"O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!"
We agree with Burns: Seeing ourselves as others see us “wad frae mony a blunder free us.”
But let’s say that some Power gave us the gift to see a whole nation as others see it. Wouldn’t that be something? Well, when the Almighty opens someone’s eyes he or she is able to see the nation, even the whole world, as Christians see it.
Having been born of God’s Spirit how would a Christian view a nation? And how can people holding this view from many a blunder free it?
Take any Western nation. Western cultures are Christianised cultures. Some more. Some less: a lot less! To be Christianised doesn’t mean that everyone in the nation is Christian. It simply means that they are under the influence of the so-called Judeo-Christian ethic. In other words, the teaching of the Old and New Testaments, ie, the Bible, permeates that culture – to a greater or a lesser extent.
Culture is religion externalised. Music, food, drink, mode of dress, politics, architecture, art et al are expressions of culture, of a nation’s religion. Christianity influences culture for the better. Christianity does not destroy culture. The City of Glasgow's motto expresses this idea well: "Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of Thy Word."
Using the Bible as its blueprint, Christianity transforms culture, making it more wholesome. Christianity helps nations think Christianly. Therefore, on account of its positive influence, Christianity frees nations from making many blunders!
Christianity influences nations primarily from the pulpit, ie, from preaching. The Bible is expounded from cover to cover. Which is to say that the Gospel is proclaimed and the Law is explained each Lord's Day from the pulpits of the faithful.
The Gospel with the Law brings liberty to the people. The Law, properly understood and properly applied, enables the Christianised nation to retain its liberty. Healthy pulpit: Healthy nation.
Where the Gospel is stifled God’s Law is flouted. By Gospel we mean the Good News that Jesus Christ died for sinners. By Law we mean the Ten Commandments that shows that all of us are sinners - in need of the Saviour of sinners, Jesus Christ.
Not only does the preaching of God’s Law expose us as sinners in need of salvation in Christ, but, as well as showing Christians how to live their lives in demonstration of their gratitude to God for saving them, it also shows us how to restrain evil in our nation.
Christianity helps us to see the nation as God sees it and thus frees that nation from many a blunder!
Many pulpits in the West preach another gospel, which is not the Gospel. They preach what is known as the Social Gospel. The message of the Social Gospel has more to do with Marxism than the salvation of the individual by grace through faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ.
Others preach a gospel that is devoid of God’s Law. Indeed they preach against the Law, as if the Ten Commandments were something evil, something to be rejected! Either way, the Gospel is robbed of its power. In this limp condition it cannot transform the individual and certainly not the nation!
Pray that God will raise up gifted preachers; preachers able to proclaim and explain the Gospel with the Law, so that the lives of the hearers will be transformed by its power, so that they will transform the nations in which the live. So that their culture will be a Christian culture. Yes, God redeems individuals, but by an individual at a time, He eventually redeems whole nations! May your culture be Christian!
Bottom line: Healthy pulpit: Healthy nation!