Blog Devotionals

Religious Liberty in the Public Square

October 30, 2023 | Sam Rainer

An inward church always dies. An inward believer will inevitably become selfish. Our faith calls us outward to share the good news of Jesus. God expects Christians to interact with other people in the public square. Where is that? The public square is a physical or digital place
where ideas flow and people connect. Democracy thrives when the public square is open. Democracy dies when the public square is closed.

God wants all people to be saved. He wants everyone to have the opportunity to hear about His Son, Jesus, and choose Him. God also expects governments to provide peaceful societies where people have this opportunity. However, when the state becomes one with religion, it produces nominal followers. People comply rather than having genuine faith. But when the state becomes hostile to religion, religious persecution occurs.  Early Christians lived in a society that was tolerant of other beliefs. Everyone had their own god.

But the greater culture also allowed for injustice against the poor, women, and children. Christianity came along, and it made exclusive claims about Jesus, but at the same time fought for justice for the poor, women, and children. Guess which one thrived? Those who made the exclusive claims but who fought for the equality of others. It was Christianity that elevated the role of women. It was Christianity that cared for the sick in plague-infested cities. Those with the narrowest view had the broadest hearts.  How should we live today? Consider the words of Peter in his first letter.

“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.” – 1 Peter 2:12 (NLT)

We’re all made in the image of God, so we can see the good in others, even if they don’t believe like us. We can live a life of humility, so that others will see a true belief rather than a sense of superiority in us. Of all people, we know that we can’t morally outperform others on our own. We need God’s grace. And once we have the salvation of Jesus, we have a deep desire to share this grace. Our faith was never intended to be private. God wants us to publicize our faith so more people can hear about Jesus.  Onward!