Righteousness exalts a nation

Published 4:44am Sunday, July 7, 2013

By Rev. Roger Olsen
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. – Proverbs 14:34, NKJV.
As a congregational church, Cedarwood Community Church always looks forward to celebrating the July 4th holiday. This day represents our deep congregational heritage, which reminds us that we truly are one nation under God.
The early pilgrims who traveled here so long ago came in the name of religious freedom. Our forefathers had been under the rule of tyranny for too long, and they came to America to establish a new world. A world where people could worship Almighty God without the interference of government. A world of Christianity where each church would be autonomous and not under the rule of a bishop, king or dictator.
Hence, the main difference in the congregational way of life is that the congregation has more input in the life of the church. Over and above all else, these patriotic pilgrims also recognized Psalm 33:12: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord …” This theme is found all throughout our Declaration of Independence, our Bill of Rights and our Constitution.
For decades, America has been the symbol of Christianity all across the globe. Our missionary endeavors have always surpassed that of any other nation.
In times of need, America has always been the first nation to send aid and monetary assistance. America has long been the symbol of peace because America has always been a country that was guided by the Prince of Peace. America has prospered as the decades have gone by.
“Righteousness exalts a nation” and that literally means, “Keep living the right way and God is going to bless you!” Sadly, in the past decade, and especially with the generation that is coming of age, we now see an America where our freedom is not dictated by our Articles of Freedom, but how our Articles of Freedom dictate our freedom.
We have so diluted the true meaning of America by allowing our need for sin and pleasure to permeate our modern day interpretation of our Articles of Freedom. For the first time in America, a believer can step out of church on a Sunday morning and enter into a pagan world that was similar to the same elements that the apostle Paul faced in his day and age.
So we ask ourselves, “Is America heading to judgment?” – for the latter part of the Proverb tells us that “Sin is a reproach to any people.” God never gave America a blank check to commit sin.
It’s a sad day when even in the church, we have compromised our morals, values and principals so that we can fit in with the in crowd. What a far cry from those early settlers who risked their lives to set up a holy nation that became an example to the entire world!
In 1630, en route to the new world, John Winthrop is quoted as saying, “The eyes of the world are upon us.” A man of deep Christian convictions, it was his hope that the rest of the world would look upon America and want to emulate what they saw. He wanted the New World to be an example for all other countries to follow.
Are we still setting that example today? For other countries? For our neighbors? And for our children? You be the judge.
Rev. Roger Olsen is pastor at Cedarwood Community Church in Wallsboro.

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