The sixth principle of our Judeo-Christian heritage is based on Matthew 7:12, which Jesus declared in the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 7:12 (NIV)
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”
Many know this saying as the Golden Rule, but here’s the challenge: No amount of legislation can enforce the Golden Rule – it has to come from the hearts of people. In other words, our form of government was never intended to change society because government is incapable of producing morality. Government can attempt to restrain immorality, but only the power of the Gospel can change people’s hearts. The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has more power to change the hearts of people than all the military might and legislative powers of any government.
William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, said, “Government seems to me to be a part of religion itself…let men be good, and the government cannot be bad.”
Ilias Boudinot, President of the Continental Congress in 1783, said, “If the moral character of a people once degenerate, their political character must soon follow.”
Thomas Jefferson, our 3rd President, said, “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator.”
These quotes reveal that the founders weren’t looking to government to change their society, but to safeguard the values that already existed. The way to save the political character of a nation is to change the moral character of its people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The reason our society seems to be morally decaying isn’t because of the government; it’s because the church hasn’t instilled faith in the teachings of the Bible into the hearts of people. When we cease to win the hearts of people, it’s inevitable that these ungodly people will make their way into leadership roles and take the direction of the country with them. However, if we change people’s hearts with the Gospel, the people will change the government with their votes.