Christian, You Will Still Be Saved After the Election

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Have you noticed the air of panic that surrounds Christians these days? Everyone is handling it in their own way. Some are rallying around a questionable man with a checkered past and calling on him to return the country to what it was. They truly believe he is the guy to save us. Others are wringing their hands in despair and declare that they aren’t going to vote. Some say they will vote but they won’t like it. Theirs will be a vote against rather than for because they know what is coming with the opposition and want no part of it.

Whatever our stance is in this upcoming election, it is easy to slide into a state of panic at the state of affairs in America. The tide has turned against Christians and we are desperately trying to turn it back.

But what if it never turns back? Will we be okay?

I had to think through this a bit.

Christianity in our American culture has been a remarkable aberration from historical Christianity and also from current Christianity across the world. There have been few times that Christians and Christian thought were so well-received than in 20th-century America. We have grown used to the praises of men and the comfort of a nation that abides by Christian principles. That is all changing very quickly now and it is filling many of us with fear. And I believe that Satan wants us in a state of fear and panic for this renders us useless and ineffective for the cause of Christ. So perhaps we should look at what we are so afraid of? I can think of a few things. See if you relate.

First, we are afraid of losing the approval of man. This affects so many of us right where we are–ridicule from family, friends, and co-workers is hard to face. We want to be courageous but we feel so weak. In fact the derision of man is so powerful that many who call themselves Christians are either not standing for the truth of God’s Word or they have suddenly “changed their mind” about what they believe to be truth so that it matches the world’s (or mainstream church’s).

Second, we are afraid of losing our conveniences and comforts. If we read about other countries steeped in socialism, we are well aware of what it means for our future. Doctors we could make timely appointments with suddenly become impossible to see. Store shelves that were once full are empty. We know that socialism brings with it many troubles.

Third, we are afraid of persecution. Even today, laws are going into effect that make standing for God’s Word equal to a hate crime. This is frightening, isn’t it? It could mean arrests, large fines, and even prison for those who align themselves with the Word of God. This is scary stuff.

So we do have a reason to be frightened. However, given the past Christian nature of the American culture, I wonder if we haven’t become too hopeful in a candidate to save us. As if somehow a man will be able to turn back the clock and bring us the old America back.

Personally, I don’t believe it will happen. But we serve a great God who is all-powerful and I could be wrong. No matter what the future holds for this country, my concern is that we Christians are putting our faith and trust in a man instead of God. That we are looking for a man to save us instead of God.

Dear Christian, we will still be praising God for our salvation after this election. We will still have our hope fully intact after November 2016 because our hope is not in a human being but rests in the Lord. Everything is going according to God’s perfect timing and we need not fear. May God give us an eternal perspective so that we do not succumb to a spirit of panic but instead are filled with peace and joy as we rest in His plan for this country.

I Peter 1:3-9 reminds us of our living hope–

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

So follow your convictions in this upcoming election. Do what you believe the Lord wants you to do. But be careful not to place your hope in any man. For it is only God who saves and if He has saved you then you will never be lost, no matter what happens to this country.

 

Is Donald Trump Really Saved?

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There is a report going around the internet that Donald Trump has recently been genuinely saved. I know many Christians who are super excited about this. I know more who are cautiously hopeful. And then there are those who are downright skeptical.

I probably tend towards the skeptical, although I admit that I am also a bit hopeful. It would be  wonderful for a worldly, ungodly man who is so well-known to be transformed by Christ. With such a large platform, he would have incredible opportunities to share the Gospel and attest to the power of God in the life of a sinner that turns to Him for salvation. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

But before we get too excited, let’s talk about who Donald Trump has been. Here are a few quick facts from Trump’s life “before Christ”—

→He has been married three times. He cheated on his first wife with his second wife. His current (third) wife is a Slovenian model who poses nude (read more here and here).

→Trump has been responsible for building and establishing several casinos, several of which he named after himself. He no longer owns any of them due to financial difficulties, the most recent being sold to Icahn Enterprises in February of this year. He experienced several bankruptcies connected to these casinos (read more here).

