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Today I want to give you my take on this mass murder that happened in Santa Barbara. The killer, 22 year old Eliot Roger, killed 6 injured 13 others. I have listened to this on the news and, although the outrage is as it should be, the blame is being placed where it should not be placed.
As you would expect, guns are being blamed, but so is Hollywood and insufficient or ineffective mental health laws. As far as the blaming of guns is concerned, we need to remember that three of those killed were killed with a knife. Here are two articles on the subject in case you are not familiar with it.
The real cause is that we have turned our back on God and we have thrown out God’s principles. The result is that we are suffering at the hands of godless people. Roger is just a young man, barely an adult, and without the restraints of the fear of God there was nothing to stop him.
The real problem is an issue of the heart. It is rebellion against God and His ways. It is not just the individual, it is our nation that has this problem.
I want us to look at what some of the founders of this nation said and why our nation being founded on Christian principles is important. They believed that our nations laws were not sufficient to control the evil tendency in citizens. They believed that religious conviction based upon the precepts of the God of the Bible were necessary to do what law cannot do.
Let’s look at some of the things the founders of our nation had to say on the issue of keeping citizens on the right path, the path of doing what is right. I hope this will cause you to see how necessary God is to the proper functioning of our government.
John Adams said….
”There is no government in the world able to make a person to do what is right or able to control those who do not wish to be controlled…..”
There is no law that any government can pass that will make people do what is right. Even the most restrictive governments in the world cannot stop crime. Our founders knew what our present government officials have forgotten. It is impossible for a government to control the hearts of its citizens with laws. They knew that there had to be an internal constraint. They knew that this could only come from a knowledge of and relationship with the God of the Bible.
George Washington’s Farewell Address, whichused to be in all of the college textbooks, is missing from college text books today largely due to its religious content. In this address he pointed out that that the two foundations for political prosperity were religion and morality. He said:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars.”
Listen to what he said. He said you cannot call yourself a patriot if you work to get rid of these two great pillars, morality and religion. Our founders knew that Government and their laws could not control man to do good.
Washington went on to say:
“Let it simply be asked, ‘Where is the security for life, for reputation and for property, if the sense of religious obligation desert?”
If you lose the sense of religious obligation or duty, there will be no security for life, reputation or property. Nothing outside of man can control his heart and keep him from acting on his lusts.
Thomas Jefferson said…
“the precepts of philosophy laid hold of action only… (but Jesus) pushed his scrutinizes into the heart of man, erected his tribunal in the region of his thoughts, and he purified the waters at the fountainhead.”
He is saying that the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, will reach to the depths of the heart of man and bring conviction. They will set up a tribunal where the thoughts and intents of the heart are tried.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
It will purify the waters, or the actions, of the man at the fountainhead, the heart. The Word of God must be taught if it is to have this effect. Putting God out of our public forum takes away any control over the wicked impulses that we all have from time to time.
One of the most famous sermons of Jesus is found in Matthew 5-7. It is called the Sermon on the Mount. In this sermon Jesus expound upon and gives the real meaning of the law. For example listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28:
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Jesus is teaching that it is not the letter of the law, but the spirit or the intent of the law. It is not the law that keeps a man from doing wrong, it is what is in the heart.
Jesus also delt with the issue of killing another person in Matthew 5:21-22.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
In this passage Jesus equates hating a person with the same judgment as killing a person.
The point is that if you can prevent the hate in the heart, then you can prevent the crime of murder. If you control the lust of the heart, you prevent the adultery, rape, and all the other crimes that relate to these lusts.
If God’s is in the heart it will control the actions. The Founders pointed out to us that only religion can stop crime before it gets started!
Listen to the psalmist:
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalms 119:11
When we remove God’s word from a person’s life, we remove all control of the heart. We allow the thoughts to grow into intents, and finally they become actions. We are all born with a fallen nature, a nature that is corrupt to the core. The only thing that can change that is God and the teachings of the Bible as we live by them.
I hope you know that your works will not gain your salvation, but once a person is saved he wants to be controlled by God’s Word and to follow its precepts. Even a person who is not saved will control his heart, and therefore his actions, if God’s Word has been taught to him.
Because all crime comes out of the heart, if you control the lusts in the heart sexual sins will not be committed. If you control the hate in the heart you will end the crime of murder.
We have forgotten what our founders knew. This is why we are always seeking the why of crimes like this. The sad thing is that we, as a society, are not willing to admit that the fault is ours because we have turned away from God and His precepts. We keep trying to fix things with man made solutions. We think we can pass a law that prevents people from buying guns and we will solve the problem of murder and other violent crimes.
As I mentioned above, in the killings in Santa Barbara, three of the victims, that is half of them, were not killed with guns, they were killed with a knife. If murder is in the heart a way will be found to kill. Guns had not been invented when Cain killed Able yet Cain found a way because of the hatred in his heart.
Our founders knew that there must be something internal to control the heart. Without the control of religion (to the founders this meant Christianity) no law passed by the government can stop crime.
In a letter to the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, Adams declares point blank that:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Our Constitution was give to govern a moral and religious people. The conditions in our nation today proves that, as John Adams said, it is “wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
This is why it is so important that this nation turn back to God. If we do not our laws cannot do the job.
I might add that no other form of government ever has or ever will do any better job of controlling the hearts of men. Remember that the Russian Mafia was born under the totalitarian and godless government of Soviet Russia.
The only hope for ending violent crime is God’s Word in the hearts of the people!
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