Not every person who professes to be a Christian is a Christian. That’s just a fact. Some have been raised in a culture of Christianity—their parents took them to Sunday school and church when they were little. Everyone they know goes to church at least a few times each year, and they have basic values that align with Christianity—they’re in the family values camp, in other words. They also read the Bible stories and probably have at least one Bible in their home.
But those behaviors do not define what it means to be a Christian.
Christians first and foremost are people who identify as sinners. Yep, sinners. Not people who do good or who are good. We actually know that we are not now, nor can we ever be, good enough to satisfy God’s standard. Because we admit who we are, we also have embraced the gift God has offered us—forgiveness for our sinful condition and the particular sins we commit. We recognize that God made forgiveness available to us because He accepted payment for our sins from His Son, Jesus.
Forgiveness affords us a lot of benefits. The greatest is a close relationship with God. We are adopted into His family, and His Spirit now lives within us, empowering us to “walk in a manner worthy” of our new family tie.
So as we grow and mature, we will take on more and more of the family traits—a sold-out love for God, love for each other, love for our neighbors, love for our enemies.
Some of the Presidential candidates say they are Christians; others say they are and act like they are by displaying the family traits.
In considering the question, should Christians vote for Christians for President, I think it’s clear that no one should vote for someone just because he claims to be a Christian. It’s too easy to say the words, even the right words, and none of us can see what another person’s actual relationship with God is like.
However, we can see the family resemblance.
Of course, being a Christian isn’t the only concern when it comes to deciding who to vote for. The President has to be a leader, and not all Christians are leaders. He or she needs to be a good judge of character because the President has to put together a Cabinet and make any number of appointments. He needs to know how government works and needs to understand foreign policy.
If all these things are in place, should it matter if the candidate is a Christian?
I think so.
No candidate is going to be perfect. None will have exactly the same ideas on every issue that I have. None will always make the right decisions or listen to the advice I wish he’d listen to. What counts in the end is that he is a person of integrity and that he lives out his faith. Yep, lives it out. I actually got that idea from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio who answered a question from an atheist during one of his town halls in Iowa before that caucus.
Below is the video of that exchange. It’s influenced my thinking on this question.