Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Period. No counterfeit. No substitute. We must turn to Him and turn to His truth in order to experience life as He desires it. His truth in all things, including community and government. Through specific directives and more broadly applied principles, God’s word guides us in all things. We’ve looked at the black and white with regards to governing authorities, and Thursday, we’ll touch on the gray – the activities of American politics that God’s word doesn’t directly address. Actually, that blog was all wrapped up and in cue for today when God reordered things a bit. Groundwork needs to be laid. Distinctions established. Conditions. In order to say anything about the potential implications of scripture for getting involved in politics, there’s a foundation of truth that must be laid first.
True Social Reform Only Comes by Spiritual Reform
Regardless of who rules America, only God can save. A godly ruler won’t save our country. A godly ruler won’t save one immoral, lost soul. Only God will. No form of legislation, no matter how honorable, will change or rule hearts. Only the Holy Spirit will. As God’s children, our job is not to change this nation through political reform but through spiritual reform. The goal is not to muster enough collective political clout to gain the upper hand in government. The goal is souls. Genuinely saved, not cleverly deceived. Keeping that goal in mind and remaining undeterred is our number one priority. Everything, including political activities, should be evaluated in light of its soul value. Spiritual reform is the only thing that will save this nation, and social reform is neither its precursor nor its conduit.
Church, Do Your Job!
James 1:27 issues a clear mandate to God’s church: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” This is God’s directive for social services, given to the church, not the government. Where the church has failed, government has gladly stepped in, as I explain in this excerpt from my upcoming book, Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His:
We’ve been told the lie of separation of church and state for so long that we now believe it’s a constitutional statute. It is a falsehood. The constitution and the very foundation of our country are based on Biblical values and truth. The men who fought for and led our country to independence were in large majority men of God. There was no separation of church and state. The church was the backbone of this country, and I believe the failure of our nation is the direct result of the failure of the church. As the morals of our country decline, the standards in the church decline as well. We think if we stay a few notches above the world in how we live our lives, we’re doing well. So as the world declines, the church declines with it. As long as it stays just a tad bit above the world, the church is satisfied. But that’s not God’s standard, nor is it His design.
As the world has become more and more selfish, concerned only with its own desires and own agendas, and as the world has assumed an attitude of entitlement, stinginess, and greed, the people in our churches have done exactly the same thing. For the most part, our churches no longer look any different than the world. The nation has turned to the government to be its savior because the church isn’t there to model a true Savior. That’s why true repentance and a complete return to God’s ways are critical to our nation. The government will no longer be the only answer to a lost and dying world when: 1) God’s people start living like the holy nation of priests and saints we are, and 2) the body of Christ operates by the principles God defined for His church.
We are to be serving one another, laying down our lives for our brethren, to the point where there’s not a need among us. If that were the case, I suspect more people would want what the church has to offer, not being drawn to something for nothing, but instead to the Source of our every need.
Govern Thyself First
Notice the second part of James 1:27 says, “to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Continuing the above excerpt:
Our witness and testimony define Jesus to our world. What kind of example are we? Are we obedient so that His blessings show in our lives and we set an attractive example of the peace, protection, and provision available to those who love and obey the Lord? Are we full of mercy, grace, and forgiveness so people experience the unconditional love and forgiveness available through Jesus Christ? Are our children and families full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22), or do we look just like every other family that is hurting, struggling, and dying a slow death? Are our businesses and jobs prospering because we’re tithing, giving, and operating with integrity and generosity, or are we doing the bare minimum and even less than that? Are we doing all things as if unto the Lord? Or do we share the world’s entitlement mentality and expect something for nothing? Are we faithful with little so we can be given much (Luke 19:17)? Or are we bitter, jealous, greedy, and resentful because we don’t have what the next guy has? Do we believe God’s word or do we subject ourselves continually to the world’s reports? Are we walking in God’s grace and peace because we believe His word and promises, or are we fearing the temporal and what the eye can see?
It is our witness and the way we live or don’t live according to God’s principles, and therefore under His blessings, that will affect our voice and the recovery of our nation. The world can detect a fraud fifty miles away. If we are saying one thing and living another, the world won’t take us seriously. If we talk about the power, goodness, and blessings of God and don’t live in such a way that He can demonstrate Himself in and through us, the world will see us as what we’ve become: hypocrites.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
Lord, thank You that You credit us with the righteousness of Jesus Christ when we are saved by grace through faith. May His righteousness in us exalt this nation as we become more wholly Yours.