Today is a significant day in history.
It was on this day 240 years ago that the Continental Congress formally changed the name of the new nation to be the “United States” of America. This resolution by Richard Henry Lee replaced the term “United Colonies,” which had been in general use, and was so declared on September 9, 1776.
The United States of America speaks to many ideas and ideals. States rights. Independence from tyranny. A Democratic Republic. A more perfect union. Domestic tranquility. The blessings of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
It seems, however, that the USA is less united than at any time in my life time. We are polarized along party lines. There is a great divide regarding social, economic and environmental issues. The greatest rift, however, is in moral values that are eroding and changing.
While our forefathers came to America with a quest for religious freedom there was a general agreement of values. Our Declaration of Independence mentions God four times and acknowledges our rights emanate from the Creator.
Social engineering has trampled on the rights on the unborn child, redefined marriage, and systematically sought to remove the name of God from the public forum.
The United States of America began as “one nation under God.” Our pledge of allegiance acknowledges it. And our money says, “In God we trust.” Yet, the reality today is that our values as a nation have shifted to another world view. For several years polls have shown that the majority of Americans believe we are on the”wrong track.”
Of course, that means different things to different people depending on who you ask. I believe we are on the wrong track morally. Our national dysfunction is not the result of the wrong person or wrong party in the White House. And it will not be solved by a change of party or the emergence of a third political party.
Our culture has rejected the idea of sin. Abandoned moral absolutes. And turned to another world view. Cal Thomas, in his book, What Works, succinctly describes the two competing world views in America today.
“One says we are material and energy shaped by pure chance and random selection in an impersonal universe with no real purpose in life, no power for living and no destination after we die.” It is a secular view wrapped up in this life only.
“The other world view says we are created in the image and likeness of an objectively, existing, infinite, personal God, who loves us and has a plan for our lives, which is activated when we come to him on his terms through the salvation offered by his Son, Jesus. This world view says we do have a purpose on earth, a power for living our lives, a place called heaven, where we will spend eternity with perfect bodies and minds.”
Bible believers and religious leaders are engaged in a losing battle of trying to change our country through political activism. For all the efforts of “the religious right” over the past 30-40 years, little has changed. It fact, the moral state of America, as a nation, is probably worse.
The answer is not found in the right candidate, but the recognition of the reign of Christ. He said, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (Jn 18:36). The solution for change is found in the gospel of Christ. It is not only “the power of God to salvation,” it provides the basis for becoming a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17), for “putting off the old self with its evil practices’ (Col 3:9) and “being created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
While I am not critical of political involvement, voting your conscience in an election year and engaging in good social works, Christians must remember that our real purpose is spiritual. Our focus should be God-ward. Our faith is in the power of the gospel. And our hope lies, not in uniting the United States, but in being united with Christ.
Indeed, this world is not our home. Our true citizenship is in heaven.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman