One of my all-time favorite books of the Holy Bible is Romans. There are a few reasons I say this. My most common explanation for this, is the parallel to our current day and age. The United States of America has begun to fall the same fate as the ancient Roman Empire. This isn’t a myth. History is the fabric of actual national and regional events occurring daily. This is what makes antiquity, or what is called the past. As with humanity, the world is a fallen place.
The Roman Empire may have been a historical foreshadowing of what America later aimed to be in material glory. The end results for all parties involved though are the same. Rome, as with America, existed for itself. The life of a Roman was existence to the State. It was conforming to what society said was acceptable, which again, appears much like American society in our modern era. If the Judeo-Christian principles that were first established by the Founding Fathers are abandoned, then what better are we than the Romans? We are not.
Three things begin to happen to people once they begin conforming to what society tells them to be. Stagnation, rebellion, and then finally, collapse. So let’s say you watch the evening news, a news segment ends and a commercial pops up. Flashy stuff, huh? The problem here is that marketing media moguls force onto the consumer (of cable television and mass media) their vision of how society should act and look. With education being watered down, its to no surprise that the abandonment of the Founding Christian ideas has become more forefront.
Prior to the educational system being messed with at the break of the 1900’s, Christianity was commonplace. It was considered normal to attend church, study scripture, and support your neighbor in their daily affairs. In fact, church at one time was the only place you could receive your political news. It is this fact that evidences the inseparability of church and state function. America was designed into the fabric of its culture Judeo-Christian values. Without them, we are Romans. Without them, we are broken. Without them, we will not stand as one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. After all, are we not the Roman Empire?
Paul the Apostle wrote the Book of Romans around 57 A.D. The theme of Paul’s book was The Righteousness of God. One key verse states: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the Power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” – Romans 1:16-17. Chapters six through eight contain the foundational principles on the spiritual life. Romans answers questions on how to be delivered from a sinful life, and instead show how to live a balanced lifestyle through grace, and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans dives deep into the critical importance of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross at Calvary. Paul, using a question-and-answer format, prepares the most systematic presentation of doctrine in the Bible and balances his narrative with practical encouragement. With undivided application of Scripture to the daily lifestyle of the Christian believer results in a life being lived in righteousness. This virtue is reflective of the open grace of God.
In 1911, President Woodrow Wilson gave delivered a famous speech in Denver, Colorado. His speech was called, “The Bible and Progress.” In his speech Wilson told the crowd, “America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture.” It was out of this foundational thought, this principle, which laid out the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. It is America that promises us a life to be lived in virtue. In 1976, President Jimmy Carter said, “We have a responsibility to try to shape government so that it does exemplify the will of God.”
Daniel L. Smith, Historian