Our liberties are being stripped from us daily. From sea to shining sea, ridiculous restrictions are being placed on freedoms, and penalties are being levied against the people. The government is overstepping its bounds, and the American people are sitting back and doing little, if anything, to stop it. But this should come as no surprise.
When the U.S. Constitution was penned in 1789, there were only three Federal crimes: treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. And while the number of Federal laws has necessarily grown over our nation's history, that number has skyrocketed during the last fifty years. Today, there are over 4,500 federal crimes that can result in imprisonment and thousands more which result in fines. This doesn't include the countless additional laws at the state, county, and city level.
Many of these laws are necessary and have been implemented for legitimate reasons. Still, for a nation that prides itself on being "free," it would seem that this freedom is eroding. The City of Los Angeles is seeking to "encourage" its citizens to eat vegetarian on what it is calling "Meatless Mondays." And of course there is New York City's infamous ban preventing restaurants from selling soft drinks larger than 16 ounces. While these are extreme examples and outside the norm for most of the country, they do beg the question: Is this really the type of thing that our government should be concerning itself with?
One of the United States' most important founding fathers, William Penn, wrote: "Those whowill not be ruled by Godwill be ruled by tyrants." This has proven to be true time and again over the history of our nation. As Americans have moved further and further away from the standard of Scripture, the government has stepped into the void and instituted its own controls.
It is commonly taught that the Law of Moses – the Torah – has 613 positive and negative laws. Most of these could not be kept today, even if one wanted to, due to the fact that the Temple service does not take place. But even obedience to the Ten Commandments would be enough to ensure a peaceful and just society. Jesus simplified it even more when He said that all of the Law and the Prophets were summarized in two commandments: love God and love others.
Scripture is clear that we are saved only by the grace of God. It is just as clear, though, that there is a holy standard that God expects us to live by. But the Church in America has overemphasized grace to the point that most Christians, and society itself, has forgotten God's standards. Just as law without grace is a burden that no man can bear, so grace without law is a burden that will destroy society. The Church of Jesus Christ has walked this tight rope for 2,000 years. Unfortunately though, the Church's unbiblical emphasis of grace apart from law has forced the Church out of balance and greatly damaged America. I believe that the deterioration of society that has resulted from this overemphasis on grace has opened the door for the government to seek to correct this problem. Could it be that our desire to live apart from Biblical law has resulted in a willing submission to governmental tyranny?
Corruption and vice and decadence and evil have crept into every area of society. So the government has sought to correct this by instituting more laws. But our lawmakers and leaders have forgotten one important truth: laws don't make a person do the right thing. So society continues the downward spiral: laws are broken; people are punished; new laws are instituted to prevent further wrongs; those laws are broken; and liberty is taken away. The whole while, the root of the problem goes unaddressed.
The remedy for this problem is a clear understanding by those within the Church, and those outside of it, that the only cure for sin is the Spirit of God that comes into the lives of an individual who has seen their own failure to meet the standards of God's Law, and acknowledged their need for a Savior.
John Wesley said, "Before I preach love, mercy, and grace, I must preach sin, law, and judgment." He later went on to write this advice to a young evangelist: "Preach ninety percent law, and ten percent grace." C.H. Spurgeon said, "I do not believe that any man can preach the Gospel who does not preach the Law." And John Newton, who penned the lyrics to "Amazing Grace," said, "Ignorance of the design and nature of the Law is at the bottom of most religious mistakes."
In today's American Church, we love to talk and preach and sing about grace, and we should. It is the grace of God that brings salvation to us. But let us remember why we need salvation: we are sinners. There is a standard that must be lived up to. We have failed in the past and will continue to in the future. But what kind of insanity would preach that because we have failed to meet the holy standard that God has set for humanity in the past and are in need of the amazing grace of God, it has become no longer necessary to seek to live according to that standard in the future?
Instead of following the simple laws that God instituted in Scripture and that our nation was built upon, we've repeatedly turned away from those and surrendered ourselves and our liberties over to corrupt politicians who seek to garner more power. We condemn and criticize anyone who might suggest that God's standards should be followed, while we allow human leaders to exert more control over every area of our lives. This doesn't make sense.
The choice is pretty easy to me: fight to see America return to the simple standard of the Ten Commandments, or continue to allow the government to add thousands upon thousands more laws to the books.