“Tyranny can scarcely be practiced upon a virtuous and wise people.”
-John Adams (diary, 31 July 1796)
Therefore…make every effort to respond to God’s promises.
- Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence,
- and moral excellence with knowledge,
- and knowledge with self-control,
- and self-control with patient endurance,
- and patient endurance with godliness,
- and godliness with brotherly affection,
- and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
Study that list. Those are the qualities of a virtuous person. Therefore, those are the qualities of a FREE PEOPLE, a group over which no one can exert tyranny.
Lest you read through it quickly and just pick up on “endurance” and “affection” and think, Wow, that’s a list of sappy characteristics…a ‘turn the other cheek’ list. That’s exactly the kind of people who can be tyrannized…
…let’s look at the list again.
Faith isn’t an end in itself…it leads to moral excellence, and then to knowledge, and then to self-control. When we believe that God is Who He says He is, we are able to respond by striving to become who He wants us to be. As we continue to experience God’s presence (through prayer, scripture, preaching and meditation) our understanding of Him increases, as does our will to be like Him, and to please Him.
America may or may not have been founded as a Christian nation. But I know one thing beyond doubt: without a renewed commitment to Christian principles, we will continue to founder until we have sunk completely under the waters of tyranny.
I’d ask that you meditate on those verses today. And if you’d like to read an excellent book-length examination of that passage in II Peter, get hold of Mark Buchanan’s Hidden in Plain Sight (2007, Thomas Nelson).
“…unless you make every effort toward the right thing, you can have everything you need and still end up with the wrong thing.” (page 25)