Only two United States presidents have been formally impeached by Congress: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. But no president has ever been removed from office by means of the impeachment process.
The word impeachment isn’t confined to the realm of politics. In fact, the etymology of the word expresses the idea of catching or ensnaring by the foot. It’s also a term used in civil and criminal law. “Witness impeachment,” for example, is the process of calling into question the credibility of an individual testifying in a trial.
Impeachment is just a legal statement of charges that is parallel to an indictment in criminal law. When someone is indicted, they are formally accused of or charged with a serious crime. That’s the basis of the impeachment of a president. His accusers believe that they have caught him acting without integrity.
Nowadays, the subject of politics is a volatile one. Both sides of the aisle are passionate about their convictions. But if we are able to put aside our own opinions, the impeachment of President Trump is something that you and I can use to reach out to the lost.
We can simply ask the unsaved what they think about the impeachment of President Trump. This is a relevant question because something is at stake that is far more important than the impeachment of a president: a person’s eternal salvation.
To do this effectively, we should do what Jesus did in Mark 10:17 (and what Paul did in Romans 2:21–22) and use the Ten Commandments to bring an indictment for the sinner’s crimes against God. That will demonstrate a person’s need for the mercy of the cross.
It is possible that impeachment could lead to removal from the presidential office. It is also possible that an indictment could lead to the removal of a witness from a criminal trial. But the indictment of a sinner could mean that a precious human being will be removed from life itself. That human will be given over to eternal death and justly damned by almighty God.
Think of the shame that Richard Nixon brought upon himself when he acted without integrity in the presidential office. He resigned rather than face the humiliation of a public trial and his almost-certain removal from office. Think of the shame that President Clinton brought upon himself when he, like King David, was openly exposed for his sexual sin.
But think of the absolute shame and humiliation on Judgment Day, when God exposes the evil in every unregenerate human heart. Solomon warned, “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14 KJV). Jesus reiterated similar words: “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17 KJV).
“There is nothing secret” is arguably the most frightening phrase in Scripture. Contrary to human belief, nothing is secret. Everything is seen by God: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13 KJV).
Every unsolved murder, every secret rape, every secret adultery, every sexual imagination, every thought of hatred, all hidden envy, jealousy, and pride will be exposed. All humanity has been caught by the foot. But we have a message of mercy. The gospel comes with a subpoena in one hand and a pardon in the other.
Judas Iscariot was impeached and then posthumously removed: “Let another take his office” (Acts 1:20 ESV). His indictment is laid out for us in Scripture like a tabloid headline—beginning with his covetous heart, his hypocrisy, his theft, and his heinous betrayal, which led to his humiliating shame and tragic suicide.
Most of the people in this sinful world walk in the footsteps of Judas. They will follow him who “by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place” (Acts 1:25 KJV). May we continue to pray for our leaders and always walk in the fear of God, and may we never become lukewarm about the fate of the lost.