Tuesday, July 2, 2019

America the Beautiful?

America the Beautiful  
There are many things we love about our country. As “America the Beautiful” recounts, we treasure its majestic mountains and fruited plains as well as the history of its people and their heroic sacrifices and achievements. We treasure our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, loudly proclaimed by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Our country truly has been blessed in many ways - compared to much of the world and much of history, our country is incredibly prosperous, powerful, and full of opportunity.

America the Perfect?
Yet, one thing that set apart our country from the beginning was our recognition that we were not perfect. The second verse of “America the Beautiful” includes these words,
“America, America,
God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self control,
Thy liberty in law.”
Some of us may find it quite easy to point out flaws in our society and our institutions. But the issue is not simply out there in other people. This is an issue rooted in human nature. Each one of us is morally flawed.

Our founding fathers understood this principle and designed our system of government with this in mind. Because human nature is naturally given to selfishness and moral corruption, checks and balances are needed in government. As James Madison wrote:
“But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external or internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” (Federalist No. 51, Feb. 8, 1788) 
Or as Patrick Henry put it:
“Notwithstanding what gentlemen say of the probable virtue of our representatives, I dread the depravity of human nature. I wish to guard against it by proper checks, and trust nothing to accident or chance.” (Elliot's Debates, vol. 3, June 12, 1788)
Americans, the Guilty
This has implications for civil government which our founders understood. It also has implications for you as an individual. You are not an angel. You have not been just towards God and man. Have you always served, loved, and worshipped God above all? Have you always loved your neighbor as yourself? If you are like the rest of humanity, you have dishonored God and your neighbor with your desires (such as greed, lust, pride), words (such as profanity, lies, unkind words), and actions. God is not one to look the other way when it comes to these evil deeds. He is a just ruler and will not approve of the guilty.

Americans, the Free?
Therefore, you stand condemned under the justice of God. Yet, God chose to free a people from this condemnation by sending His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus satisfied the justice of God by His sacrificial death on the cross, and offers forgiveness and reconciliation with God through faith in Him. If you repent and believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you shall be set free from condemnation and from the tyranny of sin: “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Jesus gained a pardon for His people and sends the Holy Spirit to transform their character so that, more and more, they begin to overcome the bondage of their old human nature, and begin to manifest love, righteousness, and self-control (Rom. 14:17, Gal. 5:22-23).

May God indeed shed His grace on America, mending its every flaw, and may He begin with you and me.

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