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Little ThingsMany people struggle with their faith at different times in their lives. Some of the most committed and godly leaders have struggled with doubts, just like everyone else. The very essence of faith is to believe in that which we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). As physical beings, we tend to put faith in what we experience with our senses. Spiritual realities are not tangible and must be experienced outside our senses. So, when that which is tangible and visible seems overwhelming, doubts can shroud that which is invisible.

The first aspect to consider is the object of faith. The word faith has become popular in recent years, but the popular meaning is not necessarily the same as the biblical meaning. The term has become synonymous with any religious or irreligious adherence, regardless of whether there is foundational truth upon which to base such adherence. In other words, someone could claim “faith” in dandelions for spiritual healing, and that claim would be considered equally viable to the Christians’ claim that the Bible is God’s inspired Word. So, when struggling with “faith,” it is vital to define the object and reasonableness of that faith. All faith claims are not equal. Before we can be secure in our faith, we must answer the question: my faith is in what?

Many hold to the idea of having faith in faith. Faith itself is seen as the object, rather than God Himself. The biblical purpose for faith is to bring us into the presence of God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” We can only find Him when we come to Him through faith in His Son (John 14:6). Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” God does not bless half-hearted attempts to know Him. He desires that we pursue Him with passion, the same way He pursues us (1 John 4:19).

However, God understands our inability to exercise the faith we need at times. In Mark 9:24, a man admitted to Jesus that he wanted help with His unbelief. Jesus did not rebuke the man, but healed the man’s child anyway. He honored the man’s desire to grow in faith and was pleased that He, Jesus, was the object of that faith. So, if we have the desire to believe what the Bible teaches, then we have the right foundation for continuing to fight for faith. God has given us countless evidences of His existence and character (Psalm 19:1; Luke 19:38–40). Jesus fulfilled all prophecies necessary to validate His claim to be the Son of God (Matthew 2:15–17; 13:25; 27:35; John 12:38). The Bible has been proven true over and over again for thousands of years. We have all the evidence we need, but God leaves the believing up to us.

It can be encouraging to remember that, when we struggle with faith, we are in good company. Elijah the prophet experienced such a struggle. One of the greatest prophets of all time had just called down fire from heaven, killed over 400 false prophets, and outrun King Ahab’s chariot—a feat that would have been the envy of any Olympic gold-medalist (1 Kings 18:36–38, 46). Yet the next chapter finds Elijah hiding in a cave, depressed and asking for death (1 Kings 19:3–5). After all those miracles, he gave in to fear and doubt because a wicked woman hated him (1 Kings 19:2). During times of stress and exhaustion, we can easily forget all that God has done for us.

John the Baptist was another who struggled with faith when at the lowest point in his life. Jesus had called John “the greatest in the kingdom of God” (Matthew 11:11). John had been selected by God before birth to be forerunner of the Messiah (Luke 1:11–17, 76). He was faithful to that calling all of his life (Mark 1:4–8). Yet even John, after being imprisoned and sentenced to die, struggled with doubts about Jesus’ identity (Luke 7:20). He sent messengers to ask Jesus if He was truly the One sent from God. Jesus did not rebuke John in his weakness but instead sent him a message that only a student of the Scriptures as John was would recognize (Luke 7:22). He quoted from Isaiah 61 and reminded John that He alone had fulfilled that Messianic prophecy.

We learn from these heroes of faith that God is patient with us when we desire to believe (Psalm 86:15; 147:11). When we experience times of doubt, we must immerse ourselves in truth. We can bolster a sagging faith by reading scriptural accounts of God’s miraculous interventions, listening to encouraging sermons, and reading books that appeal to our reason by authors such as C. S. Lewis or Lee Strobel. Podcasts by apologists such as Ravi Zacharias or Dr. John Lennox can also add fuel to the fire of our faith.

But the greatest power to overcome doubt comes from the Holy Spirit Himself, who “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). We can cry out as the man cried to Jesus, “I believe. Lord, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). And we can expect Him to answer.

