I know I wrote in my last blog that the next blog would be about “communion.” However I feel I need to write about something else before I address that topic.
Now that you have committed your life to God in the receiving of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to save you from your sin, it is only natural that we want to express our gratitude to God for doing for us what we needed the most, but could never accomplish ourselves. A life of thanksgiving is the appropriate response for such an “out of this world” gift as eternal life.
Thinking of the racing analogy again for a moment, and with the 2016 Olympics in Rio recently concluding, that should give us many examples of how we “pace” ourselves for the marathon called “Life,” it behooves us to know further what we should actually be doing during the “meat” of the race.
Since we are racing, we do want to give it as much as we can, but not so much that we lose all our energy & power before we cross the finish line. The Christian life has some similarities to that, and finishing the race is obviously important.
So how do we “know God,” “please God,” and “love God”? This is a process that has been called “sanctification.” It’s a process where we let God change us from the inside out into a person that will be more and more like Jesus as He’s presented in the Bible. So what we need to do is read the Bible and then apply in our own personal lives what it teaches us.
Why not start with the “hot button” social items to see how this works. I’ll touch on abortion and human sexuality.
Consider some of these Bible passages with respect to abortion: Psalm 139:13-14, “For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well.”The psalmist, inspired by Holy Spirit, puts forth the truth that God is the creator of life in the womb. Even if one thinks this is just metaphor it still presents the same truth – God begins life. Jeremiah also presents the same truth when he is inspired to write “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” (Jer. 1:5) Consider also the inspired record of when Mary, the mother of Jesus, greeted Elizabeth, her relative. The Bible says that the baby in Elizabeth’s womb “leaped” and in vs. 44 Luke, again inspired by Holy Spirit, says the baby leaped for joy. If the fetus was just a glob of tissue, the inerrant Word of God would not ascribe a human emotion to it. The witness of the Bible is clear and consistent that God is the author of life, and that life in the womb is a human being with full personhood and that life begins because God has ordained the biological process that way. So should we end innocent life in the womb through abortion if that life is to be seen as precious to God? Also remember the Commandment “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).
Even science has given us plenty of evidence that life in the womb is fully human. That evidence has been available literally for decades. But that evidence is all too often ignored. What does the ignoring of evidence say about us as a society?
So if you think about casting votes for individuals running for political office, if you are a Christian you should vote for a candidate that upholds the Biblical position for life for those in the womb. “You shall not murder” is one of the Ten Commandments, so it’s a good place to start.
Forgiveness & healing from abortion
Before leaving the topic of abortion I feel I need to add one more truth. That is that forgiveness and healing are available from God for anyone who repents and confesses their sin if they have been involved with supplying, promoting or having an abortion. God loves us and wants the best for us, but faith in God says we do things His way, not ours. So repent of your actions with respect to abortion, confess your sin involvement in abortion, and receive God’s forgiveness, and His healing cleansing. (see 1 John 1:8-10)
Let’s also consider one other “hot button” social item: human sexuality. The Bible has some things to say about this too.
The area of human sexuality that seems to be the “flashpoint” or area of greatest controversy is homosexuality.
Consider these passages of Scripture: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Lev. 18:22); “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination;” (Lev. 20:13). Also consider Romans 1:18-32, noting particularly v.26-27, as well as 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10, and Jude 7. We can see that the plain teaching of the Bible is to portray same-sex sexual relationships as something not glorifying to God, but is sinful.
Some will respond to what I have written and say that Jesus changed these things, or the New Testament church changed these understandings and they posit some thoughts to back up their position. However none of those positions stand up to scholarly scrutiny. The Rev. Dr. Robert Gagnon has an extensive web site with a great deal of free material if one wants to delve into this topic of human sexuality more deeply, and read material by one that has not only extensive Biblical knowledge, but approaches it with the mindset to see what it says, not what we would perhaps want it to say. The site is at www.robgagnon.net. You can also follow him on Facebook.
Before I conclude with how this information helps us in discerning who to vote for in an election, let me say that if someone is reading this and has struggled with or succumbed to same-sex attraction, there is hope and help. Just as there is hope and help for those involved in one or more abortions, God has made provision for helping those with same-sex attraction. 1 Cor. 6:11 reads, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Note the tense of “you were.” Those that had partaken of one or more of the activities/conditions listed v.9-10 turned from their ways and embraced God through faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, and by receiving the indwelling of Holy Spirit to further teach them right from wrong, and to begin the strengthening process to choose life and choose the right actions in increasing fashion as they live out their lives. We all need that cleansing and sanctifying work of God by His Spirit. So confess those sins, receive and embrace God’s forgiveness, and move forward in a spirit of repentance.
Now, when we come to the issue of voting, as Christians we want to vote for those who espouse Christian positions on the issues that face our community – be that our nation, our home town, and every level in between. It is not a matter of personality of the individual under consideration. Here is where you need to do your due diligence and know where the individuals stand on the issues. Is their position in agreement with what the Bible teaches, being sure not to take a Bible verse or passage out of its context? And what about prioritizing the various issues that could be in play? Are all the issues treated with equal weight, or significance? No. Again we go back to the Bible if we are Christian and see what God has to say about it.
I think it’s pretty easy to say that life is most important to God. So since the first topic above concerns life, evaluate where the respective candidates stand on the issue of life. (And here I’m referring to physical life, not quality of life.) If you find the candidates’ positions to be equal, move on to a second issue and do the same procedure. Where are the candidates most Biblical?
And when the topics are prioritized, are there some that are so important that it doesn’t matter what the candidates’ positions are on less important issues? In other words, from a Biblical standpoint does the candidate’s position on one issue disqualify them from being considered any further, regardless of their stand on other issues?
What if after you do your due diligence you are left with no clear better choice? Well then you can move to evaluating the political party to see which ones have a platform that passes your discerning eye. That could be seen as a sort of “second tier” of evaluation.
In the end, you will need to always be seeking God’s leading. Again, Paul writes in Romans 8:14 that those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons and daughters of God. So if there is no clear cut choice that agrees with the Biblical positions on the topics being evaluated, one may choose not to vote at all, or one may choose to go ahead and vote, leaning on the leading of Holy Spirit in either case. But it should be fairly clear to us after doing the research and praying if God wants us to vote this way or that way as the Bible helps us in that discernment.