Unknown woman to Benjamin Franklin (A.D. 1706–90), at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787: “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
Franklin: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
(Attribution, the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention.)
No nation or nation state in history has enjoyed a more enduring document for the authority of its government than America. We’ve kept that republic for about 240 years. But frankly, apart from a mighty, reviving work of the Spirit of God in this nation we will likely fail to keep it.
Do I rightly surmise that some theophobic bigots started trembling with an indignation resembling religious zeal, upon reading that last statement appealing to Heaven and the One Who reigns there?
Fear not, you foolish ones who deliberately reject humanity’s only Hope. Christians are not into any sort of forced conversion agenda. We only urge you peacefully according to the Gospel of grace and peace to repent and believe on Jesus the Savior, King of kings and Lord of lords. As the non-establishment clause of its First Amendment makes clear, the Constitution did not establish a theocracy.
Yet as the non-hindrance clause of that same First Amendment makes clear, our noble Constitution was created for a God honoring people. The Constitution was begotten in a society which adhered (imperfectly, according to the corruption that permeates this fallen world) to the ethics of the Bible. Even if it is only a formality now, government officers’ right hands still are placed on that Bible when they swear to uphold the Constitution.
So even if the republic which Dr. Franklin and his colleagues gave us does fail, the pervasive and universal sovereignty of that same King of kings and Lord of lords generates unfailing hope in those who love and trust Him. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end! His servants will continue to come under the sword, but they will engage their enemies only with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God preached and taught.
And it might well be that as the peaceful kingdom of the risen and reigning Son of God advances inexorably toward His decreed consummation, a “resurrection flavored” future might obtain for the constitutional civil governments of future generations. Just like Magna Carta of A.D. 1215 wielded great influence for centuries, the U.S. Constitution will do so – perhaps for more centuries.
Perhaps like the fabled phoenix, a new America will rise from the ashes of the old. Better yet, perhaps many nations, as they are discipled according Christ’s great commission, will adopt the precepts of old America’s constitution and even improve it.
As King Nebuchadnezzar of ancient Babylon said, “How great are His signs, and how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:3).
Bottom line, you can’t beat the Galilean! Can’t touch this!