We know what we are.The apostle Paul exhorts Christians to “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). What we see here is a contrast between truth and perception—what we know and believe to be true and what we perceive to be true. This is where the Christian struggle with a lack of faith finds its basis. The main reason why so many Christians struggle with a lack of faith is that we follow our perceptions of what is true rather than what we know to be true by faith.

Perhaps before going any further it may be helpful to come up with a working definition of faith. Faith, contrary to popular opinion, is not “belief without proof.” This is the definition that many skeptics give for faith. This definition reduces faith to mere fideism—i.e., “I believe despite what the evidence tells me.” Skeptics are right to reject this concept of faith, and Christians should reject it, too. Faith is not belief without proof or belief despite the evidence; rather, faith is a complete trust or confidence in someone or something. That trust or confidence we have in someone is built up over time as he proves himself faithful time and time again.

Christianity is a faith-based religion. It is based on faith in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ. God has provided us with His Word, the Holy Bible, as a testimony of His faithfulness to His people all throughout history. In its bare essentials, Christianity is faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ claimed to be the promised Messiah and the Son of God. His life was one of perfect righteousness according to the revealed Law of God, His death was an atoning sacrifice for the sins of His people, and He was raised to life three days after His death. When we place our faith and trust in Christ alone for our salvation, God takes our sin and places it on the cross of Christ and awards us, by grace, with the perfect righteousness of Christ. That, in a nutshell, is the Christian message. As Christians, we are called to believe this message and live in light of it.

Despite this, Christians still struggle with believing the biblical account because it doesn’t match up with our perception of reality. We may believe that Jesus was a real person, we may believe that He died by crucifixion at the hand of the Romans, we may even believe that He led a perfect life according to God’s Law, but we don’t “see” how faith in Christ makes us righteous before God. We can’t “see” Jesus atoning for our sins. We can’t “see” or “perceive” any of the great truths of Christianity, and, therefore, we struggle with lack of faith. As a result of this lack of perception, our lives often do not reflect the fact that we really believe what we claim to believe.

There are many reasons for this phenomenon among Christians. The main reason we struggle with faith is that we don’t truly know the God in whom we profess to have faith. In our daily lives, we don’t trust complete strangers. The more intimately we know someone and the more time we have had to see him “in action,” the more likely we are to believe what he says. But, if God is essentially a stranger to us, we are less likely to believe what He has said in His Word. The only cure for this is to spend more time in God’s Word getting to know Him.

The world, the flesh, and the devil often distract us. By “the world” is meant the accepted “wisdom” of the unbelieving world and the culture in which we find ourselves. For those of us living in Europe and North America, that dominant worldview is naturalism, materialism, skepticism, and atheism. “The flesh,” refers to our sinful nature that still clings to Christians and with which we struggle on a daily basis. “The devil” refers to Satan and his horde of evil spirits who excite and entice us through the world and our senses. These things all afflict us and cause us to struggle with faith.

That is why Christians need to be constantly reminded of what Christ has done for us and what our response should be. The apostle Paul says, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Our faith is built up as we have the gospel continually preached to us. Our churches need to be built on the solid preaching of the Word and the regular observance of the ordinances. Instead, too many churches spend their time, energy, and resources on the creation of “programs” that neither feed the sheep nor draw a clear distinction between godliness and ungodliness.

Consider the example of the Israelites in the Old Testament. God had performed great miracles in rescuing His chosen people from slavery in Egypt—the Ten Plagues, the pillar of smoke and fire, and the crossing of the Red Sea. God brings His people to the foot of Mount Sinai, gives them the Law and makes a covenant with them. No sooner does He do this than the people begin to grumble and lose faith. With Moses gone up on the mountain, the people convince Aaron, Moses’ brother, to construct an idol (against God’s clear prohibition) for them to worship (Exodus 32:1–6). They were no longer walking by faith, but by sight. Despite all the clear miracles God did in their redemption, they lost faith and began to go on their perception.

That is why God instructed the new generation of Israelites before going into the Promised Land to continually remind themselves of what God had done for them: “And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:6–7). God knows that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38), and so He commands His people to be in constant remembrance of these things.

