Authority of a Constitution

In an election year, there is lots of talk about the Constitution among the candidates, and the attention they will give to upholding it. The concept of abiding by the Constitution is important, as it is the rule of the land for the United States. On the government website, we are informed, "The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the United States. Empowered with the sovereign authority of the people by the framers and the consent of the legislatures of the states, it is the source of all government powers" ( Authority is inherent, then, in the Constitution for governing our nation.

What, then, is a constitution, in general terms? A constitution is a system of beliefs and laws by which people are governed. Spiritually, Scripture is the constitution governing life for those in Christ. The New Testament is specifically a covenant relationship with God. Authority is inherent in Scripture, as it comes from God, the source of all authority. When thinking of a relationship with God, many people believe it all to be God's part, in offering His promises and blessings to those He counts as His children. Certainly, there are many promises, blessings, and benefits God offers those in a covenant relationship with Him. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4). By coming in obedience to the gospel however, we also commit ourselves to living in Christ, to obeying God's will for life. "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

The Hebrew writer reminds us, "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen"(Hebrews 13:20-21). When we are immersed into Christ, we are to no longer live for the sinful desires of the flesh, but for the will of God (1 Peter 4:2). We are to consider ourselves as dead to sin, but alive to God (Romans 6:6-7). It is only by allowing God to govern us through His constitution, the covenant established by the blood of Jesus, that we have the promise of an abundant life today, and eternal life afterwards (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In understanding this, the commitment we make to God, to live by His will, rules and commands, enables us to be free from the consequences of sin. It is by submission to God's will as revealed in Scripture that we enjoy all spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph. 1:3). It is in Scripture we find what life is truly about.

Paul reminded the Christians in Philippi their citizenship was in heaven (Phil. 3:20-21). In thinking of eternal life this way, we are reminded that God has established what we are to believe, the way of life we are to live, if we are to reach this goal. Sin only destroys, but living according to God's covenant, God's constitution, we find what is best. Scripture, as the God who gave it, is living and active (Hebrews 4:12-13), and cannot be altered or changed, without it no longer being able to fulfill God's promises (Galatians 1:6-9). Our challenge, our goal, is to yield to its terms and conditions. The question is whether one will continue in sin, or allow God, through His authoritative word, to shape us in His image for eternity. "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

Robert Jonson, Longview, TX