Diary

Iowa Evangelical: What Do All Temptations Have in Common?

The united testimony of the Scriptures, which is confirmed by our own hearts, is that temptations of all types contain a falsehood: a deviation from the word of God which is presented as a more desirable alternative in the moment than to obey our Creator’s revealed will. In the garden, the first Adam heard “Did God actually say?” and, to our doom, succumbed; in the wilderness, the second Adam heard Bible verses out of context and, for our sake, withstood. Jesus then, to the outwardly-righteous but inwardly-unclean religious leaders, delivers the divine commentary on their–and our–rejection of the truth of God:

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44, ESV)

If you are known as an evangelical Christian, however you or the media define those words, you are marked by a precise and precious term which only God gets to define: the evangel, the good news that God saves undeserving sinners from his wrath, at the essential core of which is Jesus Christ being who he is and doing what he did. It is not a negotiable term, it is not a redefinable term, and it is always tied to the truth of God’s revealed promises:

In him (Christ) you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him … (Ephesians 1:13, ESV)

But “evangelical” is also a term that you do not own alone; you share it with a multitude that no man can number, from (increasingly but not yet finally) every tribe and language and people and nation, who on this Lord’s Day are once more worshiping their Savior, including many who are under far more stress than we are likely to ever know. Let us take care that we not dishonor them, and–infinitely more important–our God whose gospel we claim to own with them, by giving in to our current temptation–remember, it will always appear more desirable in the moment–to be known as supporters of a man who has publicly denied the evangel itself!

“But it’s just politics, Cinco! You know they’re all liars to some degree. Why not go with the one who’s tough enough to make America great again! Isn’t that more important–more desirable in the moment–than those other weaklings and hypocrites?”

Yes, we are frequently led by liars and fools–who reflect our own lust for the false and the foolish. Worse, we are led by some who are openly murderers–who reflect our rejection of the Lord of life. God has shown mercy repeatedly, but who can know when his justice will next be unleashed? So why not install a strong man against that day?

Because, bluntly, God will not be mocked, as Mr. Trump has blatantly and repeatedly mocked God. By simultaneously painting himself as a Christian and denying that he needs the forgiveness of God available only through faith in Jesus Christ, he has not only revealed his own lying heart, he has also made God out to be a liar:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. … If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8,10 ESV)

Iowa Evangelical, do not be so foolish as to give into the temptation to support such a man.