In these, the end days for those of us who believe in the salvation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, it is imperative that we proceed as ambassadors for Christ and not for the wiles of man. To that end there are several areas which Christians are routinely led astray in, which actually detract from our job as Christians in a fallen world. It pains me every day to see the rhetoric from those who do not share our beliefs attacking Christians in totality for the sins of a chosen few. The Bible says that in the last days many will be led astray and be deceived (Matthew 24: 4-5). The Apostle Matthew recounts the warnings of Jesus that many will come in His name but remember dear Christians, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7: 21-23).
In regard to the rapture, a core belief for many Christians including myself, the Bible specifically instructs Christians to not be concerned with the day or hour of the second coming of Christ. Matthew 24 speaks directly about the rapture and the return of our Lord, but verse 36 states:
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."
The parable spoken here by Jesus is referring to the lives we lead as Christians. We are to live as if the Lord could come back today, any day, everyday. It means we are not to compromise what we believe and are to lead a life pleasing to God, not to try and figure out when He is coming back. More importantly, we are to witness to people about the salvation that God offers all men, not be content that we are counted amongst the saved and hunker down until Jesus comes. To care not about the world and the unsaved is to directly disobey the Great Commission, which is the only charge given to us by Christ for dealing with the world. Furthermore it is incredibly selfish for a Christian to merely be satisfied with their own salvation and dismiss the rest of God's creation to judgment. As Christians we should rest in our assurance of the second coming of Christ but be ever diligent in saving souls to His kingdom between now and then. James 5: 20 affirms, "remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins."
In regard to war, Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. His teachings clearly state we are to turn the other cheek and forgive seven times seventy times. There is no ambiguity in the Beatitudes. It is the meek that shall inherit the earth and blessed are the peacemakers. Too often today Christian leaders are advocating most un-Christian principles. I have heard all of the pro-war Christian arguments and they are all a sham. Most of the arguments focus on the Old Testament and the instances God sent Israel to war. What the pro-war Christians forget is that we are covered by the new covenant, not the Law of Moses. Additionally, every time Israel went to battle without the approval of God, they were soundly defeated. Once again, it is about the will of God, not man. One of the often misused Bible verses to support war is Ecclesiastes 3:8 which declares, "there is...a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." Besides being another Old Testament verse, this verse does not condone war; it merely states that there will be a time for war. In the same chapter it says there is a time for hate. Should we to take that as an excuse to hate or that God condones hate? Of course not. The fact is that despite the Old Testament cases where God allowed war that does not excuse war carte blanche. Lastly, there is no New Testament basis for war. Too often in this country we forget that God has charged us with saving all men, not just Americans. The Iraqi lives and the blood being spilled in Iraq are just as precious to God as our soldiers. As Christians, we should be sorrowful over every life lost in a war that was not justified. Every life lost is another soul we were charged with saving, not killing. Is there such a concept as a "just war?" Absolutely, but that threshold has to be set infinitely higher than the war we are currently involved in. God does not need subterfuge and deception to go to war.
In regard to economics, Christians everywhere should be disgusted at the impoverishing of the nation for the benefit of the wealthy few. There is nothing God implores us more about in both the Old and New Testaments than to take care of "widows and orphans." These are the least in our society, the poor, the crippled, the hurting. Instead, Christians look the other way on matters such as a budget that attacks the neediest in our society and cry "class warfare" whenever someone has the temerity to point out the avaricious nature of this government. When it comes time to vote Christians seem to not concern themselves with economic matters and what has happened to the neediest in our society despite that the Bible implores us to do so.
The Christian term for our life after being saved is called our "walk", indicating our walk with God. In latter day America Christians everywhere are being led to believe that serving God requires our intervention into the walks of other people and more often than not, people we are charged with saving. The GOP and their propaganda media machine have convinced well intended Christians everywhere, including Christian leaders that the most important issues for them are abortion and gay marriage. While we as Christians should speak out against the decline of traditional Christian values, we should not do so at the expense of the true charge of Christianity. Gay marriage and abortion are issues which have to do with the life someone else is living, not our own. When Christ comes back and asks us what we did with the talent He entrusted to us he will not want to hear about how we fought against gay marriage. He is going to want to hear how we witnessed to the homosexual. He is not going to want to hear about how we fought against abortion but rather; how we witnessed to the mother. We are supposed to witness first with our lives and how we lead them. Our charge as Christians is to show the love of Christ, not contribute to the bigotry of the world.
To my unsaved friends reading this article, please keep in mind that these are my beliefs. I believe in the glorious salvation of Jesus Christ who professed love not hate and peace not war. Please do not take offense simply because you do not share these beliefs because if I did not speak out about what I believed that would be a greater disservice to you. If I truly believe that there is a heaven to be gained and a hell to shun, what message do I send by not trying to convince you that Jesus Christ is the way to heaven? Quite simply if I believe that Christ is the way to heaven and I neglect to tell you, then all I am really telling you is to go to hell. That would not be terribly Christian of me. When you see the extremists shouting about judgment, remember only God judges. Do not condemn all Christians by the ignorant, deceptive rantings of a chosen few.
To my Christian brethren, this is a call to the collective Christian conscience. Be ever watchful that you are not deceived and led astray. Do not reflect to the world the hate that abides in it. Show them instead the love of Christ, using your life as your first witness. Do not get hung up mixing politics and theology. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3: 23) and that includes you. One sin is no better or worse than another. Sometimes as Christians we forget how far down God had to reach to save us. Never forget what He has done for you. Remember that we have a job to do that should be approached selflessly. Remember the Great Commission and the charge given to us by Jesus Christ; to bring His Gospel message to the lost. That is a message filled with hope, delivered with love, and abounding in humility.