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Matthew Maher

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There is so much conversation about what’s being witnessed in this period: It looks like a nation's disintegration.

The Bible states, in Proverbs 14:34, that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” When I look around our land, it is obvious that we are sin-soaked and have replaced the confession of sin with celebrating it. As a result, God has given us over to judgment.

How did we get here? Proverbs 29:18 tells us, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint, but happy is he who keeps the law.” In other words, when God's word (revelation) is not the divine order that determines human order, the result is disorder. When “the people cast off restraint,” they are rebelling against God’s restraining orders, which are for the flourishing of humanity and society.

God has put four restraining orders in place as beautiful boundaries. The first is the conscience (moral order), the second is community made of families (social order), the third is civil society, which constitutes law and order, as well as political order, and the fourth, and most important, is the church (spiritual order).

It is the mainstay that God has put in place to shine His light and truth through the previous three. Without God's standard governing conscience, community and civil duty, the result is immorality, societal ills, and of course tyranny.

When God's restraining orders are blatantly broken down, it is because the church and Christian are bowing down, silent in places where truth must be spoken and sitting in spaces where standing is crucial. Thus, as believers in Jesus Christ, we are to be heaven's witnesses on earth, and even if hell is closing in on all sides, which it is, heaven still arrives when God's people choose courage over compromise.

Jesus Christ said, "I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” That statement wasn’t a flimsy wish; it was His firm will.

We must understand that the further a society drifts from the truth, the more they will hate those who speak it. Jesus also warned us of such hate, when He said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet, because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19)

Where do we start, considering it feels like we have fallen so far?

We start with ourselves because although the restraining orders are being cast off, the Bible says, “happy is the person who keeps the law.” If the Christian wants to know God’s will and discern right from wrong, he turns to the Bible. That is why it is OK to allow your conscience to be your guide if it's God's Word that guides your conscience. "Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path." (Psalm 119:105)

With our conscience held captive to the Scriptures, we can begin sowing righteousness into our families' fabric. The family's biblical boundaries include marriage between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24-35, Matthew 19:4-5), who becomes a mother (female) and father (male) when children are added to the household. If the family breaks down, whether from divorce or fatherlessness (or other detrimental reasons), the consequences often contribute to the ills of society.

It’s not the ills of society that have led to the family's death; it is the family's death that has led to the ills of society, which is why such a spirit of defiance against “law and order” and even a skewed view of political order exists. If “we the people” are responsible for the people's government, we shouldn’t be surprised by our government's character.

James A. Garfield, an ordained minister and 20th President of the U.S., said, “Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.” I concur.

This is where we are at: Good called evil, and evil called good (Isaiah 5:20) because the people have cast off God's restraining orders. Now, more than ever, the church and Christian need to be willing to delay the decay of our day by being in the way.

We need to be in Christ to slow the corruption, push back the darkness, and ultimately be a dam to the enemy coming like a flood. Again, heaven will arrive when the church is willing to choose courage over compromise.

ED. NOTE: Maher is the teaching pastor at Coastal Christian Ocean City and president of Soldiers For Faith Ministries. Social media and website: @TruthOverTrend

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