“Creating a “moral and religious people” must be the priority of the Church as it engages in evangelism, discipleship, and the application of the faith to all of life.”
(Zachary Conover – The Sentinel) John Adams famously said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Adams recognized that as great as the ideals of liberty are, they can only be lived and applied by men whose hearts have been reformed to love such virtues.
Righteous hearts desire righteous laws. This is the key ingredient of any free society. And it is an ingredient we lack.
Law and order will only be enforced in a nation to the degree that its citizens are first enforcing it in their own hearts, lives, and homes. Self-government is the bedrock upon which the founding principles of America rest. Men who cannot rule their own spirits place themselves in danger of being conquered by their adversaries (Proverbs 25:28). History has borne witness to the reality that men will either be controlled by a power from within or compelled by an external, coercive force. When individuals refuse to govern themselves, they become vulnerable to the rule of tyrants.
Christians have understood the internal dynamic that creates self-ruled men and women to be the product of the Holy Spirit’s operation. Wherever God has come to dwell in the hearts of human beings, there it may be said that liberty exists: “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
True freedom is first and foremost freedom from slavery to sin (John 8:34). It is the result of an action initiated by God to deliver men from the dominion of death and transfer them into the kingdom of the beloved Son and his life-giving Lordship.
Unregenerate men may be able to exercise discipline, but the best they can hope for is to keep their sinful desires at bay or attempt to divert them. The self-governing Christian is not only able to restrain his fallen nature, but see it mortified and uprooted through the divine power at work in his life. Through his restored relationship to God, he aligns both himself and the world around him to the standard of God’s Word.
This is why those who have been made new creatures in Christ are the most transformative force the world has ever seen. A man saved by grace knows his God and is empowered to carry out mighty exploits in his name (Daniel 11:32).
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