Faith Matters: US law based on the Bible’s commandments

By ROBERT PECK

Pastor, River Valley Christian Church

Published: 03-10-2023 7:57 PM

The formation of the United States of America was based on what is known as the rule of law to guard us from tyranny and to promote peace and safety for all its citizens. Our forefathers were faced with the challenge of finding laws that would be compatible with the ideals of liberty and justice for all. To find laws that would be deemed best suited to the ideals found in the Constitution of the United States, they turned to the civil laws and commandments found in the Bible. James Madison confirmed this sentiment when he said, “The future success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.”

In the Book of Psalms, the Psalmist declares that the laws found in the Bible are derived out of the character and nature of God. Psalm 119:142 tells us “God’s righteousness is righteous, forever and His law is true.” (ESV) God as He reveals Himself to us shows what is right and what is true. By saying forever, He reveals the eternal nature of these laws. God is eternal and so are His commandments. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson appears to confirm this belief when he said there are laws that govern in the affairs of men, which are “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”

John Jay, one of the writers of “The Federalist Papers” and the first chief justice of the Supreme Court is reported to have said, “The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.” He also went on to say, “No human society has ever been able to maintain both order and freedom, both cohesiveness and liberty, apart from the moral precepts of the Christian religion. ... Should our republic ever forget this fundamental precept of governance, this great experiment will then be surely doomed.”

The question is has the United States moved away from the fundamental precept of governance? As a minister of the gospel it is my opinion that, from the middle of the 20th century until now, our nation has drifted away from the moral fabric woven into the foundation of our nation by the Founding Fathers. Fewer people now believe that God’s word, the Bible, contains natural law that benefits all mankind when obeyed.

My faith, however, is built on what Proverbs 14:34 tells us: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (ESV) John Adams expressed it in this way when he said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

I believe that teaching people how to have a relationship with God and follow His precepts and commandments is the best way for our nation to find the peace and justice we all seek.

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Graduating from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in 1974, the Rev. Robert Peck has served as pastor in several New England churches. In 2012, the River Valley Christian Church was formed in Shelburne Falls as storefront church. The church celebrated its 10th anniversary as a fully formed church in October 2022. The River Valley Christian Church is located at 345 West Leyden Road in Colrain, meeting in the East Colrain Chapel. The church is a member of the Evangelical Free Church of America. For more information, visit the Facebook page.

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