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Today, I am going to take a little break from Matthew and jump to the book of James. It is only a few pages long but it is full of direction on how we must be “doers” and not just “hearers”. I think we need to take a good hard look at this little section of the Bible today.
Again, I hear many evangelicals say that actions don’t matter – all that matters is grace, and that if we confess “Jesus is our Savior” with our mouths, that is enough to get into heaven. Now let me make this very clear – we DO need to accept Jesus as our Savior. We DO need grace to get into heaven. By all means! But the point I am trying to make is that actions are also important, and that the teaching that we are to get into heaven by grace alone….without any work on our part….is incorrect.
In my search for answers, I found James to be quite enlightening. Many people focus on the gospels which are so important, but if you go further into the New Testament- into the letters of Paul, John, James, etc., it really clarifies things. This is where it clarified for me that actions do in fact matter.
“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” James 1:22
It doesn’t get any clearer than that. But let’s keep going:
“But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who ACT – they will be blessed in their doing.” James 1:25
These passages clearly refute the beliefs of some evangelicals who say that our works on this earth don’t matter, and all that matters is grace. These passages also directly apply to those evangelical preachers who turn a blind eye to Trump’s immoral behavior. They are not “doing”…they are not standing up and saying that Trump’s behavior is unacceptable.
“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.” James 2:10-11
Let’s think about that for a moment. Some of the evangelicals and even other Christians constantly speak out against abortion. But these same people are quiet about Trump. Some even give Trump a “mulligan” for his adulterous affair with Stormy Daniels. Now, read the above passage again. Clearly James is telling us that this kind of behavior is wrong. We have to call out ALL sin, not just the sin that “fits” into our little box. You can’t pick and choose.
Going on, James clearly states that faith without works is dead:
“So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” James 2:17
Then James makes a statement that should make everyone think long and hard. He states that even the demons believe that God is real….and they shudder:
“Even the demons believe – and shudder.” James 2:20
Then he goes on to reiterate that works are a part of accepting Jesus fully:
“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone…For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” James 2:24-26
Now, as we read the next verse, let’s think about the evangelical preachers who are giving Trump a “mulligan” and who teach that we don’t have to act or to follow the Ten Commandments:
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1
Kind of scary, huh?
Now think about the obvious hypocrisy that we are witnessing in some evangelicals today. Remember, they jumped all over Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, but now these same evangelicals are mysteriously quiet about Trump. Also, a recent poll showed that during the Clinton administration, the percentage of evangelicals that said that moral behavior of a President wasn’t important was in the 20s. Today, under Trump, that number is in the 70s. What happened? Is it hypocrisy, or do the rules change depending on whether you are a Republican or Democrat?
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of PARTIALITY or HYPOCRISY.” James 3:17
James is very clear. These teachings and behaviors of evangelicals who still support Trump are not in line with true Christianity. My hope is that they will read this, pray about it, and return to the only path that leads us to Jesus.
I implore preachers like Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Andrew Wommack and others to rethink what they are teaching and to call out Trump on his immoral behavior.
I will close with this:
“Anyone then who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it commits sin.” James 4:17
Have a wonderful weekend! God bless!
It’s funny how God works. He definitely works in mysterious ways.
During this past year, I have been so disturbed by what I have witnessed regarding the evangelical population and their support of Donald Trump. I have written my thoughts on both Facebook and Twitter, and some people understand what I am saying, but a lot of people don’t, and those that don’t are usually evangelicals. I moved during the holidays, so I stopped posting on these sites. However, I am still deeply troubled.
Last Sunday, I attended church, and the sermon was about the gifts that God has given to us. We were asked to consider what God has laid on our hearts to do with our lives. Immediately, writing came to mind, and I knew that God had laid this issue of the evangelicals’ support of Trump on my heart. The next day, I saw Martin Luther King’s quote: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I knew it was time to once again address this issue through my writing.
