According to his testimony, he’s a Christian. Does that mean that I believe 100% that he’s born again and destined for eternity in heaven? I can be no more sure of that than I could for anyone else on the planet. God alone judges matters of souls and eternity. But when I’m asking someone for a record of their salvation, or what it means to be saved, here is what I’m looking for:
- An understanding that Jesus is the eternal Son of God and not merely human.
- An embracing of Jesus’ death as the atoning sacrifice for personal sin.
- A belief in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
I believe Acts 16:31 and Romans 10:9-13 make it just that simple. Should repentance be included? Yes, in a sense. Repentance is an essential part of the conversion process, but in neither of those scriptures is it specifically commanded as a volitional act. I’m inclined to believe that genuine faith and repentance together make up what it means to believe in, rely on, and fully trust in Jesus.
The President answered questions about his faith and said this:
I think also understanding that … Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility that we all have to have as human beings – that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes; we achieve salvation through the grace of God.
I don’t see the resurrection mentioned there, and I’m concerned with the wording, especially “we achieve salvation through the grace of God.” Achieving it essentially takes grace out of the picture, but I’d hate to be in the shoes of a man who has every single word scrutinized the way the President does.
I have strong disagreements with some of President Obama’s values, especially in regards to the sanctity of life, but I think the bigger question is, am I demonstrating the fruits of repentance and faith in Jesus? If people knew me entirely – if I were in the public spotlight – if my life were examined the way President Obama’s is, would I be thought of as a Christian? This kind of thinking is simply a matter of considering the beam in my own eye before pointing out the speck of dust in anyone else’s, just the way Jesus commanded.
I’m not drawing any conclusions about this story, nor am I making any assessments about the President’s faith. I’m simply glad that on a national stage, the definition of salvation gets to be discussed. I agree that this is a great country because of the freedom to embrace any faith or no faith at all, but I still yearn for the sake of eternity to see every soul possible embrace Jesus Christ as their only Savior.
As Jesus said, “You must be born again.”