Homosexual marriage. Abortion. Immoral TV shows. Police brutality. Bombings. Riots. Divorce. Cohabitation. Many are deeply distresses about the moral decline of America.
The reasoning is that our nation was once a far more moral place. Really? Tell that to the little slave boy seeing his daddy tied up and beaten. Tell that to the 120,000 Japanese immigrants who were rounded up and sent as cattle to internment camps after Pearl Harbor. Tell that to the exhausted African-American lady forced to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
I often hear that the Founding Fathers were upright Christians. It would be a stretch to call the first six Presidents Christians: you have a couple Deists, you have some Unitarians, and it’s quite possible that Thomas Jefferson was an atheist (many of his contemporaries thought so). Jefferson wrote John Adams and said, “The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.”
We can look at the moral landscape of this nation and weep, or we can look to Scripture and find hope, encouragement, and healing. Looking at the Word of God, we find consolation knowing that God reigns.
Because God reigns, saints through the ages have submitted to Him over men. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s idol. Daniel continued his “illegal” devotion to God at the risk of his own life. Because they had seen the Resurrected Lord, the apostles rejoiced in suffering. Understand that heroes of the faith have looked to God when God and government have conflicted. If God delivered them from the pangs of death, he shall do likewise for us. Our bodies may be put to death, but God has a home prepared for his people!
Because God reigns, his Word will have the final say. Jesus: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matt 24:35). “The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Pet 1:24-25). God, not any politician, has the final say on morality. Chief Justice Roger Tanney wrote the majority opinion in the Dred Scott case. He said that blacks were “an inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the white race.” Granted, that was more than 150 years ago, but with decisions like that, how can we expect politicos to be right all the time? God is always right. His morality will stand.
Because God reigns, He is the Sovereign over all nations. “The LORD is king forever and ever” (Ps 10:16). “The LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods” (Ps 95:3). “The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all” (Ps 103:19). “The Lord our God the Almighty reigns” (Rev 19:6).
Because God is the King, it is He — and He alone — who raises up and abases kings. “The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men” (Dan 4:17). Jesus before Pilate: “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above” (Jn 19:11). “There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Rom 13:1).
God’s reign greatly conflicts with the psyche of our nation. The Declaration of Independence states: “To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Nope. Governments derive their just powers from God. Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address said, “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” With all due respect, Mr. President, that is not true. We do not have a government “of the people;” we have a government ordained by God.
Because God reigns, my citizenship is in heaven. “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:20). This nation is not my home; my home is beyond the skies where God sits upon his throne and where I shall serve Him for an eternity! I must be more concerned about the affairs in that country than in this land where my bodies resides.
Of course, we may make full use of the rights of American citizens. Paul appealed to his Roman citizenship when he was about to be beaten (Acts 22:22-29). I have dear friends who were serving as missionaries in Albania. There was serious political upheaval and it was very unsafe for American citizens to be in that country. Aubrey and Carolyn found safety in the American embassy, and they flew out of the country with the last of the Marines in Albania. They, while citizens of a heavenly kingdom, used their American citizenship, just as God gave them the right to do.
Because God reigns, he will be victorious in the end. “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Cor 15:24-25). “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (Rev 17:14). We have no reason to despair, for our God reigns, and our God shall win.
Because God reigns, we need to live under his sovereignty. How can we do so?
Well, because God reigns, we need to spend serious time in prayer. We need to pray for:
Our political leaders. “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim 2:1-2). Pray for our leaders. Take the names of the President, his cabinet, members of the Supreme Court, members of the Congress, your governor and other leaders to the throne of God in prayer. Pray for them all at least once a day, and then, let them know you’re praying for them. Write your congressman, President Obama, your governor, and all the others so that they know you’re in prayer for them. Contacting elected officials is quite easy these days: You can call their office, you can send email, you can send a letter.
Pray for the church. In John 17, Jesus prays for the church not long before his crucifixion. Paul said that he had daily pressure because of his “anxiety for all the churches” (2 Cor 11:28). Let us turn anxiety into prayer: Pray that the church may have the courage to endure persecution, pray for elders who will provide an example of Christianity in such times, and pray for preachers who will hold fast the word of life regardless of the consequences.
Pray for yourself. As Jesus talks about the destruction of Jerusalem, he says, “Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath” (Matt 24:20). We learn a couple important nuggets from Jesus’ statement: 1) It is no sin to get yourself out of harm’s way; and 2) It is perfectly acceptable, not only to pray for yourself, but to pray that you can escape danger.
Because God reigns, we need to be salt and light (Matt 5:13-16). An election or a Supreme Court decision can change the course of a nation, but salt and light can change the course of eternity. The example you set before others at moments like this can have a huge impact long after the United States is a forgotten footnote in history (1 Pet 2:13-17).
Regardless of what immoral activity is condoned in America, God still reigns. You look at the first century and you see God on his throne. Paul shared the truth of the Resurrection at the Areopagus before philosophers. The gospel had been preached to all the known world. The paganism and all the other falsehoods did not keep Christianity from spreading.
Maybe it’s time we pray for persecution to come to us. “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12). If we’re not suffering persecution, could it be that we aren’t really seeking to live that godly?
Are you following Jesus?