→He has regularly made crude and unseemly jokes about his private parts (read more here or just watch one of the debates).

→According to this article, Donald Trump is a chronic liar and told an average of one lie every five minutes during the debates.

→One of the things this man is know for best is his very direct and often cruel comments directed towards others. Here is an article that features 19 of his meanest tweets, but, honestly, just hearing some of his comments during the debates also gives us evidence of this.

This is what I was able to find within a matter of minutes by doing a quick search. There is no dearth of information about this charismatic and outspoken man and he has given the gossip magazines lots to write about over the past twenty or more years.

(Quick note here: Since a few people have been upset with me for focusing on Trump’s past, let me assure you I do this only to demonstrate how his changed life will show such a marked and vast contrast to his former life, if he truly has repented and turned from his sin. It is not to berate or criticize him but, instead, to draw our attention to the wonder-working power of the blood of Jesus, should Trump’s faith be genuine. Let’s face it– we are all sinners. Most of us just don’t have the whole world watching and talking about it!)

Of course, most of us don’t change instantly when we come to Christ. It would very nice if we did, but we don’t. However there are some things we can look for in the life of Donald Trump over the course of the next few months and years to confirm if this report is true or not. In fact, we should look for these signs in any new believer, not just a famous one—

Transformation (2 Corinthians 5:17) –There will be a change in the desires of the heart and outward actions and behavior. It may be instant or it may be slow and steady–but it will occur.

Sensitivity to Sin (Romans 6:1-2)–While the new believer does still sin (as all believers do), they recognize that it is wrong and will be convicted by the Holy Spirit.

Desire to Follow the Commands of Jesus (I John 3:24; John 15:9-10)–A baby believer, once focused only on selfish goals and lusts, now has a passion and desire to obey Christ and His commands.

They Will Not Be Popular With Everyone (John 15:18-19)–Jesus makes it pretty clear that true believers will not be favorites of the world and its godless agenda. Decisions to stop partying, to be honest in business, to keep ourselves pure, etc. can really irritate old friends and unsaved family, who desires the new believer to continue joining them in their debauchery and ungodly living. Speaking the truth of God’s Word in response makes them even more angry.

Pride Will Be Replaced by Humility (Colossians 3:12-13)–Unforgiveness will be replaced by forgiveness; a mean, critical spirit will be replaced by kindness. Oh, it won’t happen instantly but there will be a gradual change.

Trials and Temptations Will Not Pull Them Away (Luke 8:13)–Many claim to follow Christ but when testing and trials come, when peer pressure becomes too much to bear, they turn their backs on Christ and fall away.

You may be thinking that you know some professing Christians who don’t exhibit these signs of true faith. While all of us may have a blind spot or two, true believers will exhibit most of the above. They are the evidence of true salvation and are given to us by God in His Word.

So is Donald Trump really a new believer?

I don’t think there is any way we can possibly answer that yet. Only God knows.

But here is what we do know–

This election coming up is a big deal. A very big deal.

I have my opinions about it, as do you, I am sure. It is incredibly important that we give great prayer and thought to how we are going to vote.

Honestly, I still find myself perplexed and not a little dismayed that we have two pathological liars as our candidates. It is so indicative of where we are as a nation that we would support such people.

Did Donald Trump recently accept Jesus as His Lord and Savior? I hope so. I truly do hope so.

 

 

Common False Gospels

False Gospels

All throughout history, Satan has been bending and twisting the true Gospel found in the Holy Word of God just enough to make it false. What comes from this are false, unbiblical systems that are like magnets for lost and empty souls. Some of these false gospels are very, very close to the Truth. They always use the names of God and Jesus and generally will use lots of Bible verses, which are almost always taken out of context.

Historically, the true Church has viewed the Word of God as inerrant and inspired. This has led us to understand the true Gospel by reading and studying the Word of God in its entirety and in context. (If you would like a summary of the Gospel, based on the Bible, you will find it here).

