This month in my morning devotions I finished reading the book of Deuteronomy. Eugene Peterson calls it the world’s longest sermon by the world’s oldest preacher.
I love Deuteronomy because it clearly lays out the landscape of the moral world. This fifth book of Moses is really an “Instruction Manual for Wise Living” from ancient times. The main idea is still relevant. When we love God and obey his commands, great blessings flow. But when we turn away from God’s blueprints for living, all hell can break loose because right and wrong have consequences.
By Friday the US Senate will confirm Neil Gorsuch as an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court. Gorsuch probably shares my opinion on Deuteronomy. It was the most widely quoted book during the Constitutional Convention.
Neil Gorsuch is a Constitutionalist.
Will God use his appointment to help stop the tide of lawlessness in our nation?
The Bible is pretty clear that in the last days, (prior to Christ’s Return), lawlessness will increase. People won’t obey God’s laws for living and will cut themselves loose from his commands.
Notice the Apostle Paul’s prophetic words in two New Testament passages:
“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
“For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10).
To highlight a few items:
- The first list of “bad behavior” comes from loving self and pleasure instead of loving God i.e. turning away from his standards.
- This involves a breakdown of “self control” including family disintegration.
- All these ugly and selfish actions come from a spirit of lawlessness.
- The ultimate immoral mind behind the lawless one (Anti-Christ) is Satan.
- Many folks will be deceived by the lawless spirit and reject God’s truth and salvation.
Sounds pretty bad to me. Lawlessness brings disobedience, godlessness and chaos. This philosophy comes from the pit of hell where Satan and his demons try to add human beings to their rebellion.
They operate out of a spirit (mind-set) of lawlessness.
On the other side, godly people love the order and beauty of law (Psalm 119). They know that societies that love, respect, and keep good laws are more peaceful and blessed.
Which brings us to the present. Have you noticed the growth of lawlessness in the Western World (Judeo-Christian based culture) in the past six decades? Do you lament the acceleration of that spirit of lawlessness in the past few years?
Here’s a brief overview of the growth in lawlessness (20th century):
1. The 1960s saw a wholesale revulsion of God’s precepts when millions of teenagers rejected their parents’ authority and moral standards and began to rebel, smoke dope, and sleep around. I know because I was there. It was a time of casting off inner restraints (self control) for pleasure -oriented hedonism.
2. In subsequent decades we tossed the Bible and prayer out of the public schools and even decided we would re-define murder to exclude killing your own baby (abortion). Lawless people changed God’s laws to cover up their rebellion and sin.
3. During this same period, we threw away God’s laws on debt and sound money–running up a staggering twenty trillion dollars in government IOUs (plus trillions more in personal debt). I noticed reading Deuteronomy that when you obey God’s principles, you become the lender, not the borrower (Deuteronomy 15:6). In two generations the United States went from being the world’s largest lender (think the Marshall Plan), to become the world’s greatest debtor. Tragic.
4. An incredible breakdown of the American family highlights the past few decades of lawlessness. The American two-parent home was once the bedrock of our society. Today, nearly 40% of American children have been ripped away from father or mother, and in some cities, single-parent homes are up to 70%. We’ve forgotten the good laws make families stable and great.
5. Did you notice that from 1960 to today we lost most of our wars–Korean, Vietnam, and now conflicts in the Middle East? Deuteronomy details that consequence of lawlessness: “The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth” (Deuteronomy 28:25).
Now let’s examine the 21st century acceleration of the lawless spirit:
1. The Obama Administration greatly advanced the rejection of biblical laws and mores by re-defining marriage, promoting gender confusion, and using the US presidency to govern by fiat. In eight years, the US Congress passed no budgets (a Harry Reed tactic). They simply operated by Continuing Resolutions that bypassed Congress and doubled the national debt in eight years.
7. Groups like Black Lives Matter, emboldened by the Justice Department, started a lawless war against police in large American cities. Dozens of cops have been mowed down during this season of anarchy. Occupy Wall Street made violent protest normal across the land.
8. Both in Europe and America, politicians laughed at sovereignty laws and proclaimed lawless “Open Borders” for many immigrants. Some European cities are powder kegs of rape and Muslim terrorism. In the United States, millions of illegal criminals are welcome in “Sanctuary Cities” in direct violation of federal law. We even changed the wording from “illegal aliens” to “undocumented workers.” Clever and lawless. Signs at many rallies say that “No One is Illegal.” Really?
9. A large scandal envelops our national security agencies as documents leak, intelligence laws loosen, and recent evidence points to one administration using the powers of government to collect information on their political opponents. This is unheard of lawlessness in American high places.
10. The Democratic Party knows it can’t win with its ideas at the ballot box (losing 1200 seats nationwide in eight years), so it resorts to pushing its agenda through the courts. Harry Reid changed 200 years of Senate protocol in 2013 by eliminating a 60 vote norm for approving federal justices. He did so to allow the Obama administration to pack the federal courts with lawless judges–those who do not respect the Constitution. They want to force a lawless secular agenda upon the people of the US.
We arrived at the 2016 election with a lawless spirit exploding on many fronts. Though Donald Trump was an unusual candidate, millions of Americans realized he needed their vote to help reverse the tide of lawlessness.
A major battlefield? The US Supreme Court.
Constitutionalist (lover of law) Antonin Scalia had died suddenly. The Court was grid-locked with four anti-law justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan) along with four generally law-respecting jurists (Kennedy, Thomas, Alito and Roberts).
The American people realized that generations of lawlessness–and maybe disaster–could sweep the United States if Hillary Clinton won and nominated another lawless judge. And then another. And maybe another.
America might not survive a lawlessly tilted Supreme Court.
So people turned out en masse to vote. One of the goals was to elect a president who would appoint a law-loving judge who could put his finger in the crumbling dike of American law and culture and help stop the explosion.
Donald Trump did the right thing and appointed Neil Gorsuch.
The Democrats are now screaming against an eminently qualified judge while threatening to filibuster a US Supreme Court nominee for the first time in history. They know that the only way governmental lawlessness can continue unabated is through SCOTUS overriding the will of the people.
But they won’t prevail on this one. Neil Gorsuch will win confirmation.
Here’s Gorsuch’s view of the law:
“I respect, too, the fact that in our legal order it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws. It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives.”
“Standing here in a house of history, and acutely aware of my own imperfections, I pledge that if I am confirmed I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great country.”
I believe Neil Gorsuch will do his part.
Will you do yours to combat the spirit of lawlessness?