And so John Adams said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion….Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Perhaps without realizing it, John Adams prophesied the demise of the American dream. The French historian Alex de Tocqueville upon visiting America not long after the revolution said, “America is great because Americans are good. If Americans cease to be good, American will no longer be great.”
I believe our founding documents to be among the most brilliant ever written. But beyond being genius, they were immensely practical; practical because they recognized that our nation was built upon the backs of men and women who were essentially self-governed.
They were governed from within by godly principles and therefore did not require the shackles of burdensome government regulation. They were men who did what was right, not because of heavy government regulation, but because the moral law of God that was inscribed upon their hearts governed their actions. Perfect? No. Flawless? Not for a moment. And yes, there were wicked men who did evil things; but overwhelmingly, Americans were a people who knew and understood the principles of liberty, principles which were heavily influenced by the principles of the Scriptures.
As we as a people have become less and less able or unwilling to govern ourselves by the moral precepts set forth in the Holy Scriptures and taught to our children, generation after generation. As we as a people have turned our hearts further and further away from the God of our Fathers and the covenants which they established as the very cornerstone of our existence as a nation, to a greater and greater degree the heavy hand of government regulation of our lives has fallen upon us.
Our liberties have not been taken from us, they have been relinquished by our own slothfulness, frittered away by our growing sense of entitlement and belief that our liberty entitles us to do whatever it is we desire to do.
Our forefathers understood that the liberties for which men fought and died was NOT the liberty to do whatever our selfish souls want to do, but we were at liberty to do what is right, and at liberty to refuse to do that which is wrong.
Galatians 5:13 warns: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Paul warned the Galatians that the freedom we have in Christ does not constitute a license to sin. The grace of God is not permission to transgress God’s moral laws, and to view His great grace as a “get out of jail free card.”
As we as a people have become more and more self-centered, more and more lustful and seekers of pleasure. As we have grown in our sense of entitlement as Americans, we have increasingly declared that because I am a free man, I am at liberty to do whatever I please and no one (even God) has the right to judge me.
As a result, the American culture in 2018 has turned on its self, and is consuming its self, biting and devouring one another like jackals over a dead carcass. We have become ugly, vile, vindictive, and vicious toward one another. We do not really need God to judge us, for our own sin will devour us as a natural consequence of liberty misused.
Jesus said, “If the Son of man sets you free, you are free in deed.”
Christian brothers, please, let us not become as worldly men. Let us use our liberty to serve one another. Let us live toward that great calling of our forefathers who saw liberty as a great privilege to be cherished and guarded – and not as an entitlement to serve only ourselves, feeding our deep lusts until we are consumed by our own wickedness.
Christian brothers, let our speech bear the fruit of the Spirit of Christ: Love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, and patience – and SELF-CONTROL. I plead with you in these troubled days, let us not be dragged into the ugly mire of partisan politics – for we are Ambassadors for Christ,
We are not Republican or Democrat or Libertarian – We are Christians! We do not serve a party – we serve a King and that King died to set us free from the vile and foolish lusts of this world. I plead with you for Christ’s sake, let our words drip with kindness, let our speech be seasoned with His grace, let mercy and compassion be our adornment – even toward those who hate us.
Let us not use our freedom as an occasion to spew bitterness and vomit anger and vile accusation. Let us never feel free to denigrate or humiliate or or decimate another human being, and let us never be guilty of calling for harm to any man or woman.
We are free to forgive. We are free to show mercy. We are free to appeal, to plead, to intercede, and we are free to pray – even for our enemies. Let us use our freedom to serve one another,
In so doing, we honor Christ.
In so doing, we exalt His Name.
In so doing, we reveal His character to the world.
To some this way may seem to be the way of weakness, but in truth it is the ultimate expression of true strength, and the most powerful revelation of the nature of Christ.
And this, my friends, is the only battle we are truly called to fight – to make Christ known and to a dying world reveal His death, burial, and resurrection.