Why do evangelicals support Trump – a man who lies on average 5 times per day, doesn’t welcome the stranger (his immigration policies), doesn’t help the poor (Puerto Rico is still without power), calls people names, attacks people on Twitter constantly, is neck-deep in adulterous activity, and who doesn’t have a humble bone in his body? Why are evangelicals saying that God put Trump in office? Why do they support this man when everything he does is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus Christ?
Let’s look at this closely.
Some (not all) evangelicals are quick to point the finger at the left using the terms “snowflakes”, “libtards”, “evil”, etc. They have attacked Barack Obama every chance they get saying that he “was the worst President in history”. But when the left points out all the immoral and unethical behavior of Trump, some evangelicals are quick to defend him, saying “Do not judge lest ye be judged.”
Merriam Webster defines hypocrisy as “behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel.” The above example is clear hypocrisy. Jesus warns us about this in Matthew 23:
“Woe to you, scribes ad Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth.” Matthew 23:27
Jesus is saying that many will “look” righteous, such like some evangelicals today, but inside, nothing is there except evil. This means that someone can “say” Jesus is their Savior, but they haven’t really truly accepted Jesus in their heart. Words without action mean nothing to God. Jesus even warned us about this:
“On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.'” Matthew 7:22-23
I have heard evangelicals say that actions don’t matter. All that matters is that you say that Jesus is your Savior. This is a serious misunderstanding of scripture.
Yes, you must put your faith and trust in Jesus. However, as I already pointed out, actions do matter because your actions tell others what is truly in your heart. You can tell if someone has truly accepted Jesus by the way they act. Jesus said:
“By their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:20
This means that by a person’s actions, you will be able to tell if the person is good or evil. You will be able to tell if a person is ruled by God or by Satan.
Is this judgement? I like to describe it as discernment. Jesus is teaching us in this passage how to discern between good and evil. In another passage, Jesus tells us to “judge with right judgement”:
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.” John 7:24
We are meant to call out evil. We are meant to do our best to stay away from sin. By ignoring the immoral and unethical actions of Trump, we are ignoring Jesus’ command to “judge with right judgement”. We are ignoring Jesus’ direction to identify evil through their “fruits”. We are meant to discern between good and evil, and Jesus taught us how to do this.
Now, as for the claim that “God supports Trump” and “God put Trump in office” – let’s delve more deeply into scripture. Many evangelicals equate Trump to King David. There is one huge difference between King David and Trump. King David repented.
Now some will say that Trump has repented. This is not true. How do I know? First, look at the above verse: “By their fruits you will know them”. Trump’s “fruits” (actions) are antithetical to Jesus Christ’s teachings. Second, Trump himself has admitted that he never asks for forgiveness because he feels that he has no reason to ask for forgiveness. So, in essence, he feels like he has no sin. What does scripture say about this?
“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him (God) a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:10
So, we know for certain that Trump has not repented and he is not in the light. He is in darkness.
Can a man who hasn’t repented and is in darkness still do the work of God? Does God still support him? Let’s look at scripture:
“Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!…Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will become rotten, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 5:20, 24
“It will save you from the way of evil, from those who speak perversely, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil.” Proverbs 2:12-14
“Whoever says, ‘I have come to know him,’ but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist.” 1 John 2:4
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:11
“For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
The light of Christ and the darkness of Satan do not work together. They are separate. God does not use evil to do His will. He uses sinners who have repented by the power of grace, but he does not use those who are still in complete darkness – those who haven’t repented. In fact, those in darkness do not come to the light as Jesus tells us in the gospel of John:
“And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” John 2:19-21
In conclusion, there is a difference between judging someone and discerning between good and evil. We MUST call out evil when we see it according to Jesus’ instructions. If we turn a blind eye to the immorality and evil behavior of Trump or anyone for that matter, we will move to a society of complete immorality and lawlessness. The Bible warns us about lawlessness:
“Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness…Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” 1 John 3:4-8