The Day of Dependence (Recognized)
When I read my Bible each day, I am quickly reminded of the desperate state of humanity (Gen 6:5; Jn 3:18; Rom 3:10–12). There is also a fearful reminder of the plight of nations, in their enmity against God (Rev 19:15; 20:8). The Bible does not hide God’s prerogative to raise up kings and drop them into the dust (1 Sam 2:6; Ps 75:7; Jer 50:41).
The Bible reader is informed about the sovereignty of God (Ps 115:3; 135:6); and how could we miss the foolish pride of man (Prv 8:13; Mt 7:22). Still, there is a general acceptability among unbelievers, believers, and even pastors that some pride is acceptable. The Bible does not agree (Prv 16:12).
The Bible clearly informs us that expressions of pride are merely a precursor to destruction (Prv 16:18). Christians, therefore, should abhor pride in all of its many forms. Symbols of pride and words of pride can puff up our minds and enlarge our hearts to a myriad of perversities. God searches the heart, and He judges us (Ps 7:11; 50:6; 58:11; Eccl 3:17).
Watching a fifteen-episode documentary on World War II, recently, I was reminded of the lunacy of pride. Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Douglas Mac Arthur, and the Japanese were utterly proud, which grossly exacerbated the loss of life. Human capacity for destruction is insatiable, when trying to “save face.”
When I became a Christian, the instilled American patriotism from my youth progressively waned. The Bible made me appreciate my dual citizenship, here and in the better country of heavenly Zion (Heb 11:16). The realization of my deep kinship with Christians, in every country I went to serve on mission, was now contrasted with my lessening affinity, for the warring tribes in the United States.
There is an ominous ring to the words, “Independence Day.” Yes, there is an historical reference event, even a war to remember the birth of yet another nation. Anyone who studies anything knows that independence is hardly a reality for anyone or anything, apart from God Himself.
When we print the words, “In God we trust,” I again chuckle at the altruism. Questions surface, “Which god?” “What are the elements of this trust?” “Are ‘we’ all in agreement on this trust and this unnamed god?” This is simply fodder for idolatry. The result is a growingly syncretistic nation of ungodly religionists. The war to save our “Christian” nation is highly suspect.
As a warring nation, there is a significant impetus to propagandize the unity of the war machine and soldiers themselves. Having served in the U.S. Army for six years, I see the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all. It is true that men do shed blood over ideologies, and this highlights Christianity, and Jesus’ approach to human conflict. He, of course, knew who was on the throne of God. Does America?
Who are we to hype rhetoric of American pride and independence? Whatever we say is heard by the eternal, all-knowing, all-wise, and all-powerful God, who justly judges all nations (Is 40:17). The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men and nations (Rom 1:18). The United States of America stands with all nations under the judgment of God (Ps 9:17; 118:10; Is 34:2).
There is one nation which boasts in its dependence upon its King, the Lord Jesus Christ (Ps 20:7). The Bible calls this nation, “holy (1 Pet 2:9).” This nation has other names and titles, which help us discern it from all other nations. Its citizenry is called, “the body of Christ (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 12:12),” and “the church of Jesus Christ (Eph 5:23; Col 1:24),” which is the spiritual, remnant, faithful people of God described in the Bible.
The name, “Israel” is ascribed to Jesus the Messiah (Is 49:3) and to His chosen ones (Is 49:6), which He continues to call and gather to Himself, from every nation, tribe, and language in the world (Rev 5:9; 7:9). Thus, all the nations, in remnant representation, will stream to Him to worship Him, as one nation. The holy nation of Israel, the assembly of God in Christ, occupies the Promised Land of heaven, with New Jerusalem, as the City of God (Rev 3:12; 21:2, 10).
God’s chosen, redeemed people, who have been transferred to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col 1:13), serve their only Sovereign (1 Tim 6:15), here and now, as ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20), in local embassies around the world. Together, these local assemblies bear witness of the reign of Jesus Christ and preach His second coming, to judge the living, the dead, and the world itself (2 Tim 4:1; 2 Pet 3:10–12).
There is an unacceptable co-mingling of allegiances, historically titled, “manifest destiny,” whereby American Christians claimed to see the providential hand of God uniquely blessing America. God’s promise of heaven was hijacked and transferred to a piece of property, a governmental system, an economy, a syncretistic and humanistic ideology, and a historical reflection, which justifies just about every action done in the name of the red, white, and blue.
American Christianity has championed the usurping of God, for national purposes, “America is the last great hope of freedom for the rest of the world.” This statement, and statements like it, are mere blasphemy against King Jesus, who is our only hope (1 Tim 1:1). The false gospel of manifest destiny and the true Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot stand together.
Christian, on this Fourth of July, set your mind on things above the fireworks displays (Col 3:2). Remember that this land is not your home (Heb 11:16). When Israel of old became too entrenched and familiar with life in Goshen, they were soon enslaved to the Egyptians. Lest we forget, our day of redemption is Good Friday, and our emancipation day is Resurrection Sunday. Anything else is cheap imitation and fake news propaganda. Finally, let us remember the day of Pentecost, as the day of our recognized dependence, on the One who secured our freedom from our real enemy (Jn 8:44; 2 Cor 4:4; 1 Pet 5:8).
Spokane Valley, Washington
July 4, 2022