We have been considering the relationship between self-discipline and the possibility of free and responsible government in other areas. Men and women who are slaves to their vices are not going to be capable of creating or sustaining the various forms of public liberty that God wants us to enjoy. It is not possible to make a good omelet with rotten eggs, regardless how good your kitchen equipment is. It is not possible to build a firm and sturdy building with shoddy bricks.
But what lies behind the lack of self-control? Scripture teaches us throughout that we become like what we worship. This means that when we unravel into various kinds of indiscipline, the culprit behind it all is some form of idolatry.
There are many aspects to this, but let us just consider one. The difference between God and all the idols is this. God is a covenant-keeping God, and He is the one who blesses and curses. Idols are slave-masters, and so they bribe and threaten.
Let us compare the first part of this. God blesses and idols bribe and seduce. It is the difference between a cheesemaker rejoicing in the wheel of premium cