I’m not a big “God and country” sort of guy so when I was asked to give the sermon for our town’s Day of Prayer service at Town Hall I was kind of nervous. I told a few guys in a small group about my concerns and some of my thoughts on the way Christians interact with culture and politics. I was sharing ideas about why I probably shouldn’t be the guy giving the Day of Prayer sermon but they said I should just share what I was telling them. So I did. Here is the transcript of my message:
The theme for this year’s day of prayer event is “One Nation Under God” and the text is Psalm 33:12 – “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he chose for his inheritance.”
What makes a Nation “One Nation Under God”?
One Nation Under God would be a nation that recognizes and lives under the gracious and sovereign authority of God. The phrase “In God we Trust” comes to mind. The people of One Nation Under God would trust in God above everything else. They would not trust in politics, presidents or power, but in God for “In God we Trust” and this trust would be evident in their lives.
There is another verse that refers to this idea of One Nation Under God. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” From this we see that a nation that is “One Nation, Under God” is called by God to declare his praises. It is a nation of people who have been saved by God for his glory and his purposes.
The leader of “One Nation Under God” is not chosen by a vote because there is only one who is ever qualified and his term never ends. He was and is the Son of God, Jesus Christ who alone was able to take our sins, die in our place for the punishment for our sins, and raise from the dead offering new life and new citizenship into this One Nation Under God.
This One Nation Under God does not depend on constitutions or campaigns. It is not run by presidents or policies. It is not determined by borders or birth. The citizens of this One Nation Under God come from every background, every language, every era of history and are defined only by one thing, the cross of Jesus Christ.
The cost of citizenship into this One Nation Under God would be listed as “death for the payment of sins” and on the papers of the people of the One Nation Under God there is a bright red stamp that covers over that cost that says, “PAID IN FULL BY JESUS CHRIST”
To the people of this One Nation Under God, that phrase and the phrase “In God We Trust” are not just political campaign slogans or mottos printed on paper, they are truths to be lived in every facet of their lives. The citizens of One Nation Under God do not wring their hands and fret over the current resident in the White House or anything else of any earthly country because they know that the existence of this One Nation Under God does not depend on a vote or a majority but on the sovereign grace of the One True God.
America is a great nation and I am proud to be an American. We are right to pray for America and to pray for the leaders of America and to be involved in politics and policies. If we want America to truly be “One Nation Under God,” then we who have been saved by the cross of Christ and are citizens of the “One Nation Under God” need to stop pointing fingers at our country and its leaders and instead point our words, our actions, and our lives to the God who saves.
America will only be a Christian Nation, a One Nation Under God, when the people of America hear and see the good news of salvation found only through Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection lived out in the lives of the followers of Christ – the citizens of the true One Nation Under God.
Americans, like everyone else in the world, can become part of the One Nation Under God, but it will not happen by us trying to change America, it will happen by God changing the hearts of Americans – one new citizen at a time as they are welcomed into the One Nation Under God and their papers are stamped “Paid in full by Jesus Christ.”