Subject: Christianity and the Constitution Part 1 – What makes America so Great
Isaiah 33:22 “The Lord is our Judge; the Lord is our Lawgiver; the Lord is our King; he will save us.”
The Constitution of the United States is a very hot topic in the Presidential election this year. Candidate Ted Cruz is campaigning as a Constitutional conservative, while others like Hillary Clinton are advocating we should rewrite the Constitution’s first amendment. But what exactly is our Constitution?
The word itself means “a body of principles or laws by which a state or other organization acknowledges itself to be governed.” And our Founding Fathers begin the Constitution of the United States by explaining the purpose behind setting up our system of government: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Our Constitution is a radically sacred document that makes the American way of life unique around the world and throughout history because we as a society enjoy many freedoms under a system of government that has been designed based on the idea, as conservative radio host Dennis Prager says, that “the individual and society are morally accountable to God and to the moral demands of the Bible. That was the view of every one of the Founders including deists such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.”
In designing the Constitution, the original intent of our Founding Fathers was to establish a system of government where God and the Bible are above the individual. Because the majority of our Founding Fathers were Christian, they understood that in the Christian worldview one submits willingly, not by coercion, to the authority of the triune God of the Bible.
Our verse this week, Isaiah 33:22, not only explains God’s authority to rule over mankind but serves as the framework of our Constitution. Isaiah the prophet is speaking in 730BC on God’s four duties He performs for the nation of Israel the secure their freedom from the surrounding tyranny of the pagan nations of that time. First, He is the Judge who set up a system through which man knew how to resolve disputes. Secondly, He is the Lawgiver who instituted rules on how mankind ought to treat each other. Thirdly, He is the King, the Chief Executive, who provides national security by defending the nation of Israel against attack. And finally, as the Judge, Lawgiver and King, He makes a covenant promise to “save or deliver us.”
It is no coincidence that our Constitution reflects the same structure as Isaiah 33:22, where like Israel our heritage is as “One nation under God” (taken from our Pledge of Allegiance). As our own United States Supreme Court reminded us back in 1892: “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”
The Constitution’s Article I, Section 1 explains the biblical structure of ‘Lawgiver’ by establishing the Congress as the Legislative Branch of government: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” The purpose of the Legislative Branch? To establish laws governing a free society (how we treat each other).
The Constitution’s Article II, Section 1 explains the biblical structure of ‘King’ by establishing the President as the Executive Branch of government: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” The purpose of the Executive Branch? To protect us (national and homeland security).
The Constitution’s Article III, Section 1 explains the biblical structure of ‘Judge’ by establishing the Supreme Court as the Judicial Branch of government: “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” The purpose of the Judicial Branch? To resolve disputes and settle right vs. wrong.
That is why we must continue to treat both our Bible and the Constitution as sacred text worth protecting. Because in a pluralistic American culture where our education and entertainment industries teach us that we are wiser and more moral than the Bible, and that the Constitution is attacked as another outdated document trying to impose a set of standards on us that interferes with our rights, we must make a choice to speak out on the One who gave us both texts: the God of the Bible and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.