Friday, February 5, 2021

 A “Christian” “Godly” Nation

A preface to this article. I want it to be clear that I do not hate this country. I am very grateful that God privileged me to be able to live in this country where we have freedoms that many in the world do not. However, I think it is very important that our patriotism for our earthly country be under subjection to God. God has shown grace and favor to our country for a long time, but that does not mean that we can claim some special place because of something we have done.

I believe that the idea of “A Christian nation” or “Godly Nation” is a deceiving distraction of Satan on the Church of Jesus Christ in America. On the surface, it might appear to be a “good” thing, but when Satan offers us something that appears to be “good,” we are at our most vulnerable, because the only way to discern the true nature of what is being presented is to turn to God’s Word. Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. You can read in Matthew 4 how Jesus responded. The idea seemed “good.” Jesus could just take over the rule of all the kingdoms of this world and bring in justice and peace. That was not God’s way, and it would require giving glory to Satan. If Satan were to just attack directly by bringing persecution, the church would turn to God in true worship and looking to God for deliverance.

This idea of America being a “Christian” or “Godly” nation has no basis in God’s Word. What we find in this dispensation is a church which is made up of individuals that are redeemed by the blood of Jesus, from every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. Everything in the NT, especially the letters of the Apostle Paul, written specifically as instruction to The Church (every born again person), is written as to individuals and assemblies. As Jesus walks among the candlesticks (Rev 1:13), He is judging The Church, not the nations. There is certainly judgment coming for the nations, but the candlesticks do not represent any nation, they represent the Church (people from every nation). 

We find ourselves in danger of becoming self sufficient and believing that we must make sure that this remains a “Godly” nation. If we just vote for the right person, or if we just get the right judges, or just write the right laws, we will maintain a “Godly” nation, and we can then boast in that. Our attention is distracted from our heavenly citizenship towards a kingdom here. God is working today in the lives of individuals that make up the church. There is no imperative in the Bible for us to create a “Godly” nation, and there is no promise of a “Godly” nation. That was God’s working with Israel. There will be no truly righteous nation until Christ is reigning over this world as He will in the end.

Notice that I place “Godly” in quotation marks, because we are also equating a nation that does things in a certain way to being “Godly.” What is the measure for this? Is it getting rid of abortion? Is it getting rid of same sex marriage? Is it having the ten commandments in all of our government buildings? What other things? God’s Word speaks of individuals as being righteous, because of the righteousness of Jesus, not because we managed to keep the Law. When we think we can alter our own behavior to be righteous, that is called self righteousness and stinks in God’s opinion.

God’s Word makes it very clear that we cannot measure up to God’s righteous standard on our own. Romans 3:19-20. The Law given by God was not able to be obeyed by His chosen people Israel, and not by the Gentiles. Only the life of Christ makes it possible for us to be considered righteous. Romans 3:21-22. Why do we think that those that are unbelievers will be able to live godly and righteously? They cannot.

There is a real desire to want to live in a society that is structured according to God’s Word, and that can be considered “righteous.” We want to live in a place where we have freedom to worship as we see fit, and proclaim God’s Word without retribution. This desire is not bad in itself, and that actually has been somewhat the situation in our country for many years, as we have had an unbelievable amount of religious freedom. However, there is nothing in God’s Word that would lead us to believe that we should be trying to create this kind of society. In fact, quite the opposite. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. If everything is easy, and there is nothing against us, we will become complacent and fail to grow spiritually; which is exactly what is happening in our country.

Paul lived in a perverse nation that was definitely not Christian. Not one time does he mention anything about changing that nation to a “Christian” nation. Not once does he write about our role in making sure society is structured according to God’s Word. Why do we think we are smarter than Paul or the Holy Spirit that inspired what he wrote.

Many take OT scriptures and misapply them to our current situation, believing that God promised us something that He did not. 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” This is often used to refer to our nation, and yet it has nothing to do with our nation. God did promise a land and a nation to Israel, and He will fulfill that promise one day. He did not make a similar promise to us, because our promise is of a heavenly kingdom. This is why Paul reminded Timothy that he needed to be “rightly dividing the word of truth.” Jesus tells us clearly where our kingdom is. John 18:36. Philippians 3:20 tells us our citizenship is in heaven. It certainly is good to humble ourselves and pray, but not for the reason listed in 2 Chronicles.

Satan is a master of misdirection. He puts something up for us to see, and makes it look like something that really is good (a Christian Nation). “Look over here,” while keeping us from paying attention to what really matters. It is not possible to work on creating a “righteous” “Christian” nation while also building an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and bringing the lost to Jesus. The fight that ensues only turns people away from Jesus. The leadership of our nation is God’s business, and He will arrange it as necessary to accomplish His sovereign will. Daniel 2:20-21, Daniel 4:17.

So, what do we do? What has God called us to do?  Philippians 2:14-16. Our lives are to reflect the life of Christ that is in us. It is to bring a light that points others to Jesus. Trying to prove ourselves more righteous than others is not doing that. Showing love to others (Christians and non-Christians) is how we do that. John 13:35. 1 Thessalonians 3:12. Praying for our nation and for it’s leaders (whoever they are) 1 Timothy 2:1-4. Submitting to God’s will even when that means leaders that we don’t like.

Gordon Crook