The nature of a government is often a trustworthy bellwether of the spiritual status of the people it governs. When a nation tends toward righteousness, the government tends to serve them, whereas when a nation apostatizes, its people soon find themselves servants of government. Governmental oppression is always the product of sin and rebellion. The rebellion against God and His righteousness by the majority in our nation today is reflected in every area of society: the murder of millions of helpless babies in the womb, the excusing of criminal behavior, the teaching of the moral equivalence of all religions, the increasing violence of all kinds, the rejection of moral absolutes, to name just a few. There can be no genuine morality, no peace, no safety and security, no sense of well-being, no general prosperity, in short, nothing that “promote[s] the general welfare” for a nation in flagrant rebellion against God.
Those who pursue a just and honorable society while rejecting God, specifically as revealed in the Person and redemptive work of His Son, Jesus Christ, are on a fool’s errand. They are attempting to grasp a shadow all the while refusing the substance. And those who look for a political solution to a spiritual problem are doomed to disappointment and failure. Even if the very best candidate possible were elected President, given the spiritual climate today, it would be no more beneficial than applying makeup to the face of a corpse—it might look better for a few days, but the body would be just as dead and would continue to rot.
That having been said, there is no hope for America collectively (and there never has been). God once chose a nation and gave them this promise: “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (II Chron. 7:13, 14). That promise belonged to the nation of Israel, not the United States of America. This nation is neither “His people” nor “called by His name.”
Promises today pertain to individuals. For example, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9); or, “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). The message that believers should be declaring today, then, should not be focused on the government or the nation as a whole but personally and on individuals.
We have no biblical promise, hence no sound expectation, for a just government. All the apostles were martyred by governmental authorities, except John, who survived severe persecution. Paul, too, was martyred by the authority of the government of Rome. It is certainly true that there is a strong correlation between good government and the prevalence of the truth of the gospel, but God deals with individual hearts. It is also true that we should pray for our nation as a whole and the various institutions of government on all levels (e.g., I Tim. 2:1, 2), but good government is not the solution to the ills of our nation because, in the ultimate sense, our national ills are really the total of our individual ills.
When we mention that someone has cancer, we recognize that the individual is sick as a whole being. But when addressing the problem, the cancer cells must be eradicated individually through surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy location-by-location and cell-by-cell. The “body” is not well until the individual parts are freed from cancer cells. Our duty is to be spiritual surgeons who wield the scalpel of the Word not at the body as a whole (an impossibility) but at precise, specific locations where we come find the cancer of sin in our own lives and the lives of those around us.
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