Taking the right stand for the wrong reason does not give glory to God, and it can place us in a precarious position. We live in a very vocal world that tends to elevate opinions far above their value. The current cultural controversies generate a tremendous amount of debate, and God’s Name is often invoked to prove a point. It is dangerous ground to elevate one’s opinions to the level of Scripture. Our opinions should be the same as God’s–but we don’t get to pick and choose which of His opinions we support. As Christian’s the glory of God must always be our highest priority.
When we are defending our opinions, we must take great care not to trample the prohibition of Exodus 20:7, ‘Do not take the Lord’s Name in vain.’ Taking the Lord’s name in vain is much more than uttering cuss words. The word ‘vain’ refers to the hasty, deceptive and empty use of His Name. The ‘stamping’ of an opinion with Scripture is not a new thing. God has been dragged into many unholy opinions and actions since the beginning of time. In both the spiritual and earthly courts, this is treacherous ground.
The Christian Law Association provides free legal services to Christians facing legal battles because of their faith. They stand firmly on the side of God’s righteousness in the courts of America. They also plead for Christians to know what they believe.
“…We are coming to a day when people are being put on trial for their faith. How much of the Bible are you living by? The courts are gearing up like never before to put your faith on trial. Are you ready? do you hold Biblical convictions–unmoveable decisions based on Scripture–that live by on a daily basis?”
It is an interesting paradox that the unholy climate we live in will push us to purify our faith–and bring us into greater alignment with God. It is a paradox revealed in Scripture and history: persecution purifies.
CLA explains that the American Courts demand that individuals being tried for their faith must be able to verbalize their beliefs. They must also be able to explain what they believe and not simply mouth phrases or opinions. The Courts do not accept a religious defense based on: “It seems to me…” or “I think…” because thoughts change. It also does not accept descriptive terms or pat phrases. Defendants must be able to explain what it means to believe what they say they believe. Convictions are required to be supportable by Scripture and evidenced in life.
One cannot go into an American Court and give empty words to defend a conviction.
One cannot go before God and give empty words either.
America was founded on Christian principles, but maintaining integrity to the foundation is a necessity. What is vital for our nation begins in individual lives. As Christians, the very glory of God is ours to protect. It is a high and holy privelege. Developing convictions instead of opinions will help us build lives of integrity–and may deliver our nation. Perhaps the moral decline of our nation will even deliver some from the horror of Matthew 7:21:
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”
In all things, we can give thanks to God…because giving thanks is His will for us. We are not to be troubled or dismayed as we go through this life–but we are to give God glory in all things…even American 2016.
As CLA says, “Faithful Christians might as well become accustomed to the courtroom because they are going to spend increased amounts of time there defending things that they have always taken for granted.” May we be ready for the opportunity as Paul was when taken to Rome…may God be glorified in us, not used by us.
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
For a great article on the dangers of false faith, check out this piece from John Piper, “You Can Believe the Promises of God and Still Be Lost.”