We often hear discussions about the separation of church and state. There always seems to be a missing component in most of that kind of talk. Both are dependent on each other. Without the church, the state will sink into moral decay and once it becomes rotten to the core, it will be utterly destroyed.
The state must provide the environment in which the church can enjoy the freedom to complete its mission. The church is destined to be the world’s salt and light. It exists to offer the world, as secular and evil as it may become, the necessary preservatives for its existence and moral strength. The church with its light of truth and freedom enables men to know and experience life at its best.
The church can endure without the state, but it can flourish in a cooperative state that provides religious freedom. The state can endure for a little while without the church and then it will drown in its own slimy and evil regurgitation of ungodliness.
We live in a day when both state and church have bitter enemies who daily plot the destruction of both. If one goes down, the other will soon follow. Our nation now walks on shaky ground, trembling ground that threatens to give way beneath our feet. The bedrock of faith upon which the United States was built is being chiseled away on a daily basis.
We have enemies within and enemies without. They all seek our destruction. If they can tear away any part of our freedom, they will do so. They are relentless and ruthless.
Just two weeks ago, I heard a well-educated man say, “Every member of the United States Congress, the Supreme Court and the President and Vice President should be required to spend one week at colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, and listen to the leaders of our nation in its early days.
I am convinced that most of these people, few if any exceptions, from the President on down to the last elected representative actually know very little about how and why the United States came into existence. If they knew and cared, they would conduct the daily affairs of government in a much different manner.
Have you ever given any thought to what Jesus Christ, by far history’s greatest personality and wisest person, had to say about the government of His day? What was His attitude toward His own country? W. Beatty Jennings, who basically wrote the following outline, said, “Jesus Christ was a model citizen.”
1. Jesus loved His country, “His own country” (Mt. 13:54, 57).
2. He kept its laws, refusing to be made a king or start a political revolution (Jn. 6:15; and at his Triumphal Entry, Mk. 11:1-11).
3. He recognized the right of taxation (Mk. 12:17), and paid taxes (the temple tax, Mt. 17:24-27).
4. He was loyal to national institutions like the temple and synagogue.
5. Jesus recognized first claim of His country (Mt. 10:6; Lu. 24:47).
6. He warned it of its perils (Mt. 23:37-39).
7. Rebuked its officials (Mt. 23:1-36).
8. Jesus wept over its sins and impending doom (Lu. 19:41-44).
Our nation could be changed quickly if every leader elected to serve in our nation’s capitol and all our state capitols would read and obey these words of Jesus about citizenship.
As true as the rising and setting of the sun are these words of judgment upon our nation. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17). The promise of blessing is just as reliable. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).
The choice is ours to make.
Bill Ellis, Assist news Service