In the minds of some, “all men are born free and equal.”
To others this is outright heresy.
And it may be conceded that what resides in the minds of men is not necessarily true to fact.
One may be called a Communist because he disagrees with that above quotation, even though the Communists have their own race problems which they like to try to hide. One may be called an obstructionist, if he does not agree with this broad statement that is accompanied by not one shred of proof or attempt at proof. One may be called a racist and disloyal to his country and decidedly unpatriotic. But even that does not change the fact or actually make him any one of these.
It is as plain as the sun in the heavens that all men are not born equal. And were all men born free, there would not be all this talk of guaranteeing him the four freedoms. He would have them, without the legislation of men. And when I say that all are not born equal and all are not born free, this does not at all mean that the color and race of a man has anything to do with it. There are blacks that are not equal to whites because they are superior to these whites. And there are whites that are superior to, blacks. There are whites not equal to other whites, and blacks not equal to other blacks. That is not the point. Is the white Cadillac a better automobile because of its color? Is the petunia a more beautiful flower than the pansy? Well, you are entitled to your preference. And there are men skilled at certain work who are all thumbs when it comes to other activities. You can take two motors of the same kind and compare them. You can take two flowers of the same species and note their differences. But to make all, things equal, when there are not only external but also internal, psychical differences is to compare the beautiful flower with a graceful animal, a piece of music with an oil painting. They are not in the same class and are not to be judged in the same way. Surely they are not in a broad sweeping term to be called equal. There are blacks with whom I would rather be equal than some whites I have learned to know. There are blacks who differ so far from me that I would feel highly insulted to be told that I was their equal; and so would you. There are blacks, who are children of the living God and have the same life of Christ within them that by His grace I may have. And this black brother does not say that he is my equal; and I do not say that I am his. Both of us in sincerity before God say with Paul, “. . . let each esteem other better than themselves.”
And, if you please, when pretty soon, the books are opened and every man receives the things done in his body, it will be all too plain that all men are not equal. According to works each shall take his place in glory or in torment. There will be degrees. Some will be over ten cities, some over five, and some over two. There are ranks and degrees of angels; and some are arch or chief angels, the others are not.
So much talk is given in this day and age to man’s rights. And because it is maintained that all are equal, all have the same rights. But what is man’s right? Just to what does man actually have a claim? Upon what may he insist? What may he say is his and that he shares equally with other men? Before God he has no right at all to anything. All men are born equal in that ethical sense that they are all conceived and born in sin. All have come short of the glory of God. All are totally depraved, inclined only to all evil. All can expect the everlasting torment of God’s wrath. To what do we by nature have a right? To nothing, absolutely nothing that is good. But let the Word of God speak. “The wages of sin is death.” That is our pay. That we may claim. To that we have a right and to that alone.
But what about before men? Do I not have the right and does not every man, woman, and child have the right to claim certain privileges and benefits before and with other men? We have said it before that we have no delight in mistreatment of any human being, regardless of his race, color, or nationality. He is my neighbor regardless of the color of his skin. He is the man God placed next to me with the calling to walk in love with him regardless of what his psychological and emotional make-up is. I must seek his well-being, promote his good, show honor and fidelity towards him, if he is in authority over me, show patience, meekness, mercy and kindness, prevent his hurt, live chastely with him, deal with him as I desire to be dealt with by others, and promote his good honor and character whether he is physically like me or my very counterpart; You look in vain in God’s law for a distinction that will allow different treatment to the one neighbor from that of another neighbor.
And what I want to say, in His fear, at this’ time is that we must not simply talk about civil rights and a Civil Rights Bill. We had better talk also about a right to be civil. In the midst of much abuse, it certainly does not do the cause of justice any good, to retaliate with more and bolder abuse. To kill, and wound, and destroy property is not what the Civil Rights Bill grants to anyone. To kill, and wound, and destroy property, to incite riot and revolt is to reveal that all one’s rights should be taken away! According to the Word of God, such must be put in prison and have their freedom taken from them! Ministers of the Word who love the truth and preach, the gospel in truth will not advocate breaking God’s law. Civil right never goes contrary to the right way pointed out in God’s Word. The murderer, be he black or white,—with God there is no respect of persons,—must be put to death! All right to continue on this earth and to live among men must be taken away from him. (Even in that respect all men are not born free and equal. Some are slaves of deep passions of hate and murder. We are by nature born in the slavery of sin, it is true. But some are born to be murderers in the very deed and display it already in childhood.)
Men may pass a Civil Rights Bill, but men can never cause and force man to be civil and to do what is right. That is a matter that must begin in the heart. For that reason we may expect more race riots, more violent demonstrations, and more laws and attempts of man to change a hopeless situation. And let the Church preach the gospel and not serve the kingdom of the anti-Christ. Let not the Church sell Christ short. The whole solution and the only solution to the problem is redemption and regeneration. And let the Church preach that, and not men’s laws and vain ideals.