As we learn and grow in our knowledge of scripture, these false gospels become easier to spot. Of course, the really tricky thing is that some people who fall prey to these for a little while are genuine believers who are deceived. So please keep in mind–I am not judging any particular person in this post. I have no idea who is and who is not saved. But if we know someone caught up in one of these false teachings, we may want to give them a loving warning.

And remember–most people who follow one of these systems believe with all of their hearts that they have embraced truth. They are trusting in a source outside of scripture for their beliefs. This is always dangerous. Always. If we don’t have scripture as our rock, then we will have no basis with which to judge a true or false gospel. For how can we tell the false, if we have nothing by which to measure it against?  J.C. Ryle puts it this way–

“A man must make the Bible alone his rule. He must receive nothing and believe nothing which is not according to the Word. He must try all religious teaching by one simple test—Does it square with the Bible? What does the Scripture say?”

I whole-heartedly agree with him. With that in mind, let’s look at a few prevalant false gospels–

1. The Prosperity Gospel

This gospel teaches that material blessings (health, wealth, and power) come to those who believe in Jesus. If we do not have these things it is because we do not have enough “faith”. God is presented like a magic genie, whom we need to manipulate in order to get what we want.

But the Bible teaches us that our lives are not filled with material blessings when we come to Christ. Instead, it tells us that we are to not only expect various trials, but we are to rejoice in them. (I Peter 4:12-13; James 1:2-3). Our new life in Christ has nothing to do with a perfect life here on earth. While I can certainly understand why this gospel would be appealing (who wouldn’t want the promise of more money, better health, and more power?), it is absolutely false, which I suspect those who follow it must eventually find out.

2. The Social Justice Gospel

God’s kingdom is advanced as we work together to build an equal and just society. The Christian’s main job is to help those in poverty. Social Justice becomes the ultimate priority, taking precedence over the Truth and adherence to God’s Word. The ultimate goal is to bring God’s Kingdom to earth.

But the Bible tells us that the poor will always be with us (Mark 14:7). This shows us that we will never be able to eradicate poverty. This false gospel is a bit tricky, because so much about it is good and unselfish. The problem with this gospel is that it becomes based on our good works and completely minimizes man’s sinfulness and the need for repentance. The other very critical problem of this false gospel is that when meet only the physical and earthly needs of the poverty-stricken, we do nothing to help them for eternity. Thankfully, I know many wonderful people, in this country and on the mission field, who are doing many good things across the world. The difference about these believers is that while they are helping the poor, they are telling them about the new life they can have in Christ. There is a big difference, is there not?

And just a side note: “Social Justice” is a communist term. It is never found anywhere in the Bible.

3. The Unity Gospel

Unity is primary, above all else. It doesn’t matter if we disagree about key issues of the Christian faith, as long as we are unified, all is good. It used to be that this gospel taught that Jesus must be the central figure, but in recent years, efforts have now been made to unite Christianity with other faiths, whether Jesus is part of the religion or not. To not be unified is the greatest sin of all, trumping almost anything else.

But the Bible teaches us that true Christianity will divide. Jesus Himself said this: “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division” (Luke 12:51) He also tells us that we should expect to be hated as His followers (John 15:18-20). This means that while there will be unity among God’s people, we will never experience it with the world (nor should we desire to).

4. The “All Ways Lead to Heaven” Gospel

The followers of this gospel believe Jesus is the way for them to get to heaven, but that we need to give people the freedom to believe whatever they want to about how they are going to get to heaven. To believe in absolute truth is the greatest of sins and no one should act like they are the only ones who have the truth. People can decide that for themselves. The Bible is just a book of wisdom, from which they pick and choose the verses best suited to them.

This lack of absolute truth is the main thought of this post-modern society. But in John 14, verse 6, Jesus makes it clear that this is not the case–

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

While it is certainly true that anyone can believe what they want to about God, it will not change the facts. What we believe will be quite irrelevant when the Day of Judgment comes. When we stand before the One, True God someday, it just won’t matter what we believed. Jesus is the only way to heaven. This is what the Bible teaches.

