“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (John Adams)
When a Constitution is set up as a founding document as a limit on government (which the United States of America’s is), then it follows that the people must therefore be self-governing for the Constitution to be effective.
Living in a democratic republic, it can be easy to think that all nations on earth should be able to have government that we have and make it a success. The unfortunate reality is that that is not true. If freedom is not in the lifeblood of the people of the nation, the kind of republic that America has touted as a beacon of freedom to the world cannot always be replicated. Whether it’s the French Revolution in 1789, the Bolshevik uprising in 1917, or the Arab Spring of 2011, sometimes a revolution is merely exchanging one kind of tyrant for another.
This isn’t a political blog and this post isn’t commentary on the U.S.’s foreign policy. I merely am making the statement that without a love of liberty (and in my belief, a judeo-Christian worldview), a democratic republic may not be the answer for any and all societies and nations.
But how does that relate to a spiritual application? Am I saying that not everyone deserves freedom?
Not at all!
Oftentimes, critics will say “Well, the Bible never condemned ____,” or “Jesus never spoke against _____.” Fill in the blank: slavery, polygamy, etc. They use this statement to discredit the Bible, but they are looking at the soil of the field, and not recognizing the treasure buried underneath.
Jesus often spoke to His disciples with the message that His kingdom was not of this world. When He came the first time, His kingdom did not lie within the geographical boundaries of the Fertile Crescent, but within the fertile hearts of His listeners.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27, KJV)
This was spoken to Israel, and their time of future glory has yet to come, but the Old Testament was God showing his people that they could not keep the Spirit of His laws without His Spirit within them.
Jesus could have (and oftentimes) did speak against sins, but He knew that preaching against the outward actions of sin without the heart being changed is merely a temporary fix.
How does speaking against slavery make sense when our hearts are in bondage?
How does condemning polygamy have success without knowing the reality of Christ as a servant husband and the church as a submissive bride?
How does judging racism matter if we don’t see Jesus as the creator and redeemer of all humans of every background?
When Jesus changes us from dead men that can only tell tales, to men and women living in the Truth, then we will see the wrong in slavery, and racism, and polygamy, and misogyny, because we will see people as valued men and women created in the image of a just, loving, and holy God.
Those of us that want to always find political answers in the Bible (or those that want to discredit the Bible) have to be reminded that Jesus had a greater vision than changing the laws of one nation.
He came to change the hearts of all mankind.