The Standard of Christ and Voting in Good Faith
And therefore, we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who, having joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sits on the right hand of the throne of God. For think diligently upon Him that endured such opposition from sinners against Himself, that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds. For you have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Hebrews 12:1-4)
There are times when circumstances and events in our lives open the mind’s eye, so that words we have read a thousand times inform us more deeply and directly than ever before. This was the case for me recently as I read the above quoted passage from the epistle to the Hebrews. The observation “you have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin…” was especially striking. It brought to mind reports of current events in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East, that recount the murders of people slaughtered by murderous ISIS militants, dying to perfect their profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
The humanly chilling spectacle of gruesome beheadings and other forms of mass murder has certainly helped to fuel resistance, among self-professed Christian voters, to the Obama Administration’s refugee importation policy. Using measures likely to be continued and expanded by Hillary Clinton if she is elected, thousands of mostly Muslim refugees, from countries rife with this murderously anti-Christian persecution, have been relocated to the United States, and forced on local communities throughout our nation. Americans know that a squall of violence, directed against Judaism as well as Christianity, has been the fruit of such policies in Europe. Supposedly sporadic episodes of such violence have already appeared in the United States.
Fear is the natural child of this combination of events. For Americans, this fear is like a rock poised to strike with physical violence against our very lives. Meanwhile, events in our Courts of law are producing results that threaten what sincere Christians know to be the life, more true and valuable beyond price, that depends on our faithfulness to God and Jesus Christ.
Formally abusing the logic of rights, American Judges and Justices are delivering opinions that set the premise of right, vital to America’s understanding of the nature and just limits of human law, against the premise of God’s authority, which is vital to the Christian understanding of God’s Word, as it is given to us in Scripture, and in the living body of Christ. For as He once came to live amongst us in the flesh so He still lives in and amongst those who heartfully strive to heed His vocation of truth.
These Court opinions evoke the formal logic of right but reject the endowment of God, which empowers it. They promise to make our nation a hard place for people who are mindful of God because of the mind of Christ within them. For it is they who must seek to live, by God, in Spirit and in Truth, no matter what the consequences, albeit they bring guilt, shame and death, as the world understands these things. As ISIS severs the head from the body of Christians in the Middle East, so these specious Court opinions aim to sever the body of Christ, His Church, from its head, which is the mind of Christ as it informs the heart and will of all who trust in Him.
Thus, on the one hand, those who trust in Christ and God apprehend the danger of physical death from avowed enemies of their faith being planted, like seeds of destruction, here and there through our land. On the other they apprehend the likelihood that their livelihoods will be destroyed unless they cease to adhere to the premise of God’s authority over all aspects of His Creation. This includes, of course, the existence and procreation of human beings, according to the endowment of God, as is their right by the laws of Nature in general, and by the will of God for human nature, in particular. This rejection of God’s authority is the true import of all the issues the Courts are purporting to decide in favor of forcing all Americans to accept and respect, as a matter of right, the sexual identity individuals fabricate for themselves.
But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers has raised up Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging Him upon a tree. God has exalted Him with His right hand, to be Prince and Savior; to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins. And we are witnesses of these things: and the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to all that obey Him. (Acts 5: 29-32)
This vocation of obedience to God, according to the Holy Spirit, is what ultimately gave rise to events that made the word for one who faithfully bears witness to the truth of God and Christ a meaning synonymous with persecution and death. Yet this meaning was already evident, to all who read the Scriptures, in Christ’s frankly truthful admonition:
The Son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the ancients and chief priests and scribes and be killed and the third day rise again. And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; whosoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what good does he do, who gains the whole world but annihilates and loses own life? (Luke 9:22-25)
This is the question that, from time to time, true Christians must appreciate with actions that prefer to lose the world, and life as the world envisages it, rather than to abandon the standard of Christ by heeding the threatening calculus of the world. To be sure human saviors may arise promising to save us from threats they have themselves helped to foment. But they are like the harlot in Proverbs whose “feet go down to death; her steps go in as far as hell. They walk not by the path of life. Her steps are wandering and unaccountable.” (Proverbs 5:5-6)
People have tried to persuade me that we have no choice, on this election day, but to vote for this harlotry in one form or another. But in fact, such a choice matters not at all in the election of God. By no means will it save those who follow the way of Christ from their time on the cross. There is only one imperative – to uphold the standard of Christ, even when, for a time, we are like to be impaled upon it. This will bring shame and humiliation upon us in the eyes of the world.
But with the Christ in us, we will despise the shame, as ever He did. For He will strive with us to relieve us of the burden He has already borne away— which is the shame and guilt even of our own sins. He will struggle with us valiantly, even unto blood and wounds. But striving with Him in good faith, as Jacob strove with the angel of God, we will find that the blood upon us is Christ’s blood, shed for our salvation. We will find, as well, that the end of our striving is not death and shame, but endless life in and for the greater glory of God.
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