Often I write posts when inspiration strikes. When that happens, I have an excuse to delay writing those posts I have taken up the responsibility to write without quite knowing what I was going to say. Eventually, however, I have to scratch my head, pray, write, and hope for the best. I have to educate myself so I can write those posts that puzzle me. Here is one of those posts.
Here we take up where the following two posts left off.
- POORLY TAUGHT — PART 1: This post introduced the debate between tsalmon (Tony) and myself. The topic is Socialism as it applies to education.
- POORLY TAUGHT — PART 2: Here we considered ‘s misunderstanding of Socialism.
So what is this post, part 3, about? The topic here is the reason the founders of this nation created a constitutional republic. Unlike Socialists or Statists, those who favor a constitutional republic generally accept the plain fact that mankind is deeply flawed. Constitutional Conservatives understand we cannot trust ourselves, a select few, or even the majority, with unlimited power over the People. To avoid abusing each other, we must respect each others God-given rights and strive to limit the powers of government to those powers required to protect our rights.
What is this notion of God-given rights? Where does it come from? The Old Testament contains the Mosaic Code. The core of that code is the Ten Commandments. Protestants generally reference Exodus 20:1-17. Catholics prefer slightly latter version, Deuteronomy 5:6-21, but both passages are basically the same. God begins the commands by telling us to respect His rights. Then He issues more commandments telling us to respect each others rights. In fact, much of what the Mosaic Code is about — what the Old Testament Law is about — is showing us how to love God and each other by respecting God’s and each other’s rights. Unfortunately, because we are fallen creatures, we cannot perfectly obey the law. The people of Israel tried time and time again, but they failed. The Book of Judges demonstrates their failure most graphically and most horrifically, ending mournfully with the theme of the book.
Judges 21:25 New King James Version (NKJV)
25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
That verse sounds so innocuous. When I first read it, I had no idea of its significance. What it says is that instead of seeing their words and deeds through God’s eyes, everyone in Israel just said and did what seemed best for him or her self, almost indifferent to the harm they did to each other. In fact, the Old Testament records repeated failures by the people of Israel to obey the Law. Hence, in Romans 3:9-20 the Apostle Paul puts together a scathing indictment of mankind by constructing a chain of Old Testament quotations, mainly from the Psalms.
So what is the problem? If the Bible says we are sinners, why don’t people believe we are sinners? It seems we don’t want to believe we are sinners. Because relatively few people in the United States have both read the Bible and believed what they read, most Americans are comfortable telling themselves this: “I am a good person.” Unfortunately, if we think we good, we are wrong. As Romans 3:10 says: “There is none righteous, no, not one.”
Because repentance is the first step in admitting our need for a Savior and accepting Christ, Christian evangelists strive to convince unbelievers of their sinfulness. That is not easy. Our pride demands that we believe in ourselves, and the world is quite ready to help.
- How to Know if You Are a Good Person (psychologytoday.com): Modern secular psychologists will try to convince us we have evolved to be good, that evil people are just genetic misfits.
- Are you a good person? Morality experts say this is how to find out (usatoday.com): Morality “experts”, the self appointed high priests of Secularism, leave it up to you.
- Are you a good person? (telegraph.co.uk): Of course, Secularists have their tests too.
So how do we convince the unsaved of their sinfulness? We probably cannot. All we can do is present the Gospel and let God do the rest.
When there is an emphasis on repentance, the Gospel looks like this.
Since most people commit what seems to them like small sins, the argument in the video above that we are all sinners probably doesn’t carry much weight. Yet this is the point of a short little story God thought important enough to include in three of the Gospels: Mathew (Matthew 19:16-26), Mark (Mark 10:17-22) and Luke.
Luke 18:18-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler
18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”
21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
What did Jesus tell the young man? It is easy to miss, but God does not tell everyone to sell all that they have and give it away. Even though he thought himself a good person, this young man relied more upon his wealth than he relied upon God. Given we come into this world empty handed and leave the same way, that’s stupid, but stupid we are.
Why don’t most of us commit what seem like great sins? Is it because we are good? No. Most of us only have the opportunity to give in to small temptations. Imagine being Jesus after 40 days of fasting in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13). Would you or I have given in when Satan tempted us in our starvation with delicious bread, provoked us in our pride to demonstrate our power, or promised us a kingdom that encompassed the entire world?
Just how good are we? Can we be trusted to rule with unrestrained power over each other? If the answer is no, then shouldn’t we show more respect for the limits our Constitution puts upon our government?
The government, however, is a relatively minor matter. What should concern us is the salvation of our souls.What is the solution for that?
Habakkuk 2:4 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 “Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.
To live, to be justified before our Father in heaven, we must put our faith — our trust — in the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. If we can admit we are sinners — if we can repent of our sins — then we can admit we need Him.
- Why Are We Born Sinners? A Bible Study (whatchristianswanttoknow.com)
- Are we all born sinners? (gotquestions.org)
- The Good Person Test: Are You Good? (goodpersontest.com)