5. The Self-Help, Positive Gospel

Human imperfection keeps us from living a satisfactory and successful life. Christ’s death proves our worth as humans and gives us power to reach our potential. The church helps us find earthly happiness, which is our main goal in life.

But the Bible tells us that none of us are righteous (Romans 3:10) and that we have all sinned (Romans 3:23). The cross doesn’t prove our intrinsic worth. The cross reconciles us to God. And our goal should not be earthly happiness, which we saw in the verses from John 15 above. We also read about this in James 1 and I Peter 1. The Christian life is not about our quality of life here on earth. Now, with that said, our quality of life if we choose to submit and obey God is very much improved–but it is in the wonderful riches that cannot be measured–such as love, joy, peace, faith. These are the things that truly matter to a soul saved by God’s marvelous grace.

6. The Mystical Gospel

Salvation comes through an emotional experience with God. The church is there to help me feel close to God by helping me along in my pursuit of mystical union with God and the universe. A person’s faith is based primarily on their experience. These people expect special messages just for them from God.

This has invaded the church so subtly and entirely that I doubt there are many churches that have not been touched by it. Very familiar, famous people are promoting it under the guise of contemplative prayer and other ways. Several best-selling books have sucked a lot of people into this way of thinking. From this has come a system that has minimized the Word of God and magnified subjective experience.

But the Bible tells us–

 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17) Our experiences may or may not be truth. How do we know? We have to always hold the Word of God as our objective truth and should use it to test all of our experiences. And Hosea 4:6 says that God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. He doesn’t say that they are destroyed for lack of experience.

 

Of course, there are more false gospels in the world today. I have just listed a few of the most prevalent. We need to remember that Satan is a master at deception. And we need to remember that he shows himself as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). As Martin Erdmann puts it: “Deception comes in very familiar forms because this is how you will accept it.”  This is a very profound truth that we need to always remember as we test any new thought or philosophy that comes our way–no matter how holy or good it sounds.

I believe that biblical illiteracy is the reason so many of these gospels have taken such a strong foothold in the world of Christianity. I will leave you wih this quote by J.C. Ryle about the Holy Scriptures–

Amidst the flood of dangerous reading, I plead for my Master’s book; I call upon you not to forget the book of the soul. Do not let newspapers, novels, and romances be read, while the prophets and Apostles be despised. Do not let the exciting and sensual swallow up your attention, while the edifying and the sanctifying can find no place in your mind.

Study the Bible. Study the Bible. Study the Bible. It is our only hope and solid anchor in this roiling, heaving sea of Post-Modernism.

 

Divisions Are Not Always Bad

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As believers, we have seen great effort in these recent years to unite all religions that use the name of Jesus. We are told that if we do not agree with this, we are divisive and that we are committing perhaps the worst sin of all. Of course, it doesn’t seem to matter if the religion is based off the Bible alone or not, as long as they use the name of Jesus. This has been a struggle these past twenty years or so as we listen to popular pastors encourage us to partner with faiths that aren’t truly Christian.

In fact, the other day I even heard Rick Warren recommend we partner with Muslims, since we serve the same God. His mouth spoke those words. On the radio. Really?! And, yet, many people still look to this man as a godly leader. Let me state first that we, unequivocally, do not serve the same God as the Islam faith. Just because they serve one God and so do we, does not mean it is the same one.

So why this push for unity? Personally, I believe it is a puzzle piece that fits right into the end times scenario. The future power of the Antichrist will come much more easily with a global, one-world religion and we are seeing this take place right before our very eyes quite literally. Fifty or a hundred years ago, believers couldn’t have ever imagined joining with all different religions while ignoring major differences. And, yet, here we are today, being encouraged to join with other religions that don’t even use the Bible as the foundation of their faith. I wrote a post a little while ago about how easy it is for us to discern if a religion is true or false, so If you are wondering about that, you can find that post here.

Paul tells us in in 2 Corinthians 6:14–

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

This seems to make it pretty clear. But, if that isn’t enough convincing for you, I am including this by A.W. Tozer. How discerning he was way back when and how appropriate this is for us today–

Divisions Are Not Always Bad, A.W. Tozer

{italics are mine for emphasis. His insight is truly amazing!}

When to unite and when to divide, that is the question, and a right answer requires the wisdom of a Solomon.

