Societal/moral change, from foundational bedrock truths to situational ethics and laxity, is happening on all fronts—illicit sex, drugs, murder, unwed pregnancies, infidelity, even the things one could expect to see—and not see—on television and its ads, to name but a few. These things have been around forever but they were NOT acceptable nor expected. They were considered abnormal; as a matter of fact, these things were met with shock, disappointment, and shame. How far we have fallen as a nation; are we ready—as Christians—for the fallout?
Even the expectations for our national leaders have changed. In 1974 President Nixon, after deleting 18 ½ minutes of taped conversations, resigned from office to save our nation from the embarrassment of impeachment. In 2016 Hillary Clinton deleted over 30,000 emails, has been involved with many possible scandals through the Clinton Foundation, has strong ties to our international enemies, and was still able to run—and almost win—the highest office in our land. Do we really expect God to bless America?
Speaking of presidents, our expectations in this area have devolved as well. This is what Wikipedia has to say about former President Bill Clinton. “The impeachment of Bill Clinton was initiated by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998, against Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice. These charges stemmed from Clinton's extramarital affair with former White House Intern Monica Lewinsky and his testimony about the affair during a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Paula Jones.”
I only quote the above to show the progressive decline of our national expectations/acceptances of those who are meant to lead us. There was a day when we expected the President of the United States to be stalwart and seemingly “above reproach”—men who not only believed in God but lived moral lives. Although they weren’t perfect, the public expected certain standards from them.
Throughout the years our expectations waned and shockingly much of the public would ask in regards to this former president, “Does it matter what the President does in his private life?” Foolishly, we ignored the truth that integrity matters. What is done in one’s private life most certainly affects what happens in his public life and policy.
Now, here we are in 2017. The attack is not aimed at President Trump; but rather, it is the Vice-President’s character that is under the gun. VP Pence isn’t being scrutinized for any immorality or any wrong-doing. Instead, he is being vilified for having morals and protecting his first responsibility—his marriage relationship. Remember, what one does in private affects who one is and what he does in public. Integrity matters. It’s his Christianity that is really under attack.
The accusations being hurled at the Vice-President are ludicrous, mostly because they are misrepresentations of what he said. Looking at some of the recent headlines will give us a pretty good idea of what this cautious man is being accused of:
“The religious reasons Mike Pence won’t eat alone with women don’t add up” (Washington Post)
“Mike Pence Is Why We Have To Stop Excusing Religious Sexism” (Huffington Post)
“Vice President Pence’s ‘never dine alone with a woman’ rule isn’t honorable. It’s probably illegal” (Vox)
“Mike Pence's Marriage and the Beliefs that Keep Women from Power” (The New Yorker)
These articles have some things in common. First, they find this to be an attack on women and their rights in the workplace. Second, they assume that Mr. Pence finds all women to be temptresses which he wouldn’t be able to resist if he were alone with them. Third, many make Christianity and Christian morals to look stupid. And one author even attacks the Biblical concept of complementarianism. Fourth, they seem to forget that he didn’t say he wouldn’t eat or be with women; he said he wouldn’t dine ALONE with them. These authors seem to think that eating alone or being alone is the only way for business to get done. Instead of focusing on the truth, they focus on the lies they create—lies, which at their base, attack the Vice-President’s Christianity.
This is just another account of a Christian man being vilified as he stands for his faith. As we remember bakers, florists, and fire chiefs who are attacked for their Biblical stand and conscience; as we remember grandmothers who are arrested for proclaiming truth; we recognize the reality of living in a post-Christian society/culture. As the left moves further and further from the truth (is that even possible), Christians and their principles will be understood less and less while being attacked more—and more viciously. Are we prepared to show the same grace to those who come against us as God showed to us “while we were yet sinners?”
Whether a “powerful” vice-president or a humble grandmother, the attacks are coming and will continue to come at all who will “live godly” (II Tim. 3:12). The devil and the left will make sure of that.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has warned in the past and continues his warning today, “You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows; a wind is picking up that is hostile to those with traditional moral beliefs.” Christiantoday.com quotes Justice Alito’s warning and exhortation, “We are likely to see pitched battles in courts and Congress, state legislatures and town halls. But the most important fight is for the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. It is up to all of us to evangelize our fellow Americans about the issue of religious freedom.” I would add, and true religious freedom is standing in Christ alone, trusting only in His atoning work upon the cross, regardless of outward circumstances. We must be prepared to show the truth of love, in love.
Whether we ever see the depths of persecution described in Hebrews 11 and other places around the world, we can be sure that God will keep His promises to us. Promises like, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5) and God’s promise that nothing at all shall separate you from the love of God (Rom. 8), these promises, which are eternally bound to God’s character, will be our comfort and our encouragement as we go through every trial.
As puritan John Owens explains, “In every promise there are three things to be considered: the faithfulness of the Father, who gives the promise; the grace of the Son, who is the content of the promise; and the power and efficacy of the Holy Spirit, who puts the promise into execution. The faithfulness of God accompanies the promise (I Cor. 10:13). Though we are tempted, it shall not grow too strong for us. That which comes upon us we shall be able to bear, and that which would be too hard for us, we shall escape. What security do we have for this? The faithfulness of God (Heb. 10:23).His faithfulness consists in the discharge of his promises.”
Although the days seem dark we still have a duty to stand for truth and walk faithfully with our Savior. With our eyes set on Christ and our faces steeled against the ever increasing winds of adversity, let us be strengthened through prayer and devotion. With every breath let us praise, with every step let us obey, and with every action let us glorify God. May our earnest expectation be that Jesus is magnified whether in life or in death, that others may be drawn to Him.
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