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Reclaiming the Glory of Self-Government (2)

The glory of the American form of government is found in the radical concept of the self-governed individual living in freedom under God. This is exactly the model we find with the first man, Adam. When Adam lived in obedience to God, he was able to enjoy tremendous liberty and blessing. God gave Adam one test. Out of all the freedoms he was given by God, there was only one prohibition, only one tree, that was forbidden. The purpose of this prohibition was to test Adam’s ability to govern himself. When Adam ate of the tree, demonstrating a complete lack of self-control, he forfeited his role as regent on the earth.

Adam’s failure to govern himself had terrible consequences upon his family. Adam’s son, Cain, murders his own brother! Now God decides to intervene. Civil government is first introduced in Genesis 9:5-7 where God introduces the legal concept of capital punishment to restrain the spread of evil in the earth. 

The lesson is clear: Those who are incapable of ruling themselves by God’s law will ultimately be ruled by someone else. 

For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders,  liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching (I Timothy 1:9-10).

Self-government is made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26). This is why we must be “born again.” Our rebellious hearts must be regenerated before they can come under the reign of Christ.

 This highlights our need for revival in America. We cannot expect cultural transformation without spiritual awakening. We must first deal with the root, the wicked human heart, before we can see the fruit of a transformed society. Lasting change is always from the inside out.

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