The DOMA Ruling: A Challenge to American Christians, part 2

Happy Independence Day to all of you! As we remember the birth of our nation, it is an appropriate time to pause and reflect on America's need for moral and spiritual renewal.

In the previous post, we looked at some of the reasons for the church's failure to influence our culture for righteousness. In the face of the advancing tide of evil, our response can easily be to run and hide. It is easy to cower in shame and defeat even as our country is swallowed up in sin. But let us not be ashamed. Let us rather advance in the power of God.

The power of God

Our consuming focus as Christians must be the proclamation of the gospel. Underlying all of this is the truth of Romans 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." Though the gospel will most certainly result in social change, this is an unintended by-product, not the aim. The gospel is not about politics. It is not about social justice. It is not about ending poverty or abortion or slavery. It is about the power of God through regeneration. The goal of the gospel is not societal improvement but individual transformation. When we proclaim the gospel, we are channeling a power on par with the creation of the universe, a power so great that it will radically transform all who receive it in repentance and faith. It turns children of wrath into children of God. It turns sinners into saints. It can turn the most depraved individual into a righteous person. It is only through the direct, clear proclamation of the gospel message that the power of God is displayed.

But lest we think all we must do to have God's power is proclaim the right set of facts, let us not forget the truth of Acts 1:8: "But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses..." We will continue to be powerless Christians so long as we continue seeking to fulfill God's will in our own strength. We may present the gospel message in word, but be utterly devoid of power because we do not rely on the reality of Holy Spirit power. It must be a reality in our daily lives. Sadly, we have all but reduced the Holy Spirit to a doctrinal statement, so little of His presence do we know in our daily lives.

We will never succeed to glorify God if we do not proclaim the Word of God in the convicting power of the Almighty Spirit of God. For the church at large, this demands repentance. The presence of the Spirit will not be known if there is rampant sin in the camp, for He is the Holy Spirit. We will continue to suffer defeat at Ai's gates so long as we tolerate Achan's sin in our camp. A message of morality will be empty hypocrisy to a needy world so long as we harbor iniquity in our midst. What the church has long tolerated in moderation in her midst (divorce, fornication, adultery) the world is now promoting in shocking excess (homosexual "marriage"). We talk much to our culture about the sanctity of marriage, but our message falls on deaf ears, for we long ago abandoned the sanctity of marriage within the church. But far graver than our loss of moral authority before the world is our lack of spiritual power before God. Without it, we will preach a factually accurate message in a spiritually powerless manner.

Before we can truly have an effect on our culture, we must be radically different from our culture. Too long we have believed that we can practice the same sins of the world, so long as we do them in less grievous degrees. Our losing struggle in the culture war is indicative, not of the strength of the opposition, but the weakness within our own ranks.

A contrast of hope

In contrast to today's busy but ineffective Christianity stands the early church in the book of Acts. In a matter of decades, they turned the world upside down for Christ. And they did it without holding a single political rally or winning a single landmark court ruling. They had something that we today so desperately need: the power of God. One lesson from this great record of the Holy Spirit's mighty acts is that there is no substitute for the power of God. In its absence in our lives, we have turned to many cheap substitutes (seeker friendly church growth, political action, mass evangelistic rallies to name a few). But they are just that: cheap, ineffective substitutes. And therein lies our problem: the church corporately and individually has been content for too long to go about its business apart from the presence of God.

Individually, we must cultivate a desperation for God that will daily drive us to our knees to cry out to Him for His power. Without it, we will continue on in our attempt to change our world in our own strength by our own power. It is not enough to correctly diagnose the problems in the church if we ourselves are unwilling to remedy them in our own lives.

Our response

What then should be our response to America's moral decline? How should we stop a nation's headlong sprint into Sodom? Individually, you and I must seek with all of our hearts the power and presence of God in our daily lives. We must yearn for it. We must ask for it. We need the attitude of Moses and cry, "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." (Exodus 33:15). It is the presence of God through an intimate relationship with God that will transform us into the image of Christ and channel God's power through our lives.

Whenever a man knows God, he will know God's power. The presence and power of God are inseparable. In these dark days, "the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits." What kind of exploits will we see? "And they that understand among the people shall instruct many" (Daniel 11:32-33).

We need to take gospel of God in the power of God to the world. This is matter of basic obedience. It is only the gospel that will bring about lasting, eternal change in people's lives. You and I must heartily embrace this thrilling task and go about preaching the gospel to every creature. I challenge you to begin praying today for those around you. Pray that God would teach you to view souls through the lens of eternity. Pray that God would give you boldness and wisdom. Then simply go. Go and keep on going and sharing the gospel with every person you possibly can. Go and keep on going even when you are rejected. Go and keep on going until Christ comes back. We go under the banner of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As the Sovereign Lord of the harvest, He will most certainly reap His harvest in the end. We are called simply to be faithful.

So let us never forget that He goes before us, as the one who has "all power in heaven and earth." No authority can ever touch Him who sits on the throne of the universe. It is in His authority that we can "go therefore" and make disciples of every nation.

When our walk grows lonely and we are tempted to run and hide from encroaching darkness of evil, let us never forget the comforting words of our Savior, "And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

We will not fail. After all, the victorious Savior goes with and before us.

Soli Deo Gloria


  1. Amen! to that Sam. Thank you for the inspiring words. And Happy fourth of July to you!.


  2. Good thoughts Sam. National redirection doesn't begin in the court room or the voting booth, but rather in the hearts of men. And no amount of political rally can solve the sickness of men's hearts. That's the job of Christ and the gospel.


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