The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Nationalism is an Idol

God is not looking for us (American believers) to trust in the “founding fathers,” the man-made Constitution, guns, the military, the voting process, financial prosperity, or the pre-eminence of our country in the world scene. God wants us to depend on Him and His Word.  We must renounce our idolatry. Following Jesus is more than not getting drunk or believing the Bible is inspired. We are to be as He is in this world. We are to keep His commands and follow in His steps. Let us consider the steps He took while He walked the earth.

Jesus did not start a Jewish uprising to overthrow the pagan Roman government. He did not preach on a return to Jewish rule and law, or bitterly denounce the Romans for destroying His homeland. He did not run for political office; in fact He rejected being a secular king when He had the vote of the people.  He did not teach that His homeland was more righteous than other nations and deserved international preeminence–His biggest enemies did!  The Pharisees, from whom we have the racist/elitist Talmud, taught these things. Jesus told them they were of their father the devil. Their “form of godliness” did not impress Him; neither did the cause of the zealots who were trying to overthrow the Roman occupation.  He had bigger fish to fry. He came to strike the root of man’s problem. He understood that politics and nationalism could never be the vehicles through which real change would come, because both are always saturated with and fueled by man’s pride.

How about Jesus’ apostles and disciples? Where in their writings is there a hint of nationalism? Where do you see them promoting their country? On the contrary, you see them reaching out to other nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  You see them risking their own lives to bring Truth where lies prevailed.  You see them standing before governors and kings and boldly yet respectfully declaring the Way of Salvation.  Did they get involved in politics and try to take their country back from the pagans? Did they work overtime to make new laws? Did they rail against the leaders of their day, and teach others to do the same? Did they encourage believers to arm themselves and prepare for civil war? Did they seek their own prosperity and complain about taxes?  They did none of these things. They obeyed Jesus and fulfilled the Great Commission. How far we have fallen, Church! We need to repent.

True morality cannot be legislated into existence. You can force some (not all) women with a law not to kill their children by abortion, but you cannot remove murder from–or create compassion in–their hearts with that law. You can take guns away from people, but Cain will still kill Abel with whatever is at his disposal. You can force people with the sword to “become Christians” (so-called), but you cannot remove the pagan idols from their hearts. You can ban homosexual marriage, and we should be glad if secular governments are wise enough to do this, but the Church–of all people–should know that this will not stop homosexuality from spreading.

Are we really seeking these things out of love for others, or out of love for ourselves? Don’t we just want to preserve a semblance of righteousness in our surroundings, so that we can comfortably continue to live as we always have?

Our goal must always be the true repentance of man from rebellion and self-will to love, which keeps the commands of God out of voluntary affection. In short, true morality can only come through the Gospel. Obedience to the gospel will only happen when the church focuses on plowing the ground and sowing Good Seed, by preaching repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. Everything else is flailing at the branches of sin while the roots of men continue to plunge ever downward.

Both the laws of God and the laws of man have their purpose, but their purpose is not redemptive. Lawlessness is no antidote to wrong thinking about the law, but we must understand that enforcing law does not save wicked people.  They must be born again.

As people called to be ambassadors for the kingdom of God, we are here to bring a message of salvation to all nations. We are, with Christ, to strike at the root rather than the branches that regenerate faster than we can cut them off. Man does not need to merely stop aborting babies; man needs to stop being self-centered.  The message of salvation can be precluded by a recap of the moral law of God, which men have broken, so that men can see they need a Savior. But we (the Church) cannot have as our goal, forcing people to obey the law of God or even laws of morality. The government is correct to enforce morality whenever it does, and the government is given the right by God to use force if necessary to do this. However the government will be a reflection of the people, so we cannot expect that it will always have the same moral code we believers have.

The Church is not the secular government and has a much higher purpose. The Church has never been given the right to enforce morality in the world. Yes, she must discipline those professing believers in her midst who walk in immorality, but even this is only rebuke with intent to restore, and separation until there is repentance if necessary (I Cor. 5).  Yes, the Church is the salt of the earth, but we can assume Jesus was salty, and He did not join with secular powers to change men’s hearts. His Way was, and still is, the way of the cross.

When governments allow wickedness and punish righteousness, we can conclude that many of the people themselves are completely turned around morally due to separation from God. Who is best equipped to help the people change?–the government?–No, the Church.  How is she to do this? By holding hands with the wicked secular government and trying to direct its steps to force people to do what is right? No! Shall the Woman ride the Beast into a perfect sunset? No, the harlot church and the Beast will both be destroyed.

The true Church needs to refocus on her Lord and her mission. She will not see spiritual victories until she repents of worshiping the idol of nationalism. How can one idol worshiper help another?–This is the blind leading the blind, and it is hypocrisy.  Paul was a “Hebrew of Hebrews,” but he counted this as dung compared to knowing Christ. (Phil. 3:4-8). Are you “proud to be an American,” beloved? God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Are you going to stand up for your rights? Unless you deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus, you cannot be saved.

Please see also:  Light that is Really DarknessProudly Armed Christians,Do Christians Love Guns? by Andrew StromAmerican Excuses Rather than Repentance

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