By Shawn McMullen
Like many Christians, I’m alarmed by the rapid spiritual decline of our nation. The biblical foundation that provided a moral compass for generations of Americans has been systematically eroded by unbelief. Lifestyles and life choices once widely unacceptable are now openly embraced.
What’s more, it requires increasingly more courage for Christians to take a stand on moral issues in our culture. To simply “speak where the Bible speaks” regarding these issues leads to accusations of intolerance, bigotry, and phobic behavior. Christians have been accused of hate crimes for the mere suggestion that certain attitudes and behaviors are wrong and sinful in the eyes of God.
What will save our nation? What can pull us out of this headlong descent into godlessness, moral decay, and certain destruction?
Politicians can’t save us. To be sure, we need law, order, and civility in the land. The apostle Paul emphasized the role of civil government in Romans 13, reminding us to respect our leaders, obey the law, and pay our taxes. So we do these things, but not in the hope they will save our nation. No government—or its leaders —can save its people.
Military might can’t save us. While America is the most powerful nation on the planet with the most advanced warfare technology the world has ever known, we can’t look to our military strength to save us. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world” (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4). Armies and weapons may protect, but they can’t save.
National wealth can’t save us. Even with all its financial woes, America is still the richest nation in the world—by a wide margin. But even an advantage like this cannot rescue our country from its moral and spiritual decline. In fact, the question Jesus posed to his disciples could be asked of our nation as well: “What good would it be for a nation to gain the whole world, yet forfeit its soul? (Matthew 16:26, paraphrased).
Surprisingly, not even the church can save us—at least, not if we’re thinking of the church as an establishment with buildings and bank accounts and programs. The “church” as that kind of entity assists the actual church (God’s people) in evangelism, encouragement, and service. But as an institution, it has no real power and can’t save.
Then what can save America? Only one thing: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the head of the church, and the hope of nations. After healing a beggar who was lame, the apostle Peter declared, “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see” (Acts 3:16). The same name that brought healing to a disabled man can bring healing to a nation.
So we don’t put our trust in governments or armies or wealth or even the “church.” We put our trust in Christ. And we rescue our great nation not through systems but by systematically changing lives, one at a time.
How can we save our nation? By bringing salvation to its people.