Some settle the problem by rule of thumb: All union is good and all division bad. It’s that easy. But obviously this effortless way of dealing with the matter ignores the lessons of history and overlooks some of the deep spiritual laws by which men live.

If good men were all for union and bad men for division, or vice versa, that would simplify things for us. Or if it could be shown that God always unites and the devil always divides it would be easy to find our way around in this confused and confusing world. But that is not how things are.

To divide what should be divided and unite what should be united is the part of wisdom. Union of dissimilar elements is never good even where it is possible, nor is the arbitrary division of elements that are alike; and this is as certainly true of things moral and religious as of things political or scientific.

The first divider was God who at the creation divided the light from the darkness. This division set the direction for all God’s dealings in nature and in grace. Light and darkness are incompatible; to try to have both in the same place at once is to try the impossible and end by having neither the one nor the other, but dimness rather, and obscurity.

In the world of men there are at present scarcely any sharp outlines. The race is fallen. Sin has brought confusion. The wheat grows with the tares, the sheep and the goats coexist, the farms of the just and the unjust lie side by side in the landscape, the mission is next door to the saloon.

But things will not always be so. The hour is coming when the sheep will be divided from the goats and the tares separated from the wheat. God will again divide the light from the darkness and all things will run to their kind. Tares will go into the fire with tares and wheat into the garner with wheat. The dimness will lift like a fog and all outlines will appear. Hell will be seen to be hell all the way through, and heaven revealed as the one home of all who bear the nature of the one God.

For that time we with patience wait. In the meanwhile for each of us, and for the church wherever she appears in human society, the constantly recurring question must be: What shall we unite with and from what shall we separate? The question of coexistence does not enter here, but the question of union and fellowship does. The wheat grows in the same field with the tares, but shall the two cross-pollinate? The sheep graze near the goats, but shall they seek to interbreed? The unjust and the just enjoy the same rain and sunshine, but shall they forget their deep moral differences and intermarry?

To these questions the popular answer is yes. Union for union’s sake, and men shall brothers be for a’ that. Unity is so devoutly to be desired that no price is too high to pay for it and nothing is important enough to keep us apart. Truth is slain to provide a feast to celebrate the marriage of heaven and hell, and all to support a concept of unity which has no basis in the Word of God.

The Spirit-illuminated church will have none of this. In a fallen world like ours unity is no treasure to be purchased at the price of compromise. Loyalty to God, faithfulness to truth and the preservation of a good conscience are jewels more precious than gold of Ophir or diamonds from the mine. For these jewels men have suffered the loss of property, imprisonment and even death; for them, even in recent times, behind the various curtains, followers of Christ have paid the last full measure of devotion and quietly died, unknown to and unsung by the great world, but known to God and dear to His Father heart. In the day that shall declare the secrets of all souls these shall come forth to receive the deeds done in the body. Surely such as these are wiser philosophers than the religious camp followers of meaningless unity who have not the courage to stand against current vogues and who bleat for brotherhood only because it happens to be for the time popular.

“Divide and conquer” is the cynical slogan of Machiavellian political leaders, but Satan knows also how to unite and conquer. To bring a nation to its knees the aspiring dictator must unite it. By repeated appeals to national pride or to the need to avenge some past or present wrong the demagogue succeeds in uniting the populace behind him. It is easy after that to take control of the military and to beat the legislature into submission. Then follows almost perfect unity indeed, but it is the unity of the stockyards and the concentration camp. We have seen this happen several times in this century, and the world will see it at least once more when the nations of the earth are united under Antichrist.

When confused sheep start over a cliff the individual sheep can save himself only by separating from the flock. Perfect unity at such a time can only mean total destruction for all. The wise sheep to save his own hide disaffiliates.

Power lies in the union of things similar and the division of things dissimilar. Maybe what we need in religious circles today is not more union but some wise and courageous division. Everyone desires peace but it could be that revival will follow the sword.