3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”~Ge 3:1 (ESV)
The story of how the serpent deceived Eve can seem pretty straight-forward, can’t it? And, just in case part of it wasn’t clear, how many times have you had it explained to you? After all, when Satan asks “Hath God said…”, isn’t he implying God was hiding something? Isn’t he really saying that God is keeping something from you?
Or, is that really what happened?
The more I see and hear and the longer I live, the more I wonder if that analysis isn’t flawed. I wonder if it doesn’t miss the mark, even if ever so slightly. If you want to know why, simply look around you at the world we live in.
I was recently reading an article by someone who decided to sit down and read the entire Bible all the way through. The article outlined just a few things that surprised them about what the Bible actually says and what it does not say. The inevitable “God helps those who help themselves” came up as an example of an item that wasn’t in the Bible. In spite of insights like this, the person talked about the second death “whatever that is” and presumed that eternal life was being in the presence of God so eternal death was being absent from the presence of God. He could not see beyond his preconceived notions of what happens once you die.
People do this all the time, don’t they? If an eternal death does not fit their ideology, then instead of letting the Bible inform their theology, they redefine the term death to mean something else so it fits their ideology. If the Bible says to keep the commandments, then they redefine that to simply loving your neighbor (and both the commandments and love mean nothing as a result). “Did God really say…?” “Well, yes, He said that, but He did not mean it. He meant something else entirely.”
And what of the Church? Haven’t men and women left in a huff misquoting church leaders and denying the truth? Haven’t some of the brethren (and sometimes the ministry) justified what they were doing by misquoting church bylaws? You know the answer.
Did your church organization really say voting goes against the Bible? “Well, they did say they frowned upon it, but they also said it was not a sin.” I only recently became aware of this argument. Without a doubt, it is one of the lamest arguments I have heard in some time.
The issue of politics and voting for government leaders is one the Church has dealt with over the past 60 years and always with a consistent voice. The Church’s position and teaching have been that involvement in the political processes of this world, including voting, is not appropriate for a Christian. It has been understood for many years that involvement
by members in the political process is contrary to the biblical admonition that, as Christians, we are to live in this world but not be part of this world.
~Introduction to the study paper “Voting, Politics and the Christian“, COGWA
I know United has a similar statement. While I don’t know the specifics of LCG and PCG, I am sure they also do not condone being involved in worldly politics.
The fact is that some have not completely come out of the world. They are double-minded.
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
I could keep on going. The Bible is quite clear that we are ambassadors in this world. Ambassadors are not sent to other nations to get involved in their politics. No, ambassadors are there to represent their government and observe the culture of the place where they are sent. When ambassadors get embroiled in the affairs of the land, they are generally labeled “spies” and expelled.
Yesterday, our pastor gave a wonderful sermon about how God will choose whom He will to rule. Not only does He not need our help, but if we are not careful we can actually be working against what He is trying to do. It is remarkable how many won even though they lost the popular vote. It is even more remarkable how many became president even though they were not initially elected to that office. Elections have been won by this or that party because of the weather or some national disaster. Did the voters really have a choice? Presidents have died in office. Even if the person gets into office and God does not desire them to be there, He will take them out. How much democratic choice do we really have again?
Peter had a sword when Jesus was arrested, and he used it. Jesus rebuked him. Peter undoubtedly had the right intentions, but he did not have either the understanding or faith required at the time. Jesus really meant it that His kingdom is not of this world, else His servants would fight. How much less should we be getting involved in the down and dirty politics of this world?
I think that if you are considering voting, you really need to decide which government you fall under. You need to decide where your real loyalties lie.
Just had a conversation recently with someone (who also sees themselves as a citizen of the Kingdom and, therefore, subject to that government and invested in that for eternity) along these same lines.
God chooses. God’s will prevails (in spite of what humans do). We have been given citizenship, not on our own merit, but through Jesus’s sacrifice and God’s mercy, in the Kingdom of God.
The first Great Commandment sums up where our allegiance, our loyalty, our commitment, our all should be. Anything in the physical realm that we give our loyalty to is an idol. We have replaced God with something vastly inferior and completely temporary.
Sadly, there seems to be that pull of idolatry among the ekklesia (that’s one of the lessons we learn and have to apply to ourselves in how we thing, see things, and act in every part of our lives). Idolatry is an insidious thing. It is subtle, and it’s a great point of weakness in us humans that Satan will try to exploit if we are not attached to the Vine, by being in the Word and striving to learn, to grow, and to live by it continually.
I go into this in a little more depth in the latest article, although politics is not the only thing that can lead to idolatry.