Stop Signs Don't Stop Cars

Of course they don’t. Stop signs only indicate where and when a driver is to stop the vehicle. We all have seen vehicles proceed past a stop sitgn without stopping, while other vehicles stopped. It’s the driver who makes the vehicle stop!

So what’s the point? What is so patently obvious in obvious in driving is completely ignored in other areas, especially  concerning morals. Often it is said, “You can’t legislate morality. Laws that attempt to regulate morality are an effort in futility. Such laws have never stopped people from doing what they want.” In one sense this statement is true. No matter what laws a society makes concerning morality, some people will not comply. But the argument misses the point entirely. Such reasoning, when put in another context, is ridiculous. “Since laws against murder haven’t stop murders, it’s foolish to legislate against it.” Or, “Since many people steal and rob, it’s futile to make laws against such activities.” 

Laws, made by God or man, never will stop people from doing what they want. Laws and rules only spell out what is acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable. Each individual makes up his or her own mind to obey or disobey. Laws outlawing violent behavior against other human beings have not stopped, and never will stop violent behavior. Severe punishment and fines will never stop crime. Stop signs will never stop cars.

Crime will cease when individuals fear punishment to such an extent that they decide against being a violator, or in good conscience, decide to be obedient. The determining force in all actions is the person inside: “me, I.” “I” am the one who stops the vehicle; it is “I” who stops violating laws. “I” am the one who determines if I am going to be morally good or immoral. It is clear that laws made to govern morality do not stop immorality. They only indicate what is considered moral and what is immoral. Laws concerning morality (as found in the Bible) list what is condemned: But we know that the Law isgood, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.     (1 Timothy 1:8-11) These laws declared such behavior is immoral!

Mark it down! Those who say, “You can’t legislatemorality,” don’t want their actions condemned by any standard. The “Me” generation has given birth to individuals who know they are immoral, but don’t want to feel guilty about it. They want society to condone their conduct. They want laws that approve their lifestyles. They want God out of their lives. Laws that make immorality acceptable are nothing more than “painkillers” which produce a false sense of well-being. Making violent crimes acceptable may relieve the aggressor of any guilt; removing stop signs will keep people from running through them; making immorality acceptable in our society may cause one to feel good about himself. But such conduct will never be right. The problem remains. The facts haven’t been changed. The consequences must be accepted. Condemnation by God remains.How foolish it is to call bad “good.” The Scriptures speak of such foolishness: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And clever in their own sight!” Isaiah 5:20-21

Serving A False God

Mt Olympus, in ancient Greece, was once regarded the abode of the Greek gods. The deities believed to have dwelt there were Zeus, the king of the gods; his wife Hera; his brothers Poseidon and Hades; his sisters Demeter and Hestia; and his children, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Athena, Hermes and Hephaestus.

I am reminded, however, of a quip by D. L. Moody who once wrote, “You don’t have to go to heathen lands today to find false gods. America is full of them.”

For some, their god is pleasure. They live to enjoy their fleshly desires gratified. For others it is money. Many worship the golden calf of financial success and monetary gain. And still others bow before the trinity of power, position and prestige. This god demands a religious devotion and a cult-like control.

Conservative columnist, Cal Thomas, writes about another kind of god in a column pre-dated October 21, 2015. It’s about the false god of politics.

“As we continue to be bombarded by the words of politicians promising things they can’t deliver–like free college tuition and free heath care and ‘putting God back in America’–consider this. It’s from Psalm 4: “How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame?

How long will you love delusions and seek false Gods?”

“In our day delusions are all around us from the Kardasiahnsto politics. Politics has become a false God, a belief system to its own. Just like the ancient false Gods–from Baal to Molelch, to Greek statues and the Roman Emperors–none can deliver. None are real. None are God.”

“We Americans think we are more sophisticated than the ancients, but human nature never changes. The emptiness in every human heart meant to be filled by God himself is being filled by false gods, including the false god of politics. These can’t deliver either.”

Sadly, Cal Thomas’ words strikes a nerve that affects many conservatives, including Christians. I recently heard someone lead a public prayer asking God to touch the hearts of our national leaders to be guided by His Word. Then adding “so that we might be able to reach the lost.”

Really? I thought the power to reach the lost was through the gospel. (Rom. 1:16). I’m sure the brother leading the prayer meant well. And no doubt is concerned about the perilous direction of our country. Yet, the success of evangelistic outreach is not dependant upon which political party occupies the White House or is elected to Congress. The answer to what ails America will not be found in newly elected political leaders.  Our real problems are spiritual.  The root cause is sin. And the answer is Jesus Christ.

I am not opposed to political involvement, supporting a candidate, or voting. All are within our personal prerogative as citizens and Christians. But let’s not make a god out of politics.

Christianity was born and flourished in the Greco-Roman world of Emperor worship and cities filled with pagan gods. The means of “turning the world upside down,” was not overthrowing  the emperor or the policies of Rome, but the preaching of Jesus Christ. (Acts 17:5-9).

Political preference and party affiliation should not divide brethren. Nor become a stumbling block to reaching the lost who may hold divergent views. To paraphrase Paul, “All are one in Christ”–whether Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Green Party or Constitutional Party.

D. L. Moody was right, “Whatever you make most of is your god. Whatever you love more than God is your idol.” Indeed, it correct to say, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.”

“Choose this day whom you will serve.”