials accountable for their private sins of adultery. His ideas were violent against the world system.
Strategies For Advancing
Christ commanded us to go into the whole world, make disciples and teach all nations because all authority, in heaven and earth had been given to Him (Mat 28:18-20).
We cannot wage spiritual warfare with the weapons of the state. (2Co 10:3-4). The Bible tells us in Second Corinthians chapter ten verse five to, “demolish every argument and pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” We are commanded to, “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” Paul warns us not to be taken captive by the principles of this world (Col 2:8) and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2).
The apostle Peter argues that the day of the Lord will come as a thief and the elements will be destroyed by fire (2Pe 3:10-14). Then he asks the question: “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?” Peter answers the question: “You ought to live holy and Godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”
This brings to mind that I have heard many Christians declare that we know from the Scriptures that things will get worse until the end, so we are unable to fight the inevitable. In other words, we cannot hold back the antichrist so we might as well get along. Yet, the Bible never challenges us to speed the day of evil so that Christ may return. We are to live Godly lives to speed the day of the Lord. We must not capitulate to the world and thereby speed the day of the antichrist. Timing is in God’s hands; we are called to obey.
We are in a spiritual war and nobody on the face of the earth is exempt. If someone told you that once you became a Christian your life was going to be wonderful and rosy, I am here to inform you that you were deceived. My friend, we have need of a Savior because we are lost on our own. After accepting God’s salvation through Christ’s blood and resurrection, we are called to fight; to forcefully advance the Kingdom of God. Please, don’t misunderstand me: I do not advocate that we will establish the Kingdom of God on earth. That is God’s work. We are, however, called to hold forth a violent opposition to the world system, which is rooted in the devil’s lies.
Put on God’s Armor
If you are going to fight, you need to put on the armor. When we wear the armor, we can stand for Christ against the world system (Eph 6:13).
Paul outlines the armor:
- The belt of truth (Eph 6:14);
- The breastplate of righteousness (14);
- Shoes of the Gospel (15);
- The shield of faith (16);
- The helmet of salvation (17); and
- The sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (17).
Then he admonishes us to be alert and keep on praying (18).
My friend, do you spend time in the Word of God, every day? Are you working out your salvation with fear and trembling (Php 2:12-13)? Are you resolute in your faith (Exo 14:13; 2Ch 20:17; Isa 7:9; Mat 24:12-13; 1Co 10:12; 15:58)? Do you speak the Gospel in your conversation (Rom 10:9-10)?
The Jeremiah Principle
As faithful Christians we have an obligation to stand up for God’s law. To bring the light of His decrees and laws to the social arena: to confront our political leaders. Only then will the people know how to live if they want God’s blessing and an orderly society.
We need to understand God’s admonition to Jeremiah: He told him to go to the palace of the king and proclaim God’s requirements for man’s law, which is this:
- Do what is right and just;
- Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed;
- Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow; and
- Do not shed innocent blood in this place.
We can go to the king — we can write, call, or visit our lawmakers at the State capitols and Washington DC. God promised that if we do this and if our leaders listen, then, we will retain our freedom and our own people will rule over us. But if we do not obey God’s commands we will become a ruin (Jer 22:1-5). For the sake of our Faith, for our children and our nation, Christians must be involved in the political, or lawmaking, arena. There is no other way establish (or re-establish) Godly law.
Whenever we get into these discussions of standing for the Truth versus pragmatism, the subject of relevance comes up. We are told we must be open to ‘political realities’ if we expect to win. This is usually defended with the argument that Christ told us to be shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves (Mat 10:16). As if the command were to pretend to be like the world until we could trick the people into accepting Biblical instruction. How can we compromise, or diminish the truth for the sake of winning, then after gaining power, change course to defend the truth?
Let us examine the words of Christ. In this ‘shrewd as serpents’ sub clause, Christ was not suggesting that we compromise His Word to accomplish our goals or agenda. If you read the verse in full and the following verses on through verse twenty-two, you will understand that Christ was warning the disciples to discern well who their friends and true brothers in the Lord were and are. For many would infiltrate the church to hand the believers over to the authorities (compare Dan 11:33-35; Jam 2:5-7). He wraps up the lesson with this caveat: “All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” [Mat 10:22 NIV]. Clearly, Christ was warning against pragmatism and compromise. We must understand the times and the hearts of man; yet, we must be untouched by the cowardice and filth around us. That is the lesson.
When the nation of Israel was about to enter the Promised Land, Moses sent twelve spies to search out the land and bring a report. Ten spies believed the most pragmatic solution would be to return to slavery in Egypt (Deu 1). Two spies, Joshua and Caleb, knew that God was greater than the giants and the fortified cities of the land. They didn’t join in the chorus of fear, they didn’t propose a retreat disguised as incrementalism; they declared that God had already given the victory.
As far as the people were concerned, Joshua and Caleb’s views were not relevant. They were the minority and they were extreme. But we know the rest of the story: The nation of Israel went on to wander in the desert for forty years until all the naysayers and fear mongers had died. Joshua went on to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land and Caleb was a mighty warrior of Judah — even in his old age. At the end of his life, Caleb gave this account of his spy mission: “I brought back a report according to my convictions. . . . I followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.” [Jos 14:7-8 NIV].
What about you, my friend: Do you want to be counted with those who are wise with conventional wisdom? Or, will you stand up and report according to your convictions? Ten spies brought reports of their fears, or political realities, and the children of Israel wandered for forty years. Our God is greater than all political realities! History is profuse with examples of men who stood for God’s law even when it was not popular. Regardless of personal or immediate victory, every time they laid the foundation for God’s intervention.
