What makes a nation great? The goal of every Presidential election is the hope for National greatness, improvement in health, able employment, wealth, national security, secure marriages and families, the elimination of violence, addictions, criminality, so that we have communities that enjoy their times on earth in peace. The answer is found in scripture: very simply:
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people – Proverbs 14:24
There is our first answer. The nation that focuses, constitutes and orders itself fundamentally around ‘righteousness’ will be exalted. Here are some more complex observations though:
- What is righteousness? It is God’s moral standard of ‘right-living’ often called, his precepts, his statutes, his laws. God is perfect, and speaks into law his uncompromising terms. He never changes.
- What does it mean to be ‘exalted’? Simple again…’to be set up high, lifted up.’ We for instance see the devastation of certain countries and we think, ‘they are so God-forsaken, can they get any worse?’
- What is a nation? A people living under in a common territory, governed by like-laws.
- What is sin? A trespass against God’s character and laws. It’s the opposite of righteousness. Humans don’t see sin like God does because he is perfectly holy. Never committed a single sin Himself.
- What is a reproach? An unacceptable shame, worthy of blame by another. It’s when the whistle should blow.
The election here in America is 32 days away. Christians represent here a nation among a larger nation. The hurdles for those of us desiring to see this nation become great/exalted stem from this all-too-relevant verse. But: there can be no effort to pursue righteousness without a God-ward moral standard. Or should I say, without a view that “God is.” The is no exaltation possibility if God’s standards are ignored or are hostile to. The result? To be a true patriot of one’s country, naturally requires one to be a patriot of God. To be indifferent to God, is to be indifferent to country. To hate God is to hate country, and isn’t this becoming increasingly self-evident in our country? Otherwise, the nation will stagnate, and suffer by consequence of sin. Unemployment will rise, the national debt will increase, racism/discrimination will remain, sinful vices will be taught as acceptable, righteousness will be unrecognized, and judged as intolerable, stifling and bigotrous. And what about Reproach? Sure, there will still be blame, even hypocritical laments with sinners judging far worse sinners.
So today America appears to be on the long road of confusion, shame, futility rather than on the high road of exaltation. But there’s hope for this nation, because Jesus lived a perfect life of righteousness that many here have long ignored as historical fact; He intended to make himself a sacrificial Lamb, he was crucified by sinful hands (like ours) but in the process, by glorious mystery of mysteries…he was humbly bearing the curse ‘and tasting death for sinners’ so that whoever repents and believes in Him as God’s substitution for our sin and unrighteousness, would receive the promise of a ‘new life’, and his perfect righteous as a full payment. This is the doctrine of ‘Justification.’ It’s the greatest teaching ever conveyed to men and is still offered universally! It’s God’s creation of ‘a New-Nation.’
So this is the good news we want to hear when we see our country going to the pits. That bad news still? Every non-repenting American must face God as an unpardoned foe in that day when he comes to judge the living and the dead. Will you be a foe or a forgiven friend?
So, what will make this nation great?
Similar to answer #1, answer #2 is…go in full-fledged repentance to Jesus Christ, who is both God and creator of the world. Trust in Him by faith. He is the atoning righteousness for our sins if we believe (John 3:36; Romans 10:9-12) in Him.