The Iowa caucuses have “officially” ushered in the election season.
While there are front-runners there are no clear
favorites yet as discontent seems to be the prevailing
attitude. It will be interesting to see where we wind
up, both as a nation and as the church. I’m already
praying that this may be the year Christians vote
morals rather than economics, but right now a moral
course isn’t as clear as we might wish.
One of the first things we see in any campaign is the attempt to use a
candidate’s words against him. Frankly, that seems
fair. Little reveals as much about where one stands as
his words during a time when no election is underway.
Of course, the one whose words are brought into
question will then attempt to explain it away, often
with a claim of being taken out of context. And it is
true; a campaign that is dishonest or desperate will
frequently distort what their opponent said, even
though they may quote him verbatim. Sometimes it
works, and other times it backfires. We’ve already
heard it in these campaigns, but how it will play out
remains to be seen.
What is more alarming is the way people
will take the words of the Lord and His divinely
inspired apostles out of context in order to further
their own agenda. You have probably heard someone say,
“You can prove anything by the Bible.” Know that
an honest man cannot do that.
“For where two or three are gathered
together in My name, I am there in the midst of
them” (Matthew 18:20) is frequently used to justify
not going to church. Yes, Jesus said it, but He
wasn’t talking about worship. Read it all.
“Judge not, that you be not judged”
(Matthew 7:1) is quoted by those attempting to justify
bad behavior. And yes, Jesus said it, but reading the
previous 82-verses and the 27-verses that follow casts
a light that many close their eyes to.
Any of us would be highly offended if
others believed that our words could be used to
“prove anything”, yet even Christians will too
often say we cannot be certain of God’s will. Such
insults God’s integrity and makes Him as a liar.
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free” (John 8:32) (please look at the entire chapter
if you doubt the context). Knowledge of truth is
attainable. Such knowledge cannot be found in our
efforts apart from God’s revelation. Some of it is
“too profound” to fully understand (Psalm 131:1),
but the knowledge needed to be freed from sin and
worldly cares is within our understanding.
God has said exactly what He meant to say. Jesus never misspoke. Holy
scripture is not subject to occasional updating to
keep up with the times. Conduct that was sinful 2,000
years ago is still sinful today, just as good behavior
continues to be good. None of us are able to call God
down to our standards, but we are all able to accept