Summary: The faith of Abraham Lincoln is best expressed in the phrase he coined, “One Nation Under God!”
Thesis: The faith of Abraham Lincoln is best expressed in the phrase he coined, “One Nation Under God!”
Scripture Texts: On the phrase “One Nation Under God”
Genesis 18:18 – “Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations on earth will be blessed through him.”
Psalm 96:3 – “Declare his glory among the nations; his marvelous deeds among all the peoples.”
Ezekiel 36:23 – “I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.”
Revelation 21:23,24 –“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.”
A verse quoted by Lincoln on the condition of the country during his terms:
Matthew 12:25 “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.’”
Abraham Lincoln was a man who at first started out not having a thing to do with religion. He was the only president who never belonged to any church or denomination. Yet this man came to be inspired by the Bible and by God’s direction in his life and the country’s life. He was president during the bloodiest war to ever have happened on the soil of the United States. He watched many young men die and saw his country divided and in his day the church also was divided. He witnessed men speaking for God on both sides of the conflicts as if God was at their beckon call and justifying their own causes and their own victories in battles. As I have read up on Lincoln I am amazed at the insights he had on how God perceived the war and the victories-and the defeats. Abraham Lincoln had faith in God but little faith in the churches of the day. Listen to his comments on the religious meaning of war by him:
The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God can not be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party-and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His Purpose. I am almost ready to say this is probably true-that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere quiet power, on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds” (Christian History, Issue 33- page 12).
He also stated in another instance these words about God ‘s will, “That the almighty does make use of human agencies and directly intervenes in human affairs is one of the plainest statements in the Bible. I have had so many evidences of his direction, so many instances when I have been controlled by some other power than my own will, that I cannot doubt that his power comes from above” (Sweeting, 216).
The truth was God was revealing to Lincoln and the nation both North and South that he was not at their beckon call but that they were to be at His beckon call. He was not here to serve their self centered causes but they were to serve Him and if they realized this the war would come to an end.
Some of Abraham’s famous quotes about God:
In 1861:Lincoln leaves Springfield after a stirring address at train depot, including these words: “Without the assistance of that Divine being…I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail.” Civil war starts on April 12 a month after being sworn in as president.
In 1862: States privately, “God’s purposes” may be “something different from the purpose of either party.”
In 1863: On March 30 1863 he calls for a national fast for the nation that in his words has “forgotten God.” On Oct 24 tells a delegation of Presbyterians from Baltimore “…amid the great difficulties of my administration , when I could not see any other resort , I would place my whole reliance in God, knowing that all would go well, and that He would decide for the right” On Nov. 19 he gives the Gettysburg address.