In conclusion, we need to heed the example of the disciple Thomas. When Thomas heard the stories of the resurrection, he wouldn’t believe them until he saw Jesus with his own two eyes. Jesus accommodated Thomas’ lack of faith by making an appearance to him and allowing him to see and touch Him. Thomas responds in worship, and Jesus says to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Many skeptics today echo Thomas’ sentiment: “Unless I see Jesus face to face, I will not believe!” We must not behave as the unbelievers do. We need to continually keep in mind Paul’s exhortation to walk by faith rather than sight. We learn in the book of Hebrews that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) because faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it, not responding to our perceptions.

Keep your faithLordship Salvation emphasizes that submitting to Christ as Lord over your life goes hand-in-hand with trusting in Christ to be saved. It also focuses on a changed life as the result of salvation. Those who believe in Lordship Salvation would have serious doubts about a person who claims to believe in Christ but does not have good works evident in his life. The Bible does teach that faith in Christ will result in a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22-23; James 2:14-26).

However, depending on the person and his circumstances, spiritual growth sometimes occurs quickly, and other times it takes a long time for changes to become evident, and even then the changes may not be evident to everyone. The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is by faith alone, apart from works (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). The Bible also declares that a life changes after salvation (Ephesians 2:10). So it is a difficult balance to make. We do know, however, that we are not to judge another as to the state of his/her eternal soul (Matthew 7:1). Only God knows who are His sheep and He will mature each of us according to His perfect time table.

So, is Lordship Salvation biblical? Again, it cannot be denied that faith in Christ produces a change (2 Corinthians 5:17). A person who has been delivered from sin by faith in Christ should not desire to remain in a life of sin (Romans 6:2). At the same time, submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is an issue of spiritual growth, not salvation. The Christian life is a process of submitting to God in increasing measure (2 Peter 1:5-8). A person does not have to submit to God in every area of his or her life in order to be saved. A person simply has to recognize that he or she is a sinner, in need of Jesus Christ for salvation, and place trust in Him (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10). Christians absolutely should submit to Him (James 4:7). A changed life and submission to Christ’s lordship are the result of salvation, not a requirement for salvation.

Sovereign grace combines two of God’s attributes, His sovereignty and His graciousness. Both of these characteristics of God are so vast that many volumes have been written about each. Briefly though, sovereign grace is the melding of the two into a thrilling truth that gives us a glimpse into the mind and heart of our great God. The sovereignty of God means that He has total control of all things past, present and future. Nothing happens that is out of His knowledge and control. All things are either caused by Him or allowed by Him for His own purposes and through His perfect will and timing (Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the only absolute and omnipotent ruler of the universe and is sovereign in creation, providence and redemption.

The grace of God is His unmerited favor toward those who have not earned it. There are numerous examples of God’s grace in the Bible, both to His people and those who rejected Him. Mary found grace in the eyes of the Lord who bestowed upon her the privilege of bearing the Savior of mankind (Luke 1:28). She may have been a godly young woman, but nothing she could have done would have made her worthy of such a blessing. She was the recipient of God’s grace. The Apostle Paul admitted that he was a servant of God by His grace and it was by that grace that he labored effectively for the cause of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:10). As Christians we, too, benefit from God’s grace. “For by grace are you saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). Our very salvation and position in Christ is due to His grace through the faith that He gives us (Hebrews 12:2). Even those who hate God receive His grace in every breath He allows them to take and through His common grace to all creation: “For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Even the atheist enjoys the effects of God’s grace through His beautiful creation and His provision of the resources necessary for food, clothing and housing. God doesn’t owe these things to us, but He provides them to exhibit His grace.

The sovereign grace of God is noted most often by theologians in the matter of election. We see it best explained in Ephesians 1:5-6: “he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” God sovereignly chose those He would save through His gracious act of sending His Son to die on the cross for their salvation. They were unable to save themselves or—like Mary—to merit God’s favor because of their transgression of His Law. “But the Law entered so that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). Therefore, Christians are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

God in His sovereign grace has chosen to save those on whom He has set His love (Romans 9:8-13). They are picked out of the stream of helpless men and women cascading into hell. That is a humbling truth and should result in immense gratitude on our part. Why did God bestow His sovereign grace on believers? Not because we deserve salvation but to demonstrate “the riches of His glory” (Romans 9:14-23). Therefore, our only proper response is “blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

God wants custodyDeliverance is defined as “a rescue from bondage or danger.” Deliverance in the Bible is the acts of God whereby He rescues His people from peril. In the Old Testament, deliverance is focused primarily on God’s removal of those who are in the midst of trouble or danger. He rescues His people from their enemies (1 Samuel 17:37; 2 Kings 20:6), and from the hand of the wicked (Psalm 7:2; 17:13; 18:16-19; 59:2). He preserves them from famine (Psalm 33:19), death (Psalm 22:19-21), and the grave (Psalm 56:13; 86:13; Hosea 13:14). The most striking example of deliverance is the exodus from Egypt (Exodus 3:8; 6:6; 8:10). Here is God defined as the Deliverer of Israel who rescues His people, not because they deserve to be rescued, but as an expression of His mercy and love (Psalm 51:1; 71:2; 86:13).

In the New Testament, God is always the subject—and His people are always the object—of deliverance. The descriptions of temporal deliverance in the Old Testament serve as symbolic representations of the spiritual deliverance from sin which is available only through Christ. He offers deliverance from mankind’s greatest peril—sin, evil, death and judgment. By God’s power, believers are delivered from this present evil age (Galatians 1:4) and from the power of Satan’s reign (Colossians 1:13). All aspects of deliverance are available only through the person and work of Jesus Christ, who was Himself delivered up for us (Romans 4:25) so that we would be delivered from eternal punishment for sin. Only Jesus rescues us from the “wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Another aspect of deliverance concerns the temporal. While believers are delivered once for all time from eternal punishment, we are also delivered from the trials of this life (2 Peter 2:9). Sometimes that deliverance is God simply walking through the trials by our side, comforting and encouraging us through them as He uses them to mature us in the faith. Paul assured the Corinthian believers that “no temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). In these cases, rescue is not immediate, but in due time, after patience has had its perfect work (James 1:2-4, 12). God makes the way of escape simultaneously with the temptation which, in His perfect will and timing, He permissively arranges or allows for His people.

Deliverance is often sought from evil spirits or the spirit of lust, jealousy, etc. It’s important to understand that, as believers, we already have eternal victory over Satan and demons. But we can be delivered from their influence in our lives by using two weapons God has given us as part of our spiritual armor with which we battle “against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12-17). The believer defends himself with the shield of faith and uses the offensive weapon of the Word of God. Against these two, no spirit can prevail. By holding up the shield of faith, we extinguish the flaming spiritual arrows they send against us, arrows of lust, doubt, guilt, jealousy, evil speech, and all manner of temptations. With the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, we overcome the evil one by proving his temptations to be lies because he is the father of lies (John 8:44). John’s second letter commends the young Christians whose spiritual strength came from the Word of God living in them. By the offensive weapon of the Truth, we overcome the evil one (1 John 2:14).

Deliverance from sin, rescue from trials, and escape from the influence of a world in the control of the evil one come only through Christ, the Son of God who has come and “has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:19-20).

Salvation is through Faith in Christ Jesus

Salvation is through Faith in Christ Jesus

The word gift is an important one in the Bible, and it is good that we understand its definition and implications.

In the New Testament, there are several Greek words translated “gift.” Some of these words are used in contexts other than God’s gift of salvation, such as the reciprocal gift-giving of celebrants (Revelation 11:10), the things received from fathers (Matthew 7:11), offerings to a ministry (Philippians 4:17), and the gifts of the magi (Matthew 2:11).

However, when it comes to the matter of our salvation, the New Testament writers use different Greek words—words that emphasize the gracious and absolutely free quality of the gift. Here are the two words most commonly used for the gift of salvation:

1) Dorea, meaning “a free gift.” This word lays particular stress on the gratuitous nature of the gift—it is something given above and beyond what is expected or deserved. Every New Testament occurrence of this word is related to a spiritual gift from God. It is what Jesus offers to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:10). It is called the “free gift” in Romans 5:15. It is the “unspeakable [or indescribable] gift” in 2 Corinthians 9:15. This gracious gift is identified as the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38; 8:30; and 11:17.

