Time for some controversy. I have been thinking a lot lately about the Amercian penchant for civil religion (banning same sex marriage, posting the ten commandments, making sure the pledge says in God we Trust)…and I am thinking that part of the reason the church is in so much trouble here is America is exactly that same love for civil religion. We have replaced a true and regenrating faith in the Jesus caused by the spirit of the Living God, with religious actions, mandated by a secular government.
I know some will say that this is not a bad thing but consider: when have right actions, separated from a right heart ever been anything but useless? Beyond that when has a right heart ever been a possibility apart from the regerating act of the Holy Spirit based upon the Atoning act of Jesus Christ? I would suggest that Christians have abdicated their responsibility to share the amazing message of the Kingdom of God for a focus on getting the government to legislate in their favor, in the name of that same God. The problem is that not only is it disobedient and ineffective, it is also perhaps a detriment to the Gospel. We run the danger of convincing broken people that they are more whole than they are and more able than they know, we convince them in short that they are “good” people. They aren’t.
This is not an insult but rather just a fact. It’s ok, I suck too. But Jesus saved me. He is my only hope. He is also the only hope for America. I say that in all seriousness. but not in the same “God Bless America the Chosen” sort of way I hear sometimes. Jesus is the only hope for America but not through legislation, through regeneration. The problem in this country is not that we don’t have enough laws or enough moral legislators, the problem is that apart for Jesus Christ there is no such thing as morality and as such no hope for a “moral” nation. The problem in America is that men and women are dead in their sin. I said dead. and I want you to think about what that means…it means dead. Dead. As in laying in a casket. That is the moral and spiritual state of our country. And yet we seem to be trying to solve the death problem with a better casket. That is what a moral system minus Jesus is. It dresses thing up but does not fix the problem. Dead people don’t need a better enviroment they need to breathe! When we fight to put the ten commandments up in the court house by arguing that they are “civil” or that we should display the Nativity in public spaces because it is “cultural” that is what we are doing: We are redecorating the casket. But our country does not need redecoration, it needs resurrection.
The Gospel is not civil or cultural, a set of rules for people outside of the faith to follow because Christ followers do. The “rules” of the Christian faith are designed for the followers of the Christian King. There is no more value in asking a non-Christ follower to act like one than there is in painting the toe nails on foot with gangorine. That foot has bigger issues! People who do not know Jesus do not need to follow our rules. They need to know our King!
There is coming a day when Christ will be worshiped by all and his physical Kingdom will descend on earth. But until that day may we be about the Kingdom that is established through regeneration not litigation.