Why Government is Not the AnswerBy S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries
John Adams, the second President of the United States, said, "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
Did you catch that? "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people." That is the reason the United States and many other countries in the world are in such terrible shape. Our world is becoming increasingly godless. While the vast majority of people in the world believe in the existence of God, an increasing majority live their lives as if God does not exist. While the same principles apply to other nations, for the rest of this article, we will be discussing the United States specifically.
I have no desire to ever run for political office. There are many ancillary reasons, but at the core I firmly believe that government is not the answer. There is no perfect government, because every government is filled with imperfect people. And while I believe the United States has (or had) the best government in the history of the world, it is failing due to precisely what John Adams declared. Our government is wholly inadequate to govern immoral, ungodly, and selfish people.
None of the political parties understand this. None of them seem to understand the Christian worldview of just how wretchedly sinful humanity is without Christ (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:18-32; 3:10-23). Is there a more apt description of modern non-Christian society than Genesis 6:5? "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time."
Take the financial collapse of 2008 as an example. Of course the cause was multi-faceted, but it was essentially caused by banks taking exorbitant risks on loans. The source of it all, ultimately, was greed. The Democratic solution is to add hundreds of new regulations. The Republican solution is to tweak the existing regulations. The Libertarian solution is to get rid of virtually all regulations. None of those solutions are truly solutions to anything. The problem is greed. It does not matter how many laws you create. Evil and greedy people will find ways around the laws or find lawyers to rescue them after they break the laws. Creating laws, tweaking laws, or removing laws will never solve the problem of greed. Greed is a result of all of us being infected with sin (Matthew 6:19-24; Luke 12:15; Ephesians 5:5; 1 Timothy 6:9-10; Hebrews 13:5). Government cannot cure it. Only Jesus Christ can deliver us from it!
I do not need a government to tell me that murder is wrong, that stealing is wrong, or that lying is wrong. I know these things are wrong because God has written His Law on my heart. Sure, governmental punishment is a deterrent, but ultimately I strive to avoid sin because I love God and want to live my life in a way that is pleasing to Him. That is the only biblically-valid deterrent to sin—not fines or prison sentences, but a desire to please God. That is what our society is lacking. And that explains why our country is floundering.
I am not saying that all of the early Americans or even all of the founding fathers were Christians. But at least they all had a biblically-informed view of the world and a Christian sense of morality. The Constitution is arguably the best piece of governmental legislation in the history of the world. But it is inadequate, for it does not function completely in a country that is increasingly filled with people who desire only evil all the time.
True change is only available through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The only reform that will truly impact our society is the reformation of people becoming new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) and having our minds transformed (Romans 12:1-2). You can shout "give me liberty or give me death" all day long, but unless that liberty is the liberation from sin through Jesus, everything in this world leads to death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Whether you built it, or didn't build it, you must ask this: is it built on sinking sand (Matthew 7:26) or on the rock (Matthew 7:24), Jesus Christ, the Chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20)?
Governing a godless, selfish, and greedy people is like trying to restrain the wind or grasp oil in your hand (Proverbs 27:16). Or, as John Adams so aptly put it, it is like trying to restrain a whale with a net. Our nets have improved significantly since John Adams' day, but due to the ever-increasing wickedness (Romans 6:19) of our society, the whale has become exponentially larger and more dangerous. Can you say leviathan?
"If you lay a hand on it, you will remember the struggle and never do it again! Any hope of subduing it is false; the mere sight of it is overpowering. No one is fierce enough to rouse it. " (Job 41:8-10)
Image Source: Kim Davis; "US Constitution"; Creative Commons
Tags: False-Teaching | Political-Issues
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