Gun Violence: Repentance or Tyranny
Another shooting with many casualties. And, this time, little children - again. A young adult went into the womb of an elementary school and terminated the lives of little children and their teachers. This is unbearable. It is intolerable. It must stop.
“You shall not murder” is a law written on the conscience of every human being from creation and conception. Moses codified it for a newly freed people. Jesus gave the full application of it to those He sets free from sin by saying that we must not even despise our neighbor in our hearts and speech.
According to John Adams, the freedoms afforded us by our Constitution require that they be enjoyed, maintained and protected by a religious and moral people. A nation that forgets God and denies self-evident truth and righteousness cannot hope to remain free from government oppression. If we do not control ourselves by the Spirit in a free internal law of conscience, then we will be controlled by the flesh in the oppressive external law of the state.
If we do not control ourselves in the right use of instruments of violence, then we are destined to lose the freedom to possess them. If gun owners don’t control their weapons, government will have to. Again, with Adams, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms presupposes a religious and moral people that will not use their guns to murder. Therefore, if this freedom is widely abused to slaughter hosts of people innocent before the law, this Amendment will itself be amended. I am not saying that it should. I am saying that it will unless we as a nation repent of our entire murderous culture. This culture includes the evils of murderous gun violence, the child sacrifice of abortion, enabling self-murder in assisted suicide and the not yet legal euthanizing of the disabled, sick and elderly.
The only way to maintain our freedoms and to avoid tyranny is to turn from our contempt for others to a genuine love that seeks their best interests as defined by God in His word. We must turn from a self-indulgent, self-destructive and murderous use of instruments of violence to a self-disciplined, life-sustaining and life-protecting use of these things. Weapons are rightly used for obtaining food and defending life and liberty.
But this kind of change is clearly impossible for government and society. This kind of change requires a radical transformation of minds and hearts which is beyond the power of mere humans individually or corporately. Moving a person or society from death to life, from murder to nurture, from unjustly taking life to graciously giving life requires an act of God. The only thing that can achieve such an impossible change is the power of the cross of Christ to stop the culture of death and the power of His resurrection to replace it with a culture of life.
Without the Spirit of God through the Gospel changing hearts and minds, we are doomed to continue with mass killings that will eventually result in the loss of freedoms. We will give up our liberties in exchange for protection from this violence. I do not say that we should; I say that we will by necessity. We will become slaves to our own murderous idols and immoralities. There are prominent current examples of national governments who provide security for their people by depriving them of liberty and who deride our freedoms as hopelessly naïve. If we persevere in wickedness, they will be correct.
The choice is ours, individually and nationally. Freedom in Christ or slavery in our sin. It is no accident that the founding of the United States and its freedoms came out of the Reformation and the First Great Awakening, among other things. It was a general sentiment in the British government of the time that the American Revolution was “a Presbyterian war” though all religious groups not part of the state church were also in view. The point is that the doctrine and practice of the liberty of conscience that came out of the Reformation and First Great Awakening have consequences for the state as well as the church. In our present distress, the church must be reformed according to the Scriptures and the conscience of the nation must be awakened to the moral law so that the slaughter of the innocents will stop. May the Lord grant these things before it is too late and we all go into exile in our own land.
This article is also submitted to Oswego, NY area newspapers.