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Finding Solace in a Romans 1 Culture

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If you’re Christian, your heart must ache for what has come of the United States. The presidential election only exacerbates the pain.

It feels like my wife and I rushed from one end of the Titanic to the other, as the ship of state tilts and disappears into a raging sea. The sinking end of the ship is California. Three years ago we abandoned my home of 60-plus years for the relative safety of Texas, the end of the ship still above water.

But as California continues to pile leftist-inspired absurdity on top of God-defying evil, it’s clear that we can run, but we can’t hide. The horrors of big government oppression and taxation without restraint and of sexual depravity and baby-killing may be most advanced in California. But as California goes, so goes the nation. It’s as tragic as it is true.

That brings us to the election, which is as tragic as the nation’s trajectory.

Yes, we’re aware that as Christians our true home is not California or Texas. And yes, we’re aware that in all conditions we are to be joyful and content. And yes, we know God’s ultimate will cannot be thwarted. In these truths we find solace.

But at the same time it’s increasingly clear God has lost patience with a society that exalts idolatry, depravity and even baby murder, and that even punishes Christians expressly for their faith. The good ole US of A appears to be living out the first chapter of Romans.

If it doesn’t break your heart that this passage perfectly reflects our nation, you don’t have a heart.

“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 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.” (Romans 1:24-25)

When an entire nation reaches the point of regarding evil to be something good, and good to be evil, what can it expect? Reward? Blessings? More undeserved grace?

As Matthew Henry’s commentary explained more than 200 years ago, “God gave them up, in a way of righteous judgment, as the just punishment of their idolatry—taking off the bridle of restraining grace—leaving them to themselves—letting them alone…”

Students of the Bible recognize this pattern. Ancient Israel and Judah lived it out, having tested God’s patience with their idolatry and sinful wandering from His covenantal conditions of blessing. God finally sent unbelieving invading armies into the land of His wayward people to finish the judgment.

Even secular students of history can easily find corresponding evidence, such as the crumbling of ancient Athens and fall of Rome, both instigated not by warring invaders nearly to the degree as they were by internal moral corruption. While the coup de grâce was delivered by sword-bearing pagans who stormed the gates, Rome rotted first from the inside, as did Jerusalem.

That is why Bible commentator Henry could write about Romans 1’s judgment by explaining, “it is no new thing for God to give men up to their own hearts’ lusts, to send them strong delusions, to let Satan loose upon them, nay, to lay stumbling-blocks before them. . . If the patient be obstinate, and will not submit to the methods prescribed, but willfully takes and does that which is prejudicial to him, the physician is not to be blamed if he give him up as in a desperate condition; and all the fatal symptoms that follow are not to be imputed to the physician, but to the disease itself and to the folly and willfulness of the patient.”

Or, more colloquially, as we in Texas might put it: “Y’all reap what you sow.”

What to do? In the Landsbaum household we are blessed that we can vote with a clean conscience without casting ballots for either the corrupt, big government-loving Democratic Party nominee or the thuggish, crude pretender on the Republican side.

We may vote for what we believe, without compromising. We can avoid what grieves so many Christians in so many other states about, “choosing the lesser of two evils.” I will write in Ted Cruz, who, despite his personality quirks, clearly was the last and best hope for a Christian conservative for the Republican Party’s nomination. It won’t affect the outcome. But there’s the added comfort my vote won’t help Clinton, who will certainly lose Texas anyway.

There is some joy in feeling unsoiled by avoiding two horrid choices. Yet, there’s a nagging sense of sitting in a lifeboat watching the Titanic go down. Nevertheless, God’s will, not mine.

I feel so strongly that both candidates are only different flavors of wrongfulness that I can’t recommend fellow Christians vote for either. Yes, it’s true Hillary Clinton would certainly accelerate this nation’s slide into depravity. And yes, it’s true there’s a very outside chance Donald Trump might put a conservative justice or two on the Supreme Court, perhaps delaying future harmful rulings. If you can believe him. That’s a yuge “if.”

Nevertheless, it’s understandable some believing Christians may choose the apparent lesser of two evils. But considering Trump’s history and his own words, what evils may voters be unleashing on the nation by putting in the world’s most powerful position a man whose entire life has been to serve himself at others’ expense? Shall we turn a megalomaniac loose with the power to launch nuclear weapons and imprison his critics? Add to that the candidate’s endless display of bad judgment, duplicity and unwillingness to take advice and a Clinton Administration begins to look less risky by comparison. Just sayin’.

This may not help much, but yours truly’s prayer is that Clinton is indicted for her many transgressions in time to ruin her candidacy, and that Trump stumbles to victory – and then is impeached as soon as he commits a high crime or misdemeanor. Based on his propensities and lack of good judgment, that ought to be moments after crossing the threshold at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. You can bet his impeachment would give rise to bipartisanship like we haven’t seen in decades.

Nevertheless, as previously mentioned, God’s will, not my own.



 

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