Sennacherib tried to persuade the Jews that radical adherence to God’s law would not be enough to save them from his conquest. King Hezekiah, however, stood firm for the Lord. He declared that God alone was God over all the kingdoms of the earth (2Ki 19:15). The result was that God saved Jerusalem and Sennacherib was murdered by his jealous sons.
Exodus chapter five tells the story of the Israelite foremen who were angry with Moses for standing for the truth. They blamed Moses for causing division and oppression. In fact, in their piety, supposing themselves to know God because of their heritage (or church position), they called upon God to judge Moses and vindicate them. But God’s truth prevailed and Moses, in obedience to God, led the people out of the land of bondage. So don’t be confused or afraid when so-called Church leaders try to intimidate you when you stand up for God’s truth.
Ezekiel was told to stand and preach. In chapters two and three, God commissioned him to be the watchman for the nation. God told him that He was sending him to speak to a people that would not listen. Yet, he was to stand firm with no hope of revival. Nonetheless, they would know that a prophet had been among them and they would be accountable at the judgment. From this witness God saved a remnant. God promised Ezekiel, that when he saw the conduct and the actions of the remnant, he would know the Sovereign Lord has done nothing without cause (Eze 14:22-23).
So what about us? For the sake of relevance, are we willing to compromise God’s principles? Are we willing to subordinate our Christian laws, giving preference to other beliefs and diversities in order to “show the love of Christ”? Many of our ‘Christian’ politicians and activists have forgotten that Jesus said that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Mat 10:34). He never told us to compromise.
We are instructed to be shrewd as snakes but innocent as doves (Mat 10:16). Somehow, we have misconstrued His command and now we are caught, just like the Israelites, following God using worldly tactics, wisdom and ways (Deu 12:4, 31, Jer 10:2).
It is easier to offend God than man, because the effect is not immediate. But God is looking for a people who will obey His command, throw off all compromise and tear down the altars (Exo 34:11-14, 2Co 10:3-6). Remember, Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it (Mat 11:12). What is more relevant: Working for a temporary earthly victory of compromise? Or, waving the banner of eternal victory through Jesus Christ?
Standing v Winning
Who will stand firm for the truth without testing the winds of democracy? If you read the fourteenth chapter of Exodus, you will get the clear picture that if the Israelites could have voted, they would have returned to slavery. Moses, nonetheless, stood firm and God helped him lead the people out of the land of slavery.
As a ntaion, we are now drifting into slavery to the state and our leaders are more than willing to sacrifice our freedoms for political gain. Where is our Moses? Where are the men who will stand for God’s truth?
Many Christian leaders have been deceived by the approval of man (Luk 6:26). Just like Lot, they failed in their tolerance of diversity to convert even one man to follow God in obedience (Gen 18:23-33). In fact, his participation, instead of spreading light, diluted his faith; he hesitated leaving the city of Sodom (Gen 19:16). Sometimes I fear we value our financial liberties more than we value our freedom in truth. Will we hesitate to leave the prosperous filth around us to stand up for the cause of Christ?
Will Christians in authority be spared God’s judgment or state retribution because of their position? Remember, Esther was warned by Mordecai that she would not escape by her silence. Furthermore, he admonished her to consider that God might have put her there to stand at a time like this (Est 4:12-14).
God’s people are different from the world. We live in obedience to His law, not the law of kings (Est 3:8-9; Act 5:29). Just as Jesus promised, this creates division (Mat 10:11-39). But we must not be intimidated to compromise (Mat 11:12, Col 2:8). Christ told us in Luke chapter eight that we must stand out for the world to see. Then the light revealed through our faith will drive out the deception and darkness.
God calls us to stand (1Co 15:58, 16:13, Heb 10:23-31), and after we have done everything to stand, we are to stand firm (Eph 6:13-14). “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” [Heb 10:23 NIV]. “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” [Isa 7:9 NIV]. Let us rise up as a church and proclaim God’s truth by our obedience to His law.
Christ Will Crush Satan’s Head
If Peter admonished us to live Godly lives to speed the day of the Lord; and Christ declared that the end will not come until the whole world has heard the gospel (Mat 24:14); Then how can a Christian even think of aiding the world’s — or the antichrist’s — agenda by promoting the world’s systems and supporting un-Godly law?
Paul told us in Ephesians chapter six that after we have done everything to stand, stand and stand firm. We are to be faithful. Nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to win. But the Bible tells us Jesus has already won. Christ was sent to crush Satan’s head and remove his dominion (Gen 3:15; Luk 10:18; Joh 12:31; Rom 16:20). The Apostle John claimed that Christ came to destroy Satan’s work (1Jo 3:8). Christ declared, “the prince of this world now stands condemned.” [Joh 16:11 NIV]. Satan has lost. He cannot prevail against the cause of Christ. He cannot prevail against the laws of God and His rules for a just and orderly society.
The Bible is clear that if the Lord has placed us into the arena of civil authority, whether that authority be local, state or national, we are to take dominion (1Ch 22:12), tearing down the strongholds (2Co 10:4-5) and be a witness to the people by giving them righteous rules, or law (1Ki 8:58-60, Mic 6:1-16).
Don’t be taken captive by the world’s philosophy (Col 2:8). Don’t trust human wisdom (Pro 3:5-6). Are we ashamed to hold up the perfect law of liberty in contrast to mans’ false hope of utopia? Are we a little bit convinced in our own mind that man can be good without God (Mat 19:17)? Jesus warned that if the light within us is darkness — or man’s light, which only leads to more sin no matter what ‘goodness’ is espoused — then how great is that darkness (Mat 6:23).
“Therefore . . . let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” [Heb 12:1-2 NIV].
Let us not be afraid to stand. Let us proclaim the laws of God and wave the banner of freedom. “The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.” [Mat 11:12]
Tandem Vincitur: In the end, we will prevail!