In my last post, I asserted that the decision of our founding fathers to break apart from Great Britain was unbiblical and thus sinful. In researching this, I found that there are many that believe we who would cast such a shadow on our nation’s birth intend to make the conclusion that the United States are therefore inherently sinful and wretched. That is where I want to focus today.
First of all, let me address the notion that if the nation was “born out of sin,” then it will be perpetually sinful and useless to God. That’s hogwash. If we take that same logic, all of us who are born again in Christ are doomed!
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” – Psalm 51:5
But as is the case with myself, God is able to make something useful out of something that started out badly. There’s no denying the history the United States has of sending innumerable missionaries out into the world to proclaim God’s gospel. The printing presses of America have been churning out volume after volume of Bibles, study aids, expository articles, and the like. U.S. resources have been used for over two centuries to further the kingdom of God. And in God’s good will, America has been blessed tremendously; not of our own merit, but in spite of it.
If you look back to the birth of our country, there is a key document that, I believe, has much more to do with our success than the Declaration of Independence. A composition that was constructed by many of the same minds as the Declaration, but bears much more significance and biblical influence…
I am always impressed when I read the text of the Constitution. I am impressed with it’s ambition, it’s complexity, and it’s freshness. For crying out loud, can you imagine our current legislative body putting something like this together and actually getting to a point of total agreement?! It’s amazing!
But what has impressed me more in my study of the Constitution this last week is how it reflects so many values of the Bible and it’s divine Author. Let’s first look at the preamble:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
There is no denying that God is about justice. In this passage of Deuteronomy, Moses calls the Israelites to appoint rulers who rule with “righteous judgment.” Interestingly, the one specific sin mentioned in this passage, bribery, is one of the two crimes specifically mentioned as qualifying for the impeachment of the President.
Insure Domestic Tranquility
Psalm 29:11; 34:14
While Jesus did say “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword,” He was speaking observationally that His gospel would cause tension between those who believe and those who rebel. Peace has always been the desired state that God calls us to.
Provide For The Common Defence
Proverbs 31:9; Jeremiah 5:28
This point of the Constitution is speaking about national defense, but there is a sense of protecting those who need protecting. God defends those who are defenseless, and those who are helpless have a special place in God’s heart.
Promote The General Welfare
Taking care of the needs of others is paramount in God’s kingdom. Whatever your opinion on illegal immigration, one only needs to look at the staggering number of people trying to enter this country to understand that people know where they can get help when they need it.
Secure The Blessings Of Liberty
The wording is interesting here, because liberty is not described as a right, but a blessing. And this is exactly as it should be. We are not owed personal liberty, but it is a tremendous blessing. A blessing that God gives to whom He wills and a blessing all U.S. citizens should be extremely thankful for.
The rest of the Constitution Proper lays out the details for how the federal government is to be constructed. The overarching theme behind the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches is one found clearly in scripture – Servant Leadership.
Throughout history, authority was granted based on lineage or brute force, but now a country wanted to base it’s leadership on choice. This has a profound effect on those whom are chosen. Look at what John Adams wrote just prior to the War of Independence:
“[The Representative Assembly] should be in miniature, an exact portrait of the people at large. It should think, feel, reason, and act like them. That it may be the interest of this Assembly to do strict justice at all times, it should be an equal representation, or in other words equal interest among the people should have equal interest in it.”
Later he notes that frequent elections will:
“…teach them the great political virtues of humility, patience, and moderation, without which every man in power becomes a ravenous beast of prey.”
Understanding that power is not permanent nor to be taken for granted, leaders are swayed to execute their office in the spirit of Philippians 2:4 (“look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”) and John 13 (“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet”). In all this, I think we can see that the Constitution laid a foundation for our government that we reap the benefits of today. The blessings we enjoy stem from a desire by the framers to instill basic Godly virtues and goals in our leadership structure.
Towards the beginning of this post, I said “U.S. resources have been used for over two centuries to further the kingdom of God.” While that is true, it is also true that great evils have been committed and condoned within this great nation. While I would still rather enjoy the blessings of this country more than any other, there is much about America that worries me; and this brings me to my last point. I am first and foremost a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20); God is my ultimate pride and joy, not my country. Remember who is in control of your life; it isn’t the United States of America, or the Republican or Democratic party, or Barack Obama or John McCain.
“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever” – Psalm 146:3-6