As Morris stepped on the gas pedal, the sleek, beautiful Ferrari leaped into the night. He had done this many times before but never lost his enthusiasm for the way exotic sports cars accelerated so effortlessly and handled so beautifully. As he turned off the freeway, he headed up the winding back road that led to his workshop. These corners were his favorite part of the drive. The delight of driving an automobile like this was, in his mind, second only to the thrill of stealing it. Nobody had seen him. The plan was flawless, and he had executed it perfectly. All was good and he was now almost to safety. As he continued into the last few miles of his trip, he began to recount the events of the evening that had played out so perfectly. He thought to himself, “Wow, I was born to be a car thief!” In a way, his sentiment was not wrong. After all, nobody would argue the fact that Morris was quite proficient at stealing high end cars. He had done this many times before. He would take his beautiful catch back to his workshop to make it unrecognizable until it could be sold. His father, Morris Sr, was in prison for the same crime. “Dad would sure be proud of this one”, Morris thought, as he approached the driveway to his shop. Yes, car theft was in his blood. He loved this way of life. He was good at it. “Yes”, he thought to himself, “I was born for this – I am proud of this – this is who I am”. He was so lost in thought and his heart was so filled with pride that he didn’t notice the car behind him – until the piercing lights filled the space all around, blinding him in a flashing ocean of red and blue.
What makes it a crime?
In the difficult weeks and months after his arrest, Morris would learn some painful truths. It turns out this way of life that he had embraced so fully is not legal and is, in fact, criminal behavior. It had defined him to such an extent, and he had taken so much of his identity from this activity, that it was hard for him to believe it was criminal. But that fact became more and more clear as he moved through the legal proceedings that were now in motion against him. What is or is not a crime is, of necessity, determined by something larger than us members of society. In this country, we have long looked to God, and to the Bible for our definition of right vs. wrong. This is the reason you find the 10 Commandments on display (or carved into the walls) at our legal buildings. In this country, God determines what is right vs what is wrong, and He revealed that to us in His Word. Historically then, in our legislative bodies at all levels, we have worked to create laws that reflect God’s Law as found in the Scripture.
I was born this way! That’s discrimination!
Morris then had a thought… He shared with his attorney, “I was born this way! This is who I am! They can’t discriminate against me for being born different than others – that is against the law!” Morris’ attorney then explained to him that discrimination is judging the individual based upon a category to which he belongs, instead of upon his own merit. However, when someone commits a crime, they must be judged based upon what they have done. They must be held to the same standard as everyone else who commits the same crime. Crimes are crimes for everyone. The rules for auto theft are not different for different genders or races of people. Things that are wrong are wrong for everyone. Committing a crime means that someone carried out an action that is criminal behavior. As for Morris’ claim that he was born this way, that he has a natural propensity that draws him to commit this particular crime. Well, welcome to the club, Morris. In the Bible, The Book of Romans says we all are filled with sin by nature. We all have a propensity to sin.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”– Romans 3:10-12, KJV
Sin, which is naturally present in all of our hearts, has HUGE effects on us, both personally and nationally. Our sins are different from one another. Like our fictional character Morris, we may struggle with a tendency toward theft, or maybe it is more along the lines of sexual promiscuity or pornography. Maybe we abuse alcohol or drugs and have allowed those things to take a terrible toll on our families. We have been lied to by society about abortion for decades and many may have made irreversible decisions during a highly emotional time of their lives and now carry an incredible weight of guilt for decisions made perhaps years ago. Society continues to lie to us today and glamorize homosexuality and even transgender, when, in reality, this lifestyle leads away from God and destroys the beauty God put into the marriage relationship. Whatever the sin that weighs us down, whatever it is that tugs on our heart and pulls us away from where God would have us, there is only one place to go for victory. That one place is the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ also happens to be the one that we, as a nation, have worked tirelessly to exclude from our entire society. Without getting Him back, we are hopeless. Whether we’re talking personally, or nationally, there is no hope without Him.
Guilty as Charged
The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). That means that before God, if Morris was a real person, he would deserve death for breaking God’s laws with his sin of theft. It also means that you and I deserve death for whatever sins are on our account before God. There is nothing we can do to make these sins, or the penalty we incurred with them to just “go away”. They must be dealt with. God is righteous and cannot just ignore sins or pretend they never happened. We owe Him a debt. We owe Him our very lives. We are guilty of a capital crime.
The Great News
The amazing great news is that God provided a Way for us. Our sins require death in payment, but God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to the earth. Jesus lived here as fully God, but also fully man. He lived a perfect life without sin. Because He did not have sins of His own to pay for, when He gave His life on the cross, He died in my place, and also in the place of all others who will repent, turn from their sin, and follow Him. This is the reason Jesus had to die on the cross. It was to take my place there. I owed death for a debt of sin and Jesus paid it for me. Earlier we quoted from the first half of Romans 6:23 about the wages of sin. But let’s look at the rest of that verse. It says:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.-Romans 6:23, KJV
If Jesus pays the price for your sin, you no longer owe that debt! You are no longer burdened with a sentence of capital punishment! Then you can have eternal life through Jesus – not because of what you did – but because of what Jesus did for you, on your behalf. It is a beautiful thing!
Repentance is Key
Repentance is also critically important to the United States nationally. We have plenty of national sins for which we need to repent, and turn away from. I believe this to be of paramount importance for getting our nation back. When the Temple was completed in Jerusalem, God told King Solomon that when they found themselves under judgement, this was the key to restoration:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”-2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV
Let’s humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways. We need to do this personally, and we also need to do this nationally. Let’s stop making excuses like Morris was doing, for the sins that are destroying us and pulling us away from God. Let’s repent and run to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can save us. He is the only one who can save our beloved country.
If you would like to read more on this subject, please go to R.E.C.I.P.E. for Saving America.