Thursday, April 25, 2013

Passing Laws To Make Unbelievers Behave As Christians

Many Christians are actively participating in campaigns to pass laws in the United States based on their interpretation of the Holy Bible so that those who are not believers according to their understanding will have to behave in a way that the Christian community finds acceptable to God. And we, as a community are very passionate about seeing these laws passed and our stated goal is so that God will bless our country. However, in my recent Bible studies, I've found several scriptures that have made me reconsider the idea of passing laws to force the unbeliever to "behave."

In the 7th verse of the 8th chapter of the book of Romans, Paul writes: "Because the carnal (unsaved, fleshly) mind is enmity (hostile, antagonistic) against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." In Galatians 3:16, Paul contends with Peter and states: "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ...for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified." In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus, Himself, tells us that He came to fulfill the law. And in Acts chapter 15, Peter is amazed that the Jewish Christians are trying to force the Gentile Christians to follow the law. This is what he had to say about that in verses 10 and 11: "Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke (the law) on the necks of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they."

Now, I know many Christians say that they are working to enact certain laws in the United States so that they can fulfill the scripture, 2 Chronicles 7:14: "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land." But what we miss in reading that scripture is it is those of us who are called Christians who need to become humble and pray and seek God's face while turning away from our own wickedness that God will hear from heaven and forgive us our sins and heal our land. There's nothing in that scripture that says anything about forcing the unbeliever to stop sinning in order to bring about God's healing of our land. First of all, God was speaking of the nation of Israel at the time of Solomon. Israel was a theocracy; a nation that was founded based on God's law and the serving of God. The United States is not a theocracy, though some do believe that we are. We are a nation that was founded as a democratic republic, and while religious freedom was one of the reasons for the founding of this country, the nation was never intended to be a theocracy. And because of the religious freedom our forefathers sought, we must allow those who do not follow our version or style of religion to worship, or not worship, as they see fit. Even Jesus told us that we're not to force someone when He told the disciples in Matthew 10:14, that if we present the gospel and they reject it, we are to walk away from them, leaving them be. And the truth of the matter is, by passing these laws we're trying to do something that even God hasn't done: take away the free will of the people. We want to force them to behave the way we think they should, regardless of what they want to do. Are we really more knowledgeable and higher than God that we have the right to usurp someone's free will?

We will not be responsible for the sins of others. We are only responsible for our sins. Yet, if we continue to work to force people to behave like Christians or to become Christians, then we begin to walk that line between sinning and not. We need to seriously rethink the way we portray God to the world. We're on the verge of turning people off of God rather than winning them over to Christ.