There really is no, solution to the problem as far as man is concerned. The Word of God indicates that we rush towards more of this than at the moment is our painful experience. According to God’s program, decreed from all eternity in His sovereignty, the wound the human race suffered at Babel will, as we begin to breathe down each other’s necks, and as the world is shrinking in size to a very small globe, fester and produce more and more pain until it has global proportions and implications. Soon enough, even though for a brief period of time, the man of sin shall seem to have solved the problem with his worldwide empire, the pagan nations, Gog and Magog, shall rise up to assault the Christian nations. The battle of Armageddon shall explode before the eyes of that world-wide power of the antichrist. A race riot of universal proportion shall result. It will not simply be black against white and underprivileged in our nation against the privileged, the have-nots against the haves. But it will be hordes of pagan peoples, who, for a time, because of the power of the beast, gave their power to that beast for the reasons of self-preservation, will in utter disgust and boldness rise up against that once prosperous and utopian kingdom of the son of perdition to assert themselves and seek to take over the world. That is predicted in Revelation 16. Paganism has always revealed itself as an unchanging foe of the Church. Ulterior purposes, advantage for the flesh may dictate Cooperation and even fellowship with the so-called Christian nations. But the seething hatred underneath the utter and apparent contempt for “decadent” Christianity will in time bring forth an explosion and engulf the whole world in one vicious conflagration of violent warfare. Gog and Magog, the pagan nations, are not and never have been equal to the so-called Christian nations and have never had their place in the sun as leading, ruling kingdoms. They have been the underdog, the races that had to take the back seat in world affairs, while eyeing the foremost seats and secretly and unceasingly longing and waiting for the day when they may climb up and be equal. The race riots in our country today are only a little disturbance compared with the universal race conflict that is building up and will some day bring the real World War of Armageddon. Even while these lines are being written (August 6) pagan China,—Red China,—is not only attempting to produce its first nuclear device which fl pave the way to becoming equal with nuclear bombs, but is boldly fostering and carrying on attacks upon our ships. The lines of Armageddon tie being drawn. The day itself may be far off,—and it might be nearer than we think,—but the conditions are here and have been here since the Tower of Babel and the confusion of tongues.
A Civil Rights Bill in the United States is not going to affect that global conflict between the races. A Civil Rights Bill of United Nations, League of Nations, United States of the World, the kingdom of the antichrist, or the like, is not going to bring equality and freedom and peace to the world.
Let the Church preach the gospel of Christ. Let the Church hold forth the Word of life and not the philosophy of death. Let the Church preach Christ and Him crucified. Let the Church preach the truth, for the truth shall make us free. There is only one way for this world to become free and for all fear to be banished forever from this earth. And that is the way of the fear of the Lord. Only the fear of the Lord can drive away the fear of men. Only faith in God can give us any hope of a world in which each esteems other better than himself and we mind not our own things but seek the well-being of others. The love of God must be in our hearts. And then we will dwell in love with the neighbor for God’s sake. A Civil Rights Bill? What is wrong with the Ten Commandments? What is wrong with the Beatitudes?
Do you not see that men can legislate civil rights but cannot make men civil? It is worse than that. Not only can you not by legislation make a man deal civilly with his neighbor, no man can give to any man the right to be civil, nor surely the power to be civil. For what is it to be civil but to deal with the fellow citizen according to God’s law? It is not mere forbearance from rudeness. It is not simply courtesy and outward politeness. The one citizen has a calling from God to deal with the other citizen in a particular way. It is not simply a matter of meeting certain requirements and stipulations which are set by men, nor even by governments. It is a matter of the law of God and thus of love towards the neighbor. Such is the second commandment, according to Jesus, and it is based upon that first commandment that we love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. And until you have changed man’s heart so that he loves his neighbor, you are not going to get civil treatment; and civil rights will not be maintained. You cannot legislate honesty. You can demand it by legislation; but you cannot realize it by drawing up a law and even by punishing, those who violate it. Murder has been outlawed from Cain’s day onward. But it has not been eradicated by punishment or laws of man.
Neither will you get the races to accept one another and treat one another civilly until you have changed, the hearts of all men. And that you and I cannot do. Redemption by the blood of the cross and regeneration by the Spirit of Christ alone can realize this. What is more, that cross is also the only basis for our receiving the right to do what is civil and good. We forfeited all blessings and all good and right to good behavior when we joined Satan’s army against the living God. We do not even have the right to desire to be changed. Even that right to desire we lost. We became guilty, worthy only of death. And we knew it and hid under the trees of the garden. The cross gives us the right. The Spirit gives us the desire and power. For Philippians 2:13 declares that it is God that worketh in us TO WILL as well as to do. In His fear we will not dare to say anything else. We will not claim that right of and in ourselves. And the Church will proclaim that cross and a perfect kingdom where the races are united in love by the power of the Spirit of Christ.