Sermons

Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Sun, Sep 01, 2019

Divine Elevation of the Nation

The Word that God has spoken for the divine elevation of a nation is in Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” What, then, is righteousness? Righteousness is understood in two ways in the Bible: First it refers to the standing of those who are God’s people by means of the imputation of His righteousness that is credited to them at the moment of salvation (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:1-5).  God’s righteousness is given as a gift by means of faith, “to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly (Rom 4:5; cf. Rom. 3:24; 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9). 

The Word that God has spoken for the divine elevation of a nation is in Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” What, then, is righteousness? Righteousness is understood in two ways in the Bible:

First it refers to the standing of those who are God’s people by means of the imputation of His righteousness that is credited to them at the moment of salvation (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:1-5).  God’s righteousness is given as a gift by means of faith, “to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly (Rom 4:5; cf. Rom. 3:24; 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9). 

Second, righteousness refers to the high moral behaviour that God expects of His people, in which He instructs them “to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Tit. 2:12; Ezek. 18). 

What role does righteousness play in the divine elevation of a nation? In order for a nation to be great, its leaders and people must have upright, moral characters; they must be known for their righteousness. The generations and ages have repeatedly proved the truth of this proverb. A nation which conducts itself in righteousness ‘exalts’ itself. The word ‘exalts’ describes the lifting up, or elevating, of the people’s collective life. It is more of a moral term than descriptive of material benefits. When the majority of people in a nation purpose in their hearts to know God and walk in His will, then that nation will reflect righteousness and be morally strong.  When leaders and citizens choose righteousness, the nation is lifted up and reflects the highest and best in mankind.  But sin destroys a nation; and it does so from the inside out (arrogance, selfishness, greed, hatred, etc).  What, then, should we do in the light of this truth?

First, righteousness should be taught from one generation to the next.  It should start with believers learning and living God’s word, then teaching their children to do the same. 

Second, in a democracy, where leadership is elected and not inherited, the Lord’s remnant must exert as much influence for righteousness as possible; certainly every believer ought to pray for those in authority (1 Tim. 2:1–8). Third, we are chosen by God to be a light in the world, and to call people to God that they might be saved by grace through faith (Matt. 5:13-16). 

The whole world lies in darkness, and the Christian is to preach the gospel to the lost, calling unbelievers “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18).  The world, as a whole, will never be reformed or made perfect because it consists of a majority of unbelievers who are guided by sinful values.  Absolute perfection only comes when God destroys the current heavens and earth and creates a new heavens and earth (Rev. 21-22).  

Historically, Christians have been a positive influence in society by promoting law and being charitable to the needy (Gal. 2:10; Jam. 1:27).  They have built schools, hospitals, orphanages, and other helpful organizations that lift man up.  They have fed the hungry, cared for the sick, housed the homeless, provided for widows and orphans, and visited prisoners with the Gospel.  Christians have also promoted art, literature, music and science.  Certainly there have been abuses in the name of Christianity; however, the historical record speaks favourably about Christian service.  For the most part, believers have obeyed Scripture and become law abiding citizens rather than rebels.  Scripture teaches Christians to think of government as a “minister of God” (Rom. 13:4), to obey leaders (Rom. 13:1, 5; Tit. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-15), pay taxes (Rom. 13:6), regard rulers as “servants of God” who do His will (Rom. 13:6), and to pray for them (1 Tim. 2:1-2). 

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