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Paul Gardiner / Feb. 23, 2016

How to Know if Politicians Are Christians: The Four "I's" of Real Faith

Author’s Note: After recently hearing my pastor deliver a sermon entitled “Real Faith,” I reflected on how many politicians and others running for national office these days claim to be Christians. Without attempting to make a judgment about any of these claims, I found the following pastoral thoughts very helpful in ascertaining whether any person claiming to be a Christian is, in fact, a bone fide Christian having and living a real Christian faith.

A bona fide Christian believes, among other things, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He willingly and sacrificially died on a Roman cross to atone for all people’s sins, that God raised Him from the dead, and that faith in Jesus as Savior allows entrance into an everlasting life in Heaven. But what about the matter of life style and actions of a person claiming or thinking he/she is a Christian- — re not these critical ingredients in the life of a Christian?

The sermon entitled “Real Faith” addresses the above question and has its scriptural basis in James 2:14-26. Briefly, these verses explain the importance and necessity of good deeds resulting from one’s faith and belief in Jesus Christ as Savior. In fact, the scriptures indicate that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Thus, the claims of politicians and others saying they are Christians need to be supported by the actions they take in their daily lives.

There are some basic elements or characteristics of a bona fide Christian with real faith, and these can be referred to as the “Four I’s of Real Faith”:

  1. Real faith is not indifferent, but involved; real faith leads to helping others who have legitimate, unmet needs such as food, clothing, medical care, shelter, etc.

  2. Real faith is not independent, but acts in partnership with one’s faith and belief in Jesus Christ as Savior; real faith and good deeds always work together.

  3. Real faith is not invisible, but displayed; a bona fide Christian will visibly exhibit the characteristics of his faith and belief in Jesus Christ by his/her good deeds, speech and by continually demonstrating the “fruits of the spirit”: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

  4. Real faith is not intellectual, but from the heart; as scripture says, “Even the demons believe — and shudder.” (James 2:19) It never will be possible for the human mind to fully comprehend or understand the ways of God. Real faith believes in the super natural which defies human logic.

Thus, when politicians and others claim to be Christians, let’s examine how the actions they take in their daily lives measure up to the four I’s of real faith. Hopefully, what they claim can be readily verified.

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