Before the glow fades

Published 12:16 am Saturday, January 31, 2009

I’m hitting the pause button on my brief series on “The Bible and Our Economy” until next Saturday.

The Inauguration of our new President last week was an historic and mountaintop experience for our nation. Although some of his immediate executive orders are totally against my Bible convictions, I want him to succeed in every area of leadership that would be good for our economy, our safety, our world leadership and our national morality. I pray for him daily.

In this article today I am following the example of my Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul and the prophets as I take words and illustrations from the political world and apply them to eternal truths.

During our President’s campaign for the presidency culminating with the Inauguration, a few key words and a brief sentence were constantly emphasized. We desire that each one of these will see surprising fulfillment in all levels of government. While these are still fresh on our minds, I want to apply them in the area of simple and eternal truth for me, you, the church and unbelievers.

First was the word “hope.” Hope is something to look forward to, something better than now, and something ahead of you that gives you courage for now. Hope for the unsaved is that it is not necessary for you to remain in your sins or to live and die without God, without Jesus Christ and without heaven. God loves you and you do not have to lose this life and the one to come. The invitation of Jesus Christ is that anyone who is willing may come to Him now.

Hope for the believer always includes heaven and the return of Christ. But hope for the believer and the church is also for the future in this present life. This means that the Lord has more that he wants us to experience than we have ever known. God’s call is upward, onward and into new frontiers for his child. God’s will is that we be transformed into additional and better experiences with Him.

Second was the word “change.” No word has a more eternal meaning. Change is the Bible word “repent” and it means to change your mind, to turn around and to change your direction. This is the central word from the Lord Jesus Christ to any person who desires forgiveness of sins, to be right with God and to have assurance of heaven. The total and complete summary of God’s requirement for eternal life is “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:20-21).

God also calls believers to “change”; to repent. To the Christians at Ephesus the Lord Jesus said, “Remember the height from which you have fallen. Change and do the things you did at first. If you do not change I will remove your light” (Revelation 2:5).

Third was the three-word statement, “Yes we can.” This was an affirmation of faith action, primarily resting on diligent human effort.

Again, no word is more at the heart of an eternal experience with God than faith. It is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that a person begins the Christian life. And it is only by a faith walk that we can please God and enjoy a satisfying, growing and fruitful life in Christ. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” The unsaved person can say, “Yes I can” become a Christian as I trust, not in myself but in Jesus Christ. The believer should say, “Yes I can”; the church should say, “Yes we can”: I and we can become all God wants us to be; understanding that we are relying upon the initiative, promises, presence, power and grace of God. An example of this is the Apostle Paul saying, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

A fourth word was “together.” It had the meaning of unity, oneness and united. This is a key necessity for each of God’s local churches. It is recorded concerning the first church in Jerusalem, “They that believed were together” (Acts 2:44). The practical instructions to all churches in the New Testament were that there must be togetherness. Effort and attitude must promote unity, for if we do not have unity we cannot have much of anything else that pleases God.

So, before the glow fades, let’s take the three words and a sentence from a political campaign and apply them with an eternal and Biblical meaning: personally and in our churches.

Note: Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears every Saturday.