How to turn the U.S. around: an Independence Day reflection

Liberty is a precious blessing, one that is being undermined both in the U.S. and in many places around the world. Today’s great threat is not communism nor, we would venture to say, Islamic domination, which are external dangers, but hedonism, that internal cancer which eats away at the American soul from within and which necessarily opposes the preaching of the gospel and the principle of selflessness taught in family and religion.

So the American Independence Day provides a moment of thanksgiving, among Americans and all those who cherish freedom, for those founders who, upon religious principle, and guided in large part by the truths of the Bible, gave thirteen British colonies a form of government perhaps more just and free than had been witnessed to that point. That hedonists and materialists have turned the country in a new direction does not diminish the magnitude of that original project.

Hedonism would appear to be a stepchild of materialism, and for both, in their American manifestations, only a spiritual remedy will suffice. Politics has long been rigged to favor those who wish to undermine the system. Catholicism, as the New York state law permitting homosexual unions demonstrated, has not the strength to oppose it. Evangelicals have confessed their influence is powerless to wield change. Mainstream Protestants, of course, are prime movers toward any new sexual ethic and readily stamp their approval on the latest social constructs, in order to maintain their reputation as avant-guard Modernists.

Even if politics provided conservatives a means to preserve righteousness, and even if fractured and diluted Christendom established some semblance of morality in American society, the followers of Christ continue to have, for every societal ill, for every vice or virtue, for any political contingency, the same solution: the proclamation of the gospel to transform individuals.

Society is not changed on a macro level, but through the influence exercised upon a single person. Brazilians have a saying that each country has the government it deserves; that general rule expresses a truism that government is one manifestation of a culture’s principles and values. If a government is to be improved, then the change must start with the people.

Let us, therefore, never underestimate the power of one. Nor our capacity, yours and mine, to effect change in this world. Satan whispers in our ears that our efforts are useless, impotent, and unnoticed. God tells us otherwise, if we will listen, and if we will persevere in the good work of the gospel.

Frightened by the whirl of surrounding changes, lulled by pleasures of this life, enticed by the possessions of modern technology, so many of our brethren have surrendered to popular culture and religion, have closed themselves off within the four walls of a sanctuary, or have substituted benevolence or politics for the gospel.

Will we as well?

If we but stay the course, repent of our stubbornness against the will of the Father, plunge into the fray, and proclaim with boldness and courage the simple gospel of the Kingdom, the plains will again be lit with the fires of the Spirit and the mountains will again sing the praises of their Maker.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 ESV).

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