It was big news: a major Christian denomination meeting to consider — among other things — whether to divest from companies that do business with Israel, and to end its ban on homosexual marriage. And I only wish I was kidding. You know, there’s an interesting corollary between our current state of affairs as a nation, and our nation’s — even the church’s — growing rejection of Christ, and the Word of God. My pastor said something interesting to me the other day … he said, “If we cannot be governed from within, we must be governed from without.” He was referring, in this case, to how those who wish to balloon the size of our government and add to our Constitution, can find their justification: we need more laws to control increasingly outrageous behavior, and maintain some semblance of fairness and control.
It was John Adams (among other Founder and Framers) who said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate to the governance of any other.” Note that Adams did not say, “for a moral OR religious people.” It was widely understood, by everyone from Franklin to de Tocqueville, that religion was a necessary support; that it had an essential moralizing influence on the people. If our standard of right and wrong is not found in God’s Word, then it can only come from another external source, or from each individual conscience. So, if not the Judeo-Christian standard of morality … which other external standard do we choose? Sharia Law? Relativism? Or, perhaps it’s an individual standard of morality — then, whose do we apply? Bill Maher’s? Ted Bundy’s? Or, maybe we each make up our own standard, then leave it to Darwin … if you’re the biggest and toughest, than YOUR morality gets to rule the day! True survival of the fittest, as the morals of the small and meek are trampled into the ground.
That’s why our Constitution is such a spare document, imposing the least amount of rules and regulations upon a moral and religious people, that they might enjoy the fullest potential of freedom. It was just what Jesus was saying when he told disciples that “His yoke was easy, His burden was light.” “Yoke” meant His yoke of Torah, as a rabbi. Instead of adding to the 613 laws already on the books, and the countless thousands of fence laws, Jesus offered a light burden: namely, “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength … AND love your neighbor as yourself.” THAT’S why the religious establishment of Jesus’ time was up in arms. And when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, the external law which had been applied to make Israel aware of sin, was fulfilled by the INTERNAL law; a helper and encourager that would build Godly character from the inside out.
“Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength … AND love your neighbor as yourself.” It was that great commandment, plus a minimal framework of laws designed to preserve freedom called the U.S. Constitution, that was the intent of our founding fathers for every American. Remove the morality, and to keep the peace, government must grow beyond all comprehension … as man’s corrupted sense of right and wrong overrides the freedom of his neighbor. Limited government is a Biblical concept. May we be careful that it does not fall victim to the convenience — or the tyranny — of the moment.
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