Lord Acton stated, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”This premise is confined exclusively to the human realm; it is not a true premise when it comes to Almighty God. All authority, might and power belong to Him, yet He is without sin and there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning in His dealings with men and nations (Matthew 28:18-20; James 1:17b). 1 John 1:5 affirms this aspect of God’s holy character, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
The founding fathers of America were very much aware of this human proclivity and the temptations associated with power. This is why they went to painstaking lengths to establish our government with checks and balances. Thankfully, they held to a Biblical understanding of human nature. They were not humanists, secularists, or atheistic in their orientation. They did not believe according to modernity that men were inherently good and the source of our problem was environmental.
It is this humanistic environmentalism movement that is responsible for transforming criminals into victims and blaming society for their crimes. It seeks to remove personal responsibility and accountability. It blames outward influences as the determining factor, which directs men’s actions. The Marxist, Lincoln Steffens, seeking to justify this premise theologically declared, “It was, it is, the apple.” Thus, according to communism, socialism and every other statist, totalitarian system of men, the blame lies not with the disobedience of man to God’s revealed will. It was not the treacherous act of our first parents against their Creator. No, man’s wretched condition stems from the environment, “the apple.”
It is this underlying worldview, which is responsible for liberals, communists, socialists, humanists, and secularist’s attraction to seats of governmental authority. Since these “true believers” reject the existence of God, His merciful offer of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, and future rewards and punishment, they honestly think that man’s perfection can be realized on earth by statist manipulation of “law” and socialistic public policy. The Obama administration follows this line with unerring devotion.
The Christian faith rejects this erroneous notion. Law as a basis of man’s salvation makes the cross of Christ and the grace of God null and void. Though true Christians believe this, we have also failed in our relationship to civil government. We hear, “Politics is a dirty business.” Thus many Christians avoid it like the plague. Most do not realize our departure from civil service has inadvertently abandoned civil government to those who have deified it. Through our silence and inaction, the church enables foes within our own national household to remake America in their perverted image.
True Christians know that man is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8, 9). The law was not meant to save, but to convict men of their sin and thus drive them to the mercy seat of Christ. The Apostle Paul taught, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).” No manipulation of laws and public policy can perfect men from without. For one simple reason, the true source of man’s problems originates from within.
In Matthew 15:19, 20, Jesus zeroed in on the source of man’s dilemma. He stated, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” According to King David, man is conceived in sin and goes astray from the womb (Psalm 51:5; 58:3).
The Apostle Paul affirms this theme, which reveals the true state of mankind. Romans 3:10-18 states:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
It was this Biblical worldview of the human condition that provided America with our three branches of government. James Madison, our fourth president and chief architect of our Constitution stated, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” In fact, to the surprise of many, the legislature, executive and judicial aspects of our government find its source directly from Scripture. Isaiah 33:22 states, “For the Lord is our judge (Judicial branch), the Lord is our lawgiver (Congress), the Lord is our king (Executive); he will save us.”
Before Christianity took root and flourished in the earth, man was subject to pagan governments, which the Bible refers to as “BEAST.” The beast was a deified state. This form of heathen rule that was prevalent amongst men and nations not only demanded lawful submission to civil authority, but idolatrous worship as well. It promoted the emperor cult worship that was prevalent before the birth of Christ, the true God/Man. Under this tyrannical form of government the greatest atrocities known to man were perpetrated.
In history, this oppressive form of government evolved into a doctrine known as the “divine rights of kings.” A brave preacher by the name of Samuel Rutherford denounced this hellish tenant by writing his classical book called Lex Rex. The issue he took on and eventually took out was the “king as law” doctrine. According to Rutherford, law, God’s law, is king. Therefore, the king is not above the law or the determiner of law, (there is only one lawgiver, God) but he, himself is subject to the law and must use his office to uphold it. This is the historical understanding that was foundational to our America Republic. America would not be ruled by kings, personalities, and the whims of men, but by the rule of law in a representative government.
Once again, this system of thought comes straight from the Scripture. Deuteronomy 17:18-20 states:
And it shall be, when he (king) sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
Thanks to Lex Rex and the “Law is King” doctrine; the world experienced a fresh wave of freedom. Tyranny, oppression and dictatorships were overthrown. Thus, wherever Christianity was planted and allowed to flourish the decentralization of power followed in its righteous wake. Of course, America today is learning the hard way what happens to a people that rejects this knowledge of God in the public life of our nation. We are resorting back to the brutal darkness of paganism with all its evil fruit, such as, tyrannical civil government, unjust laws, child killing, (abortion) and sexual immorality, which includes fornication, adultery, and homosexuality.
Our founding fathers believed there were two main enemies that would destroy America’s experiment with liberty. They were licentiousness amongst the citizens and tyranny in civil government. Thus, to the degree licentiousness grows amongst the citizenry, to the same degree tyrannical civil government expands. This truth is based upon Proverbs 28:2, which warns, “For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.”
This passage teaches that when a nation becomes lawless, it automatically creates a bureaucratic blob that crushes freedom. Why, because lawless people lose the moral fortitude to correctly handle their freedom. They foolishly turn liberty to licentiousness, which leads to anarchy and anarchy inevitably leads to tyranny. America must return ASAP to our historical and Biblical root system, which is, self-government is the key to liberty.
Robert Winthrop grants incredible insight concerning this foundational principle. He stated:
All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them, or a power without them; either by the word God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.
Remove these premises and America will spin out of control. Is it any wonder that our freedoms are being threatened by forces from within and from without. The inmates are running the asylum, while the Islamic hordes smell our moral rot. Like Nero before us, America parties and fiddles while our nation is burning.
Nevertheless, it was these fundamental truths, which blessed America in times past. We believed that we were One Nation under God. Our national motto is “In God We Trust.” It is not the gods, but the one true and living God, the God of the Bible, the Triune God of Holy Scripture, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When mankind rejects this Biblical truth of God’s sovereignty, however, man has only two other failed options available.
First, the state is sovereign and the ultimate authority, which historically has led to every murderous regime that has crushed the freedoms, lives, and property of those they claim to serve. In the 20th century alone, hundreds of millions of innocent people were massacred by this monstrous lie. The second option is man as an individual is sovereign, which leads to anarchy, chaos, and confusion.
The prophet Jeremiah reveals our current malaise in America, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:13).” Only One Nation under God can secure social order on the one hand and individual freedom on the other. Only One Nation under God can maintain the delicate tension between authority and liberty. All else is sinking sand and cisterns that can’t hold water.