I struggled with writing yesterday’s devotional because I knew I was missing the mark on what I was trying to explain. Alan responded to my devotional and has wonderfully written of what I was only beginning to figure out. Without understanding it, it was the imperfection of which Alan writes that I was trying to allude. Alan has given me permission to publish his response.
I pray it blesses you as much as it blesses and challenges me. Have a blessed weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
You say the opposite of evil is good, but you then reason as though the opposite of good is imperfection. Imperfection is not evil, but rather an inclination to good that is unable to attain its aim or end (The spirit is willing, the flesh weak.) But if, by faith, we accept the gift of Christ’s perfecting sacrifice, His mind becomes our mind, His will our will. Not we, but Christ in us, can then fulfill the perfect longing of our Spirit.
Thus, the fact that we are imperfect does not mean that we must vote for evil, ever. For we are not the standard of choice. God is. Christ said “Be ye perfect even as your father, which is in heaven, is perfect.” Of course, we cannot hope to satisfy this perfect standard unless we rely on Jesus Christ to supply the defect of our fallen nature. But if we do rely on Jesus, then we can trust in Him to satisfy the standard, so long as we walk in faith which is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For Christians, therefore, one question arises before all others when it comes to voting- and that is the relation with Jesus Christ. It arises with respect to ourselves as voters. It arises with respect to others, as candidates. This is why Christian leadership (i.e., the leadership of those who rely on Christ) is for us essential to the success of republican self-government.
In the election that is before us, evil and imperfection are by no means the same. Imperfection aims at perfection , but falls short of it. Evil turns away from the standard of perfection, putting some other standard in its place. Imperfection is sin, (missing the mark) but with the heart and mind set upon the right mark. Evil is sin, but with the mark of God’s perfection replaced by willful worship of an idol made by our own rebellious, God and truth rejecting will.
In the election of 2012 it is plainly evident that both choices offered by the major parties represent the idolatry of evil. Abortion and homosexuality are the touchstone issues that reveal this idolatry. With respect to it both Romney and Obama agree in their rejection of God’s standard. They do not fall short of His standard. They cast it aside. “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, let us burst their bonds asunder and cast away their cords from us.” (Psalm 2:2) In the matter of accepting God’s standard, we are either for or against His truth. Either the standard applies, and what corresponds to it defines actions that exemplify the truth of His law, or it does not. Either His law applies, and the actions that correspond to it establish the nature of right, or it does not.
Politics is not just about our actions, but about our actions with respect to the standard of the law. Law that departs from the standard of law (which is the will of God, the maker of heaven and earth and all of us) is no law at all. America’s founders blessed this nation with a Declaration about the principles of law that acknowledges this truth, including the fact that God’s will is the standard on which the lawfulness of the law depends. Both Romney and Obama reject the Declaration, as is evident in the record of their actions whatever their lying tongues profess. If you go to my blog you will you will find facts and reasoning that amply substantiate this fact.
“He that is not with me is against me,” says the Lord (Matthew 12:30). When we willfully turn away from the standard of God’s perfection, when we rebelliously turn our eyes to worship some other standard in its place, are we standing with Christ? Or did Christ look to God as the standard, even when (as in Gethsemane) he sympathized with the weakness of our all too human flesh?
Election is choice. When as citizens we cast our votes we make a choice and we make it with respect to God’s will, or not. If, looking to Christ and our Father as the standard of choice, we mistake the way, Christ is the living proof of God’s mercy, and we can trust in that proof. But if we consciously, rebelliously turn from that standard, electing that which sets up in its stead an idol of our own making, we go the way of the unrighteous, which leads not to mercy but utter destruction.
In the candidates offer for our choice by the Democrats and the Republicans, evil invites us to make a mockery of choice as the prelude for our loss of liberty. Obama openly embraces sin and death. Romney openly professes to live according to “another Gospel” (Galatians 1:6-7), and, though he masks his embrace of sin and death with self-serving lip-service to the true standard, he has consistently abandoned it in his actions as a public official. With both candidates we are not dealing with the imperfect realization of good. We are dealing with the willful rejection of God’s standard that is the hallmark of evil.
We are all sinners. We all fall short of the glory. But even so, the truth of God’s standard is inscribed upon our hearts, and as long as we look to God for judgment, our hearts will be broken by that truth and so prepared to receive his mercy. Christ invites us always to look to His father, to be heartbroken by His truth and healed by His love. This is not a lesser evil, but the way toward our greatest good.
Neither Romney nor Obama represent such perfectible imperfection, for in word and deed they have turned their eyes from the true standard. They represent man in his pride, his vain belief that there is salvation apart from the LORD and his Anointed. In their eyes, man is the matter and the maker of the world, to lift up and cast down according to his own will, subject to no law except of his own making.
Contrary to what you say, Christ came to prove that, whatever our imperfections, we can always keep the perfect standard of God before our eyes. And no matter what we hardship we must endure on account of it, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Trusting in this, we may sin, but we need never elect to do evil, or elect others to do it for us.
Finally, you speak of our spiritual vocation, yet do not look at the election with the eyes of the Spirit. From that perspective, in every choice we have only one true choice, and that is for God. That is the only decision we are really making- to be for or against God, here and now in this choice we are making as citizens. Given all that we know about Romney and Obama, tell me which of them represents my choice for God, the only choice that matters? Whatever reasoning we use to prove in general our imperfection, we face in each and every choice we make a moment in which to rely upon Christ and reach for God’s perfection, or else give in to our passionate fears and fearful passions, letting sin choose for us instead of Christ. It makes no more sense to say we must elect an evil choice in this and every election than to say we must rob, lie, cheat, steal or kill in any circumstance at all. Would you say that since nobody is perfect, therefore anybody is justified in committing these transgressions? Would you say that even of people who profess to be saved by Jesus Christ? In the end these choices are all of them the same choice, and we are called in every case to fulfill the transformation of hope that Christ works within us, regardless of every consequence except our walk with Him. We may fail to heed that call, but we should never consciously choose to do so.
If it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we are called to make known, why should we cast a vote that preaches some other?
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