-- How do you feel about abortion?
It's taking a life.
-- What should we do about criminals?
Lock them up and throw away the key.
-- Do you support raising taxes?
No, the government takes too much already.
-- How do you feel about overpaid, well-pensioned government workers with no-show jobs?
It ticks me me off.
-- Do you support gay marriage?
-- How are you going to vote?
If she's correct, it's interesting that most recent immigrants do not support abortion, gay marriage and big government, yet they still vote for the political party that opposes their views. As Ann Coulter goes on to comment, “Noticeably, the No. 1 issue Obama had in his favor this year was not his policies. It was that a majority of voters agreed with the statement: Obama 'cares for people like me.'”
To some extent, it can be understood that a poor immigrant who is new to the concept of capitalism and American life would support someone who promises them free food and housing. But what about those that have lived here all of their lives and are not the poor and uneducated? Surely, those who are Christians would adhere to their foundational beliefs! Most Christian denominations oppose abortion and gay rights. Catholics oppose birth control. Yet, exit polls revealed that 44% of white mainline Protestants supported Obama. Three-quarters of Hispanic Catholics voted for Obama and collectively 50% of all Catholics voted for Obama.
The Bishop E.W. Jackson, the chairman of Ministers Taking a Stand, produced a video calling for Black Christians to leave the Democrat Party. “They think we are stupid and that these lies will hold us captive while they violate everything we believe as Christians,” he said. “The Democrat Party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and Planned Parenthood, which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions … Yet, the Democrat party has now declared same sex marriage an official part of its platform … The civil rights establishment has embraced the lies and betrayed the black community and God Almighty for 30 pieces of silver from the Democrat party. We as Christians ought to know better. Shame on us for allowing ourselves to be sold to the highest bidder. We belong to God … What do you call it when Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and my sins and paid the price for our freedom and you join and covenant with a political party that doesn't even want God mentioned in their platform and gets offended at the very mention of Jesus' name? If your pastor tells you to vote for a party that disrespects Jesus, you need to leave that church. Black pastors are also going to have to answer for whether they serve Jesus or the Democrat party … It is time for Christians to have the faith and courage to refuse to associate with a political party that has over the years become anti-Christian, anti-church, anti-Bible, anti-light, and anti-family and anti-God. The Democrat party has also become increasingly anti-Israel and God has said I will curse those that curse Israel. Do you want to be cursed with them? … It's not about party, but principle. It's not about race, but righteousness. And you will stand before God to give an account for your choices and motives.” Election results suggest the Reverend Jackson's plea was mostly ignored.
The sad reality is that regardless of race, regardless of denomination, a majority of Christians voted the same way as the poor immigrants noted by Ann Coulter. Bishop Jackson warned that those who support an organization that is anti-God will have to give an account for that support and those who curse Israel will be cursed. Though he was specifically addressing Black Christians, his words are a warning for all Christians.
So, how is it that a Christian can ignore the tenets of their faith? How is that someone can go to a polling place and cast a vote to support politicians who oppose the things of God and do so without fearing the consequences? Because our churches and pastorates have the kind of people Paul told Timothy to turn away from (2 Timothy 3:2-5a) – “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
Religion should make a difference in the way that you conduct your life. James wrote (1:26), “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.” If you go to church, wear a cross, carry a Bible, or have a crystal angel hanging from your car's rear view mirror, but you use profanity, gossip, tell lewd jokes, and constantly scream in anger, no one will believe you're a Christian. No one will praise God because you're around. No one will want to listen to you talk about how wonderful Christianity is. Every religious act you do will be canceled by your conduct.
On the other hand, good behavior lends credibility to you and to God. “And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel” (Matthew 15:30,31).
Okay, you probably don't have the spiritual ability to do the kinds of works Jesus did in Matthew 15, but James tells us what you can do: Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27).
Jesus also gives examples of the things that please Him in Matthew 25:31-40. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Jesus' list is not the criteria for entering heaven as some people claim. If that were true, a lot of atheists would go to heaven because they do good things for people. A lot of unrepentant criminals would go to heaven, because they do good things for people they like. The Pharisees who Jesus said had the devil as their father would have gone to heaven because they did good things for people. You don't get to heaven because you do a lot of good things or because your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds or because overall you're a good person. Paul reminds us, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). If you could go to heaven because you fed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty, clothed the naked, housed strangers, visited the sick and prisoners, then you would have reason to brag about it in heaven. But it was Christ's shed blood that paid for your sins. He did the work of salvation for you. All you have to do is believe that Jesus is God's Son, that He died for your sins and rose from the dead and then you ask forgiveness for your sins and ask Jesus to save you. (See Romans 10:9-13.)
You do good works not to earn salvation, but that others may understand the grace of God and seek Him for themselves based upon your works. As a Christian, you should “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
James reminds us that faith without works is dead – it's ineffective. In chapter 2, he gives the example, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” The brother or sister leaves cold and hungry. God gets no glory. James goes on to explain that the works he does is what demonstrates he has faith (2:18).
Even if people doubt your testimony because they don't recognize your religion or your background as authoritative, your good works will give you credibility. Peter put it this way: Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:11,12). As Jesus faced a group of religious leaders that were about to stone Him, He said, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him” (John 10:37,38).
Are your Christian mentors genuine? Are you meeting with genuine Christians? All you have to do is watch and listen to them and see how they spend their money and you will know whether their life is about honoring God or pleasing themselves. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh (Luke 6:43-45). But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matthew 15:18,19). Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew16:19-21).
If professing Christians spend all of their time, energy, money, and influence promoting themselves, something's wrong. If they won't help other Christians in need when they have the resources, something is wrong. If the actions they take or the causes they support are contrary to the Bible, something's wrong. If their lifestyle suggests they are lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, something is wrong and you should have nothing to do with them.
Then, there is you. If you had never heard of Jesus; if you had never gone to church; if you had never read a verse in the Bible, would the way you live your life on a daily basis be any different? Examine your life. Have you ever done any of the things that Jesus said his sheep would do in the Matthew 25 verses? Outside of church attendance, if you were to be put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?