The adverb form of this word is dorean, translated “freely” in Matthew 10:8; 2 Corinthians 11:7; Revelation 21:6; 22:17. In Romans 3:24, immediately following God’s pronouncement of our guilt, we have this use of dorean: “Being justified FREELY by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” The gift of salvation is free, and the motive for the gift is nothing more than the grace of the Giver.

2) Charisma, meaning “a gift of grace.” This word is used to define salvation in Romans 5:15-16. Also, in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT [charisma] of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” This same word is used in conjunction with the gifts of the Spirit received after salvation (Romans 12:6; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Peter 4:10).

Obviously, if something is a “gift of grace,” it cannot be earned. To work for something is to deserve it, and that would produce an obligation—a gift of debt, as it were. That is why works destroy grace (Romans 4:1-5; 11:5-6).

When presenting salvation, the New Testament writers carefully chose words that emphasize grace and freedom. As a result, the Bible could not be more clear—salvation is absolutely free, the true gift of God in Christ, and our only responsibility is to receive the gift by faith (John 1:12; 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Jesus: The Key to Life"

Jesus: “The Key to Life”

Salvation is deliverance from danger or suffering. To save is to deliver or protect. The word carries the idea of victory, health, or preservation. Sometimes, the Bible uses the words saved or salvation to refer to temporal, physical deliverance, such as Paul’s deliverance from prison (Philippians 1:19).

More often, the word “salvation” concerns an eternal, spiritual deliverance. When Paul told the Philippian jailer what he must do to be saved, he was referring to the jailer’s eternal destiny (Acts 16:30-31). Jesus equated being saved with entering the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24-25).

What are we saved from? In the Christian doctrine of salvation, we are saved from “wrath,” that is, from God’s judgment of sin (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9). Our sin has separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Biblical salvation refers to our deliverance from the consequence of sin and therefore involves the removal of sin.

Who does the saving? Only God can remove sin and deliver us from sin’s penalty (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5).

How does God save? In the Christian doctrine of salvation, God has rescued us through Christ (John 3:17). Specifically, it was Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection that achieved our salvation (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 1:7). Scripture is clear that salvation is the gracious, undeserved gift of God (Ephesians 2:5, 8) and is only available through faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

How do we receive salvation? We are saved by faith. First, we must hear the gospel—the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Ephesians 1:13). Then, we must believe—fully trust the Lord Jesus (Romans 1:16). This involves repentance, a changing of mind about sin and Christ (Acts 3:19), and calling on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:9-10, 13).

A definition of the Christian doctrine of salvation would be “The deliverance, by the grace of God, from eternal punishment for sin which is granted to those who accept by faith God’s conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus.” Salvation is available in Jesus alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) and is dependent on God alone for provision, assurance, and security.

altruistico:

I think this is well worthy of viewing. It speaks loudly of Christianity and Christianity’s playing with liberalism. It casts great influence upon how “we, as Christians, are sheltering Liberal World View.” VOTE the Bible come November 4th folks or finish the eradication of our rights.

Originally posted on partneringwitheagles:

Affleck and Maher Lock Devil Horns Over Islam

on October 18, 2014

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  Christians should definitely support the nation of Israel. We must remember that Israel, the nation, is very special to God. We read in Deuteronomy 7:6-8 these words: “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”

God’s eternal purpose is to bless the world through Israel. Already He has done so in measure, for “salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22), but the fullness of future blessing is indicated in the wondrous promise of Isaiah 27:6: “In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.”

The declaration that “salvation is from the Jews” suggests our immeasurable debt to Israel. All that we have worth having has come to us through the Jews. Our Bible is a Jewish Book, and our Savior is a Jewish Savior. Let us never forget to pray for God’s chosen people. It is true that Israel, today, is in the place of rejection. The nation is a secular, unbelieving (as to the claims of Scripture and their Messiah, Jesus Christ) nation; but “…at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5). Some Jews are being saved and are becoming members of the body of Christ through faith in their Messiah.

