I’ve wrestled with writing this for two reasons. One, I don’t want to run my mouth about politics. Social media and even blogs aren’t exactly conducive to productive and healthy conversation. Two, I don’t want to inadvertently use the Gospel to ignore some very important questions and issues. But I do believe the Gospel must be primary and foundational, or addressing those other questions and issues isn’t going to work well. I’ve also been very overwhelmed to the point of needing to return to the basics of God’s Story as of late. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’m the only one. I know the context is different, but perhaps that’s what Paul was feeling when he told the Corinthians “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
This is not a formal article or post. My primary audience for this piece is potentially narrower than normal–people who either call themselves Christians or are at least interested in a very basic Christian perspective. (Also please note that the Scripture references provided are by no means comprehensive, and I would encourage you to read them in context and with an eye to the whole of Scripture. I’m not a theologian, and I’m certainly not the Holy Spirit.)
A few days ago, I remembered that about 2,000 years ago the people who said they followed God were divided into multiple religious and political factions. (Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes; Jews, Samaritans, Romans–and I know I’m leaving lots of people out.) Whatever each group was right about or wrong about, it was serious, painful business.
Then God came and dwelt among them and lovingly blew all of their ideas to bits…
The truest things I know about Trump or Biden or Pence or Harris (listed first chronologically, then by president-vice president) are the truest things I know about the people I work with, my students, the guy sitting in the opposite pew, the irritating person standing in the middle of the aisle at Wal-Mart sharing their personal business over the phone so loud you can hear them three aisles over, my family, my friends, my neighbors, myself…
And it’s not the theology of Disney, the kind that says “Believe in yourself because the best thing about you–is just you. You are the fulfillment; you are the master of your fate. Follow your dreams and live happily ever after. You are unstoppable.” (Frozen 2 left me depressed, guys, and I’m an Enneagram 4, for the personality junkies out there.)
Anyway, back to being serious, the truest things I know about Trump, Biden, Pence, and Harris are
- They were each created by a loving God for a purpose, fearfully and wonderfully made, and they cannot hide from His Spirit (Ps. 139).
- They were originally created in His image (Gen. 1:27), but because of the Fall, the sins of their original parents, that image was marred, shattered, so that each was born into sin, reflecting the sinful image of their father, Adam (Gen. 3 and 5:3, Romans 5).
- Each of them are completely incapable of loving God or seeking Him on their own. Remnants of God’s image may present themselves (common grace, echoes of Eden), and God in His sovereign mercy works their evil (not just their quirks or weaknesses) to His glory. (Romans 6 is a quick go-to; basically anything written by Paul, but Jesus and the Old Testament Prophets speak to this as well.)
- Through Christ, each can have saving faith in Him and be washed clean from his or her sin, given a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone (Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26), and made like Christ who is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15).
- If redeemed (because I can really only speak for myself and hate assuming one way or the other with anybody), each will still battle with his or her sin nature until the Spirit has completed His work in him or her–and He will be faithful and prevail. (Romans 7 and 8)
- Here’s another thought inspired by the end of Lewis’s essay “The Weight of Glory”: If they are redeemed, and we could see them fully sanctified, we might be tempted to worship them. If not, and we could see them completely damned–how terrifying, as horrifying as a demon, if not worse for the loss of humanity and hope of Christ, an unspeakable tragedy.
It might be helpful to go back and reread each statement, substituting each individual’s name for “they/them” and similar phrases.
Donald Trump was created by a loving God for a purpose, fearfully and wonderfully made, and he cannot hide from His Spirit.
Donald Trump was originally created in His image, but because of the Fall, the sins of his original parents, that image was marred, shattered, so that he was born into sin, reflecting the sinful image of his father, Adam.
Donald Trump is completely incapable of loving God or seeking Him on his own. Remnants of God’s image may present themselves (common grace, echoes of Eden), and God in His sovereign mercy works his evil (not just his quirks or weaknesses) to His glory….
Joe Biden was created by a loving God for a purpose, fearfully and wonderfully made, and he cannot hide from His Spirit.
Joe Biden was originally created in His image, but because of the Fall, the sins of his original parents, that image was marred, shattered, so that he was born into sin, reflecting the sinful image of his father, Adam.
Joe Biden is completely incapable of loving God or seeking Him on his own. Remnants of God’s image may present themselves (common grace, echoes of Eden), and God in His sovereign mercy works his evil (not just his quirks or weaknesses) to His glory….
And we might not stop with those four souls. I know I shouldn’t at least. Maybe I’m just sharing a weakness I have that others don’t–so please don’t do anything out of a false guilt. Lord knows there’s enough of that out there, too. I just figure I’m human, and I can’t be the only one. So even if 99.9% of people who read this don’t need it, there might be one person who does–and probably not even for the reason I imagined. Then again, maybe it is just me, and like Niggle’s leaf, this will disappear one day and be forgotten. God works that way. He beats to His own drum. He’s not a tame lion. But He’s good.
from The Weight of Glory pp. 45-46
It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit– immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean we must always be solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory himself, is truly hidden.