Free for a Purpose (Part 2): Why America Matters
Just because the United States is temporary and our citizenship is in heaven doesn’t mean that the United States is not important to God. The United States benefits Christians, helps further the gospel, and is aligned with numerous biblical principles. For these reasons, Christians should appreciate the political freedom the United States offers its citizens.
The first amendment to the United States Constitution contains two religious freedom provisions of great interest to Christians. First, the establishment clause prevents the government from mandating religious adherence. This means believers cannot be compelled to worship in a way that violates their consciences. Second, the free exercise clause prohibits the government from interfering in a person’s worship activities. This means believers are free to worship at many places, at many times, and in many ways. Christians should appreciate these clauses which allow us to worship freely, and particularly when we think of our brothers and sisters in places like China, Iran, Somalia, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia.
The United States’ founding vision of all people being created equal with God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is also important for Christians. These characteristics come directly from scripture. For instance, the notion of equality was not novel to the founders, but finds its root in Romans 2:11, which states that “there is no partiality with God.” Likewise, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not arbitrary ideals, but come through Jesus. John 10:10 says that He came so we “may have life, and... ...have it more abundantly.” Additionally, 2 Corinthians 3:17 says “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” The United States was founded based on biblical principles and Christians should value that.
Loving Our Neighbors
Another benefit of living in the United States is that it extends our natural ability to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). We accomplish this through performing our civic duties, such as voting and paying taxes. Of course, this helps us not only love our immediate geographical neighbors, but our neighbors all over the world.
Israel is a long-distance neighbor whose welfare is tremendously important to God. Thus, the United States’ support of Israel is in keeping with God’s desire for Christians to stand with Israel. Romans 15:27 says that “if the Gentiles have been partakers of their [the Jews’] spiritual things, their [the Gentiles’] duty is also to minister to them [the Jews] in material things.” In our modern world, that means that we should help Israel financially and militarily.
The United States also sends the most missionaries to other countries and leads the world in charitable giving. Beyond this, as a land of opportunity, people from other countries can come to the United States for education, training, and other resources which will enrich their home communities when they return to them. I personally know of a Ghanan woman who came to the United States to earn money to fund her Ghanan church’s local missions needs. She could do the same job in the United States and earn more money to further her church’s work in Ghana. Additionally, she was able to buy things in the United States and ship them back to Ghana at a reduced cost as part of this ministry.
Because the United States allows for free exercise of religion and has the wealth and resources to further the gospel all over the globe, it is uniquely able to meet the spiritual needs of this lost and dying world. The modern world is in desperate need of the church. As Pastor DaVon Alexander says, “the church is the only entity with the unique ability to address root issues.” Society is deathly ill, and the only antidote to its sickness is Jesus, whom Christians have and the world does not.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-15: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” The truth is that this world may despise you, but it needs you more than it hates you. The church is like the loving parent giving medicine to the sick child who is angrily fighting against us. The United States has the ability to share that medicine in a way that other countries do not.
Future of America
President Ronald Reagan also spoke of a shining city on a hill, referring to the United States as a beacon of freedom to oppressed people all over the world. In his farewell address, Reagan eloquently said, “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind, it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace - a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”
For all of these reasons, it is important that Christian patriots hope, even when it seems that all hope is lost, for our country’s future. Times may look bleak, but our country has overcome great difficulties throughout its history and can, by the grace of God and through the strength of its people, do so again. We should hope that we can, like the many who have gone before us, defend, improve, and pass along this imperfect nation to our children so that they too can enjoy its freedoms.