Jews are, biblically speaking, the “chosen people of God” and dearly loved by Him. Another reason for Christians to support the nation of Israel is because of the Abrahamic Covenant. We read of God’s promise in Genesis 12:2-3, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (see also Genesis 27:29; Numbers 24:9).

One of the United States’ most worthwhile accomplishments has been its consistent regard for the plight of the Jewish nation. No nation in the history of the world has a better record of treating individual Jews with respect than does America. The same can be said for our befriending Israel as a nation. America has committed many sins for which we may well deserve judgment, but as a nation, we have been a consistent friend of the Jews and the nation of Israel, as well as a benefactor. In 1948, President Harry Truman helped persuade the United Nations to recognize Israel as a nation. Since then, the United States has contributed billions of dollars in aid to Israel.

From the biblical declarations of God’s love and care for His chosen people, the nation of Israel, and from the history of nations being destroyed because of their evil dealings with God’s chosen people, the Jews, Christian believers should give support to the chosen people of God. This is not to say that we support necessarily the methods they use in their relationships with the Arab nations. The Bible warned that conflict would always characterize the relations between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael. Sadly, this conflict will continue until Jesus comes back to judge the nations and sets up His 1,000-year reign of peace on earth. We must look at the “big picture” with a biblical worldview. While we do not have to support everything Israel does as a nation, we most definitely should support Israel’s right to exist. God will fulfill His promises and covenants with Israel. God still has a plan for Israel. Woe to anyone who seeks to defeat that plan; “whoever curses you I will curse” (Genesis 12:3).

Should a Christian run for political office?

Whether or not Christians should run for political office is one of those “hot-button” issues that provoke strong responses on both sides of the question. There are no direct references in the Bible to Christians running for political office. But there are Christian principles we can bring to bear on the decision whether or not to seek political office. Anyone considering running for office would do well to consider these principles and prayerfully seek God’s will for his/her own life.

There is no doubt that countries where political officials are elected by the citizens are countries that promote freedom. Christians in many countries in this world are oppressed and persecuted, suffering under governments they are powerless to change and governments that hate their faith and silence their voices. These believers preach the gospel of Jesus Christ at risk of their own lives. In the U.S.A., Christians have been blessed with the right to speak about and choose their leaders without fearing for themselves or their families.

The leaders we elect have great influence on our freedoms. They can choose to protect our right to worship and spread the gospel, or they can restrict those rights. They can lead our nation toward righteousness or toward moral disaster. Clearly, the more committed Christians that are part of government—whether at the local, state, or federal level—the more our religious freedoms will be guarded. Christians in politics can effect desperately needed changes in the culture. A prime example is William Wilberforce, a 19th-century English politician who campaigned for decades to end the abominable slave trade that flourished at that time. His campaign was eventually successful, and he is lauded today for his courage and commitment to Christian principles.

At the same time, there is an old saying: “politics is a dirty business.” Politicians, even those with the best of motives, are in danger of being corrupted by a system that deals in power. Those in political office, especially at the federal level, are courted by those who hope to gain favor in an effort to advance their own agendas. Wherever money and power are concentrated, greed and covetousness are always nearby. There is great danger for Christians who are involved in worldly political systems, and great care must be taken to be in that world, but not of it. Perhaps nowhere in life is it more true that “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33) than in the seats of political power.

Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). The kingdom of Christ is not connected with earthly political systems or national governments, all of which are in rebellion against God. The world Christians are to be concerned with is the spiritual realm, not the temporal. There is nothing wrong with Christians being involved in politics, as long as they remember that we are to be ambassadors for Christ on earth. That is our primary job description, and our goal is to appeal to others to be reconciled to God through Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:20).

So should a Christian run for political office? For some Christians, the answer is a definite no; for others, a definite yes. This is a personal decision that requires prayer and the wisdom only God can provide and which He promises to grant to those who truly seek it (James 1:5). Christian politicians must remember that their duty to the Lord must take precedence over the duties of their office. Paul tells us that whatever we do, we are to do it for the glory of the Lord, not our own (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17). If a Christian does seek office, it should only be if he/she can faithfully execute the duties of that office to the glory of God and without compromising Christian principles.