Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Did God bless Nazi Germany?

Probably most readers could take one glance at the title above and blurt, “Of course not!” Some might feel anger that I even raised the question. After all, Hitler’s so-called Third Reich caused incalculable death, destruction, and misery that have continuing results to our very day. So why even pose such a bizarre question? Because of three simple words.

Although many people don’t realize it, the belt buckles of German soldiers in those years bore a slogan that was neither political nor military. It was a religious statement: “Gott mit uns.” Translated, those belt buckles stated, “God with us.”

Isn’t it outrageous that a nation responsible for so much misery would claim the presence and apparent blessing of Almighty God? Incredible, yes, but that’s exactly what they did. However, the Nazi hierarchy wasn’t unique in its goal to place God’s stamp of approval on itself. Political candidates, both in the U.S. and abroad, who normally take little interest in God sometimes make a point of getting photographed at church dedications or similar functions. Occasionally they’ll even tip their hat to God in a speech. Similarly, down through the years, cult after cult has tried to claim God’s exclusive blessing for its own followers. Years ago, when I asked a man if he’s a Christian, he bristled and responded, “I was born in America, wasn’t I? I guess that makes me a Christian.” Clearly, countless people like to assume that God is on their side” for various reasons.

The words “God with us” do actually appear in the Bible. However, they were never intended to give a blank check of support to any nation or political party. In Matthew 1:23, an angel foretold, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” In Jesus we have God manifesting Himself in the flesh, walking among humans, speaking the words of life we need to hear. He didn’t come simply to bless whatever we happen to be doing. Rather, He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Friend, are you one of those who try to use God to endorse the life you want to live? Or are you among those who leave behind their past lives in order to come to God on His terms?

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