As a citizen of the United States, I am thankful for the freedoms that I have. I appreciate the freedom of the press which allows me to write without fear of reprisals from my government. I am grateful that I can freely assemble with my brethren and openly worship God. I am glad that our founding fathers created a government that is not beholden to any particular religious creed, church, or denomination; but that all are free to seek God as directed by Him and their consciences.
There has been great political debate over Jefferson's reference to a “wall of separation” between church and state. In so far as “separation” has been enforced to keep the government from running churches and churches from running the government, I am thrilled. However, with increasing frequency we are seeing the courts extrapolating the separation of church and state into a separation of faith and law. In other words, if the courts suspect that faith in God has at all motivated or influenced state-sponsored activity, school board decisions, or legislative action in any way, then they are declared unconstitutional.
Last year a Colorado court overturned the decision of a jury to sentence a man to death because the jury considered what the Bible might have to say on the matter of capital punishment. The jury had an obligation to make every effort to arrive at a just and moral conclusion. In an effort to do this the jury referenced a widely-accepted moral guide. The judge had not turned sentencing over to a church but to twelve individuals who came from different backgrounds. A juror was just as free to reject the references to Scripture as to accept them. No government or church forced the jurors to give consideration to the Bible.
That the jury's consideration of the Bible constituted no breach in Jefferson's wall of separation is made especially clear by the fact that individuals and churches which use the Bible as their moral guide have come to different conclusions on the morality of capital punishment. What if the ones who had brought in the Bible had done so to plead for mercy in sparing the convicted man's life? What if the jury had rejected the testimony of Scripture as not being relevant to their case and therefore decided against capital punishment? Would the courts have ordered him executed? Certainly not!
Honestly, I found it refreshing that a group of men and women attempting to come to a consensus on a matter of morality turned to the Bible for guidance. Oh that God's word could have that position of influence in more courtrooms and jury deliberations! Oh that the Bible could have that position of influence in the halls of government, the boardrooms of our companies and schools, and in our families! Perhaps, then, more churches would begin using it again.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7). It is foolishness to impress jurors with the importance and gravity of doing their utmost to make a moral decision and then deprive them of a standard of morality which they wish to consult.
I suppose the next step in the attempt to divorce faith from law will be to instruct jurors to disregard their consciences if they have been educated in the Scriptures. Expert after expert on matters of law, psychology, biology, physics, and ethics can be paraded before jurors in an effort to influence them, but the influence of Scripture is somehow deemed unconstitutional.
On June 28th, 1787, in the midst of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin (a representative of no church) recalled that during the war in that very hall they had often prayed to God for His assistance. James Madison quoted Franklin as saying:
“And have we forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, [Franklin was 81] and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth--that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice [Mt. 10:29] is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it’ [Ps. 127:1]. I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building, no better than the builders of Babel” [Gen. 11:1-9] (Notes on Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, Ohio University Press, 1985, p. 209).
If referencing the Bible as a guide is unconstitutional behavior in matters of law and government and therefore invalidates any conclusions reached under its influence, then it would appear that the United States Constitution itself is unconstitutional. Of course, this is nonsense. What is unconstitutional is denying men and women the freedom to use the Bible as a legitimate moral voice and influence. Yet that is happening.
As citizens of this country, we may have some legitimate concerns with respect to our eroding freedom to preach the word of God. Nevertheless, our first century brethren never had such a luxury. Let us respond as they did. “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Ac. 5:29) and go everywhere preaching the word (Ac. 8:4). God help us to be counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus, and let us not cease teaching and preaching Him as the Christ (Ac. 5:41,42). (http://www.thinkonthesethings.com)
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How do we make sure that we are among the few who are saved and not among the many who are lost (Matthew 7:13-14)? Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then will I declare to them, I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness". If we believe and call Jesus, "Lord, Lord", we are still lost if we have not done God’s will.
On Judgment Day many will be pleading with Jesus, calling him Lord, Lord, and reminding him of the many wonderful works that they had done in His name, but He will say unto them, "I never knew you, depart from Me you who practice lawlessness". Why? Why? They had not done the will of the Father in heaven. The worst thing that will ever be said to an individual is when the Lord on Judgment Day says to the majority of people, "Depart from Me, I never knew you". There will be no appeal to this decision. We have to get it right the first time.
These people in the above scripture seemed to be honest, but they were honestly mistaken as the majority of people are today. Apparently they were good people, because they had "done many wonderful works". But they had not done the will of the Father, which is in heaven. No single condition, that God imposes, can be ignored. God has no non-essential commands. When we fail to obey a command of God, we have just broken it. We must obey God by doing what God says to do, when God says to do it, how God says to do it, and for the reason God says to do it. Nothing is more important than pleasing God by doing His will so that we can go to Heaven. God’s will is found right in our Bibles. (http://www.netbiblestudy.net)