Scripture speaks of the final separation of the sheep and the goats, or the wheat and the tares. This is an eschatological judgment taking place when Christ returns (see eg., Matt 25:31-46). Those who are truly his will be separated from those who are not. While this event is yet to take place, there is another sense in which God is often doing this weeding today.
That is, he often allows difficult times – even persecution – to weed out all the fake believers from those who are really his. Whenever such hardcore crackdowns on the faith take place, we quickly discover just who are the real deal. Those who were never genuine disciples will quickly scatter and disown Jesus when crunch time comes.
We have seen this throughout church history, and still see it in places like China today. I believe it is also occurring in the West. The recent US elections are a part of this I believe. There we can see in political and ideological terms an ever-widening polarisation taking place.
The two camps are getting further and further apart. On the one hand are those who adhere to the Judeo-Christian worldview, and on the other are those who adhere to the secular humanist worldview. While the two main political parties do not line up exactly here, there is a rough congruence nonetheless.
Thus God, family, life and freedom are still highly valued among many Republicans, while the opposite seems to be the case with the Democrats. Indeed, more than one commentator has spoken of how the modern Democratic Party has basically taken on board Romans 1 as its platform.
By Romans 1 I mean specifically vv 18:32 of course. The list of sins – preeminent of which is homosexuality – seems to nicely describe where much of the secular left in general, and the Democratic Party in particular, is at. And part of Paul’s lengthy list of where the ungodly are at includes the “God-haters” (v. 30).
Given that the Democratic Party actually sought to vote God out of its ranks, this is most fitting. I mention all this because I believe that God is also doing a sifting job in America and elsewhere. He is separating the men from the boys – the sheep from the goats. That is, he is allowing all the evil and the anti-Christian crusades to take place to separate the real believers from the false.
And given that Jesus told us we will know where people are at based on their fruit (Matt. 7:16), we can already see the differentiation taking place. People who call themselves Christians yet wilfully and knowingly vote for the pro-death Democrats, and vote for a President who is not only pro-abortion but pro-infanticide, are already declaring their hands and letting us know where they are really at.
As more and more religious freedom is stolen away from us by the anti-Christian policies of Obama, we will see who the true believers are even further. Many will be fined, lose their jobs, and go to jail. Yet other so-called Christians will stand by and applaud this crackdown.
This of course has happened often in the past. Back here in Melbourne when two Christian pastors were found guilty of “vilifying” Muslims, there were actually some people claiming to be Christian leaders who backed the Muslims and applauded the decision!
What this is all about is really the separation of the sheep from the (fake) sheep which Ezekiel 34 speaks about. I have written about this elsewhere: billmuehlenberg.com/2010/09/09/separating-the-sheep-from-the-sheep/
This division between God’s true saints and the sham saints will keep happening. Just as the American election is showing us more and more clearly who is a real Bible-believing Christian and who is not, we will see this played out even further in days to come.
Matt Barber speaks to this in a recent column about the election results. He writes, “‘Millions of Americans looked evil in the eye and adopted it,’ wrote Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver the day after the election. ‘Abortion, same-sex marriage and immorality carried the day.’ Indeed, evil carried the day. America has willfully chosen a Democratic platform – a Romans 1 platform – upon which to stand. We have chosen a party that thrice denied God, and then returned his name in vain – amid deafening boos – to its platform. God will not be mocked.”
He continues, “I grieve for my children. I grieve for America’s children. Evil won on Tuesday. An arrogant and rebellious nation has chosen, for her leader, an arrogant and rebellious man, whose arrogant and rebellious party has, as Pastor John MacArthur put it, ‘adopted the sins of Romans 1 as their platform. This is a new day in our country,’ he lamented. ‘Parties that used to differ on economics, now differ dramatically on issues that invade the realm of God’s law and morality.’ We have mocked God. God will not be mocked.”
He concludes, “We excuse sin. We call that which God calls an abomination, ‘equality.’ We call that which God calls murder, ‘reproductive choice.’ We call that which God calls theft, ‘fundamental fairness.’ We ‘call evil good and good evil.’ America is divided and her president the divider. The scales have tipped. The 51 percent – the takers, the God-deniers and the subversive, now outnumber the makers, the seekers of righteousness and the patriotic….
“Have we reached the point of no return? Perhaps – perhaps not. God is faithful. He has promised: ‘If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.’ (2 Chronicles 7:14)
“Christ is faithful. He has promised: ‘Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.’ (Matthew 7:24-25) The rain is descending. The floods have come and the winds beat down on our great nation. I am thankful that our forefathers, wise men indeed, built America’s house upon Christ, the Rock.”
This election is part of God’s testing time, his sifting process. Peter informs us that judgment must first begin with the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). We need to get our act together and our house in order. We need to allow God to purify our ranks and expose evil in our midst. We need to get serious about our faith, in other words.
Let me finish with some commentary by James Montgomery Boice on another major wheat and weeds passage, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. He reminds us that “the devil is mixing his people in among true Christians”. Thus we “should be on our guard not to be taken in by those who pretend to be Christians but are not”.
He continues, “As Christians, we must be on guard against Satan’s tactics. . . . What has hit me like a thunderbolt in recent years is the discovery that what I had been saying about the liberal churches at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s now needs to be said about evangelical churches too….
“How has that happened? Like the liberals before us, evangelicals use the Bible’s words but give them new meaning, pouring bad secular content into spiritual terminology. Sin becomes dysfunctional behaviour. Salvation becomes self-esteem or wholeness. Jesus becomes more of an example for right living than a Savior from sin….
“Far be it from us to preach a gospel that would expose people’s sins, make them uncomfortable, and drive them to the Savior. When you put these contemporary evangelical characteristics together, it is difficult to escape the feeling that Jesus’ parable of the yeast has been fulfilled in us, and all too visibly.”
Yes quite so. I for one welcome any major shaking God may do on planet earth. And may it begin in the churches. He is, after all, seeking to present to his son a bride without blemish or spot. We have a long way to go in this regard – a very long way.