Of late, I have begun to understand that, where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, what we do has more impact than what we ( say we ) believe! However, as with most judgments, this statement comes with a caveat; if one acts religiously, according to what one says they believe, then belief must take the drivers seat, because if one believes rightly, they will do rightly, but on the other hand, if they believe wrongly, they will do wrongly, most of the time, irregardless of the law! The political State of the Union attests to this disturbingly manifest fact!
In this great nation of ours, the Rule of Law has, for a long time, been the prevalent theory behind our political machinations! For the most part & to a great extent, maybe, one could say that this is what has made our nation great! However, we as Christians know that it is our Heavenly Father who has allowed this nation to become great through that Rule of Law ( one might rather say, 'in spite of it' ). One question that should be asked here is, 'how is our nation great; what do we mean when we say that?' Is greatness dictated by Adherence to Law or is it revealed according to the Spirit of Love?
Comparison is often made, quite justly, I would add, between these United States & Israel of old, the children of Abraham according to the flesh, under that first covenant! Israel was given a set of Laws that were good & righteous; for awhile, through adherence to that Law, things went well, but eventually, because of inherent corruption, the Law brought condemnation to Israel! The situation in these United States today is very notably similar; our founding fathers, not unlike Moses, gave us a set of rules ( law ) to follow, in the form of the Constitution! For a time & even to some point it is true still today, adherence to this Law of the Land kept evil at bay, but of late in the last 150 years or so, because of corruption, this Law has brought death to life, yet again & quite literally!
This is not to say that the Constitution is itself evil or that it is unnecessary! As the Law was itself good, so the Constitution, when applied rightly, according to law, had a good effect & brought blessing, but when misapplied, it brought a curse & through corruption, death! One might say that through the Constitution, as through the Law, what was to life brought death! Because of corruptible man, the Constitution of these United States became a hindrance to itself, one might say, for it was written to guide a righteous people & when you try to apply a righteous law to an unrighteous people, though you may bear witness, for a time, to their outward obedience, eventually their inner corruption will erupt into chaos!
Through the politics of this nation, particularly our Foreign Policy, we have enjoyed the status of one of the greatest & most powerful nations on the face of the earth! Our greatness has come with a terrible price, though & for the past 150 years or so, it has slowly been taking its toll; we are one of the most hated, though feared ( with good reasons ) nations on earth, as well! Our Foreign Policy, with its seemingly insatiable appetite for destruction & desolation ( war ) has driven us to the brink of disaster! Now, I'm not saying that was is an unnecessary evil, for their is evil out there & it must be treated with, but, as a nation, we have embroiled ourselves, for whatever reason, in affairs not our own & made ourselves a stench in the nostrils of many nations!
Politics, as we have noted before, is a necessary tool for the survival of this nation, but in order for politics ( Constitutional L:aw ) to have any good & lasting effect, we must first witness a major & thorough revival, first, in the Church & through the Church, in the hearts of the American people! Much of the problem with the Church itself is that, institutionally speaking, the Church in America, anyway, has been living as under Law! Though the Law has come & made His home with us, we still look to a written revelation ( Law ) for guidance!
Law is good, and doubtless is necessary still for the containment of evil! Much evil, though, that we have seen in this nation's gloried & storied history could have been averted or avoided entirely by simply following the Law written on our hearts! By 'the Law written on our hearts', we refer simply to the willingness to do what is right, just because it is right, not out of fear of punishment or retribution.
The conclusion of the matter; politics will not save us, no matter how good, right & just they are! In order for politics to serve their purpose, for they do have a purpose to serve, there must first be a wholesale turning to Righteousness of the people of this great nation! We must repent of our wrongdoing & adopt a policy based on the Law of Love & the Scriptural injunction to treat others as we want others to treat us. We must decide, once for all, whether we will exist in fear, or whether we will live in love! Must we, like those under that first covenant, remain in a perpetual state of birthing, or will we acknowledge the Law written on our hearts, rather than tablets of stone & do righteously because we have been made righteous, not because we have a Law ( Constitution ) telling us to do rightly?
Charles Haddon Shank