"Righteousness Exalteth A Nation... "
Glen Burnie, Maryland
Scriptures reveal that on the day of judgment, when all that is of a physical nature shall be burned up (2 Pet. 3:1012), then mankind will stand in judgment on an individual basis (Rev. 20:12-15). There will be no institutions such as home, school, church, or nation to stand at the judgment bar: merely individuals. Yet, this fact does not negate the importance of God ordained institutions in this present life. The home was created by God to provide the natures of man, woman, and child with the ideal environment in which to develop their unique and different characters. The church exists by the command of God as a people of God, to build up the saints and to teach the gospel (Eph. 4:11-13). The nation is ordained by God to protect the innocent and to prosecute the evil doer. Government is God's minister to those that live a law abiding life as a protector, sustainer, and a rewarder (Rom. 13). To be sure there is a continual corruption of these institutions and a prostitution of their ideal purpose, but the abuse does not eliminate their true function.
Unfortunately, in dealing with any controversy, there always seems to be two extreme sides to the pendulum swing. In a study of the Christian's relationship to his government, there are two extreme positions that are equally erroneous. There is one side that views governmental action on a par with divine revelation. These individuals ignore or "explain away" the ungodly acts committed in the name of the government as righteous acts authorized by Romans 13:4. As Foy E. Wallace puts it, "It is not primarily a question of participation in carnal warfare but of the performance of the duties of carnal government, for all civil government is carnal; and all law enforcement is war" (Foy E. Wallace, Sermon on the Mount and the Civil State, p. 140). On the other side of the swing we find the complete political pacifist that views the kingdoms of this world on an equal footing with the domain of the Prince of the Air. In the words of one of these adherents, "There are only two kingdoms-the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil" (Lee M. Rogers, God and Government, p. 83). Both views miss a very obvious point: Government, like home or church, can be evil or good 'as those individuals that make it up are evil or good. But whether government commits an evil deed by "framing mischief through statute" (Ps. 44:20), or the home becomes the adversary of the godly Christian (Matt. 10:36), or the church becomes a corrupted degenerate (Rev. 3:15-17), the ideal principles ordaining each are still valid.
There is a universal principle that applies to nations, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34). Government has a responsibility to be not only civilly correct, but morally correct as well. The ideal situation would be one in which the civil government would be as morally correct as the individual Christian. Of course, in practicality, this will never come to pass (Jas. 4:4). This ideal has not been realized even within the church. For this reason, a more reasonable command was given to us by God, "Ye are the salt of the earth ...ye are the light of the world." Both salt and light are things that through active involvement change the environment about them. Salt, by just being salty, when added to food produces a flavor unobtainable without salt. Light, by merely shining forth, illuminates dark corners far removed from the light source. Christianity is like a drop of dye in clear water, its presence colors the entire thing.
Recognizing the relationship of these things, we can with pride look to the influence the Bible and it's concepts had in the setting up of our form of government.'We can pray with all zeal, that the Bible might have free course in this nation again as it did in the beginning. While I may not be able to condone every one of the following men in the light of the scriptures for the kingdom of God's sake I heartily recommend the influence of these men on our nation.
"It is impossible to govern the world without God. He must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligation"-George Washington.
"The Bible is the best book in the world. It contains more of my little philosophy than all the libraries I have ever seen" John Adams.
ASo great is my veneration for the Bible, that the earlier that my children begin to read it, the more confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their country, and respectable members of society" John Quincy Adams.
"Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of our liberties; write it's precepts on your hearts, and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book we are indebted for the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future"-U. S. Grant.
Our nation, with all of its mistakes and atrocities, was founded on the belief that man is created in the image of God, and the nation has a responsibility to preserve and encourage the full development of man. While there are inherent dangers in practice of that ideal, and many failures to live up to it, the United States stands where it is today in prosperity, security,, and strength because of that ideal: "When a land transgresses it has many rulers;" David said, "But with men of understanding and knowledge its stability will long continue" (Prov. 28:2). It is for this reason that we as Christians are commanded to "offer supplications; prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks for all men; for kings and all in authority: That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour" (I Tim. 2:2, 3).
Truth Magazine, XVIII:29, p. 10-11