I hope you trust me when I say that this blog has no political—or maybe I should say partisan—axe to grind. Browse through the blog posts, and you’ll see that I’m hopelessly out of step with our culture at the moment, consumed as it is with the events of November 6. From my perspective, regardless who wins, the world will look much the same on November 7 of this year, as it will on January 21 of next year, or even four years after that.
The good news is not that this or that politician got himself elected or reelected, but that King Jesus is reigning right now, and our hope for the future rests securely in his hands. In fact, in Christ’s resurrection we’ve caught a glimpse of our own future, and we know that it will be good.
Having said that, a recent political headline caught my attention, about which I can’t resist commenting. It purports to describe something that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said:
Granted, I haven’t listened to the speech (I’ve got a sermon to write!), but if newspapers and blogs are fairly reporting his actual words, then Huckabee said no such thing. Here’s the quote:
Your vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? This is Mike Huckabee asking you to join me November 6th and vote based on values that will stand the test of fire.
I may or may not agree with Huckabee’s politics (again, this is not my concern here)—though I object to his strident tone—but his point has at least some theological merit. The “test of fire” of which he speaks isn’t the fire of hell, but the refining fire of judgment, of which the apostle Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. I referred to this scripture just last Sunday (and other times recently). Huckabee’s right about the fact that we Christians will face judgment for our actions on this side of eternity. Moreover, as Paul implies there and in 1 Corinthians 15:58, what we do for God’s kingdom in the here and now will somehow be carried forward into our future resurrection.
Two quick points: This judgment that believers face, according to Paul, has nothing to do with whether or not we’ll be saved. When our works are submitted to this refining fire, Paul writes, it may all burn away. “But if anyone’s work goes up in flames, they’ll lose it. However, they themselves will be saved as if they had gone through a fire.”
By all means, let us strive to make sure this doesn’t happen. But if it does, we’re still saved, not on the basis of what we do, but what Christ has done for us. I doubt that Huckabee, a Baptist minister, disagrees with me on that.
My second point is that we will all have much to answer for on Judgment Day, whether we prefer elephants or donkeys.