“I have a degree in Political Science, and I have NEVER heard THAT! ‘The Constitution is the law that governs the government.’”
One of my non-American students made this comment just this week as we were studying the proper purpose of civil government in class. He was from the former Yugoslavia.
“I was shocked when you said that,” he went on. “In Kosovo, we were taught that our constitution was the supreme law of the land, whose purpose was to control both the government and the people.”
“But here in America, you say, the people are to be left free to exercise their liberty while the government is bound in chains of law through the Constitution. The government’s job is to protect the people’s freedom, not control the people. That means people can concentrate their energies on creating and advancing, and not be stifled by the government.”
Looking around the class at the other students, he held up his hands in amazement. “Don’t you get it,” he said. “This is wonderful!”
I often get a response like that when foreign students compare their governments to what we consider “normal” at home. The American Constitution is anything BUT normal in this world. It is a radical, life-giving document whose foundation lies squarely on the Bible.
I had mentioned in class that while in Guatemala one time, I asked some advisers to the Guatemalan President if I could see their constitution. They laughed and said, “Our constitution fills four buildings about this size!”
“Really?” I said. “The American Constitution is only four pages.” They were incredulous, so I picked my copy of the American Constitution out of my briefcase and showed them – four large parchment pages. “This is the American civil government.”
My student had gotten the point of my class – the American civil government does not exist to control the people, but to protect their freedom, lives and property.
So, why is the Constitution important?
Because the Constitution is the law that governs the government.
Read “Self Evident Truths” by Bill Burtness.
When we talk about the rule of law, we are referring to the Constitution as the top civil authority in America.
Prior to the United States Constitution of 1789, the only model of government in the world was the rule of man. A king was top authority who decided on laws to control the people. The government was subject to his ever-changing biases, emotions and arrogance – and the people suffered.
Since the people never knew what to expect for the future, it was difficult, even foolhardy, to step out and take on the risk necessary to create economic advancement.
The people lived in constant fear not knowing what was coming from their own civil government. The king could use this fear to solidify control, and to line his own pockets.
Most of the world today still exists in the old governmental framework of fear and being controlled. In America, however,we busy our lives without having to think about the civil government very much at all, unless we are breaking the law.
Our founding fathers believed that the just power of civil government came from the consent of the governed (Declaration of Independence). This meant that the people tell the civil government what it can do and cannot do. The framers of our government did this using the tool of a written constitution, agreed upon by many representatives and deliberated at length.
They decided it would be “we, the people” who ordained and established the civil government. The Constitution could be changed if the people saw the need, but not easily and only with broad agreement that the change was good.
This was in stark contrast to the rule of man (a king) throughout history.
The Constitution organized the civil structure to help ensure that greedy men could not run away with civil power – at least not easily. The present need is to elect capable people with Godly, intelligent, servant character – true public servants – into office.
Christ actually said this in Matt. 20:20 in his statement about civil government:
“You know the rulers of the gentiles lord it over them and their great men exercise authority over them, but it shall not be so among you. Whoever is great among you shall be your servant, and he who is greatest shall be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many.”
With our present Constitutional government, the people have the option to elect the best in the land every few years. The main problem with our system is if God’s people are apathetic and lose interest in finding and electing the best in the land. This allows the unrighteous to take over the civil government. The Constitution will not work under such circumstances.
This is our problem today in America. About half of Biblical Christians do not generally vote, and did not vote in recent elections.
But let us not be discouraged and shrink from our responsibility to participate in civil government, but redouble our efforts instead:
- Read “Self Evident Truths” by Bill Burtness to begin to regain a biblical understanding.
- Take part in the September, 2015 Webinar:
“Biblical Civics for American Christians.”
Information at www.EducationforLibertyProject.com
- Then ask God the following….
First, ask the Lord to deliver us and revive us.
Then we should ask, “Lord, what should I do to begin getting involved in my civil government? What do You want to teach me? Where can I use the abilities You have given me?”
We must then vote in such a way as to restore our liberties as the Founding Fathers designed and understood from the biblical perspective. “Self-Evident Truths” by Bill Burtness, is a simple and comprehensive textbook that gives a “big-picture” summary written for this purpose. “Self-Evident Truths” gives an introduction to the foundations of American political thought.
Then we should each be open to the Lord, as He leads, to serve our communities in civil government at all levels in any political party to which we feel called.
Since the Constitution is the top civil authority in America, we must elect into office, directly and indirectly, people who will obey, honor and uphold the Constitution.
And we must begin afresh today!
As things seem to be derailing more and more, we must be careful not to rise up in anarchy, but fall on our knees in prayer and rise up in the poling booth instead – to see America restored.
PRAY – STUDY – VOTE – SERVE
Attend the September 2015 Webinar –
BIBLICAL CIVICS FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS