Can Righteousness Be Legislated?


As I observe how far right evangelical Christians react or respond to President Trump I became troubled in my spirit. I’m concerned that people are being turned away from Christ and the Christian faith because of the unacceptable behavior and rhetoric often displayed by the President and evangelicals.  Although I believe that God is using the President for His purposes that does not excuse the church (people) from fulfilling the great commission.

White evangelicals voted for Mr. Trump by a larger margin than they had voted for any presidential candidate. Mr. Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants, his open hostility to N.F.L. players protesting police brutality calling them SOBs, and his response to the violent Charlottesville protests that ended in the death of a young woman and injuring others was unsettling.

I understand that the 2016 election was driven by the the concern for pending Supreme Court nominations; the use of taxpayers money for abortion, and the need for enhanced border security and immigration laws. I’m concerned about those things as well. I’m also concerned about the overall church (people, we are the church) and it’s lack of impact on our society and culture.

Righteousness is the key theme in the Book of Romans. Romans 1:16 says, “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

As the President, Congress and the Supreme Court enact more legislation it will not bring people closer to the truth about righteous living even if we change the laws of this country to fit the Bible. Righteous living is a personal choice lived out daily by faith in God. The law is limited in its capacity for sustaining righteous and justice in society, if at all. Jesus died to fulfill the law because man was unable to in the flesh. Righteous laws do not make righteous people. Even Christian leaders and congregants struggle to obey the Word of God. The Bible says man’s righteousness acts are like a filthy rag (Isa. 64.6).

What I see more often than not is criticism of others who do not believe or agree with Christian or Biblical beliefs. Criticism will never draw people towards the light of the gospel. Only love can do that!

I’m grieve when I see evangelical Christians choosing political sides and criticizing the other side or at times cursing or calling them the devil as though they were not created in the image of God. God is neither Democrat nor Republican. Regardless of political affiliation, Christians are admonished to do everything in decency and order, and in spirit of love (1 Cor. 16:14).

To some, the evangelical church comes across as an elite social club for conservative evangelicals. Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others. The church cannot continue to tear one another down or bite and devour one another believing that God is pleased with this type of behavior (Gal. 5:15).

Jesus instructs His disciples to cultivate a temperament that is never critical. This will not happen quickly, but must be developed over a period of time. You must constantly beware of anything that causes you to think of yourself as a more superior than others (Rom. 12:3).

Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Romans 12:3, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

Matthew 23:23-24, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”

James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

There is a right way to get a point across without being critical or judgmental, or throwing  stones at one another instead of loving and forgiving one another (Jn 8:1-11). When we bite and devour one another God is never pleased. We end up destroying each other (Gal. 5:15). If walk by the Spirit, you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. The battle is not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12).

Matthew 7:2-5 reads, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” We become hypocrites when we profess to love Christ, but cannot love one another.

Everyone will have different views based on their beliefs. Nevertheless, we are called to love one another. Love opens the path to righteousness. We are to win the lost, not push them away because of our different beliefs. I learned years ago that at times I have to be the bigger person in an effort to represent God to others.

The difference with Dr. Martin L. King leading the Civil Rights Movement is that he recognized that love would be key to nonviolence. He believed in a “divine loving presence that binds all life.”

Righteousness exalts a nation! Sin is a disgrace! (Prov. 14:34) This applies to all nations. God would have it no other way.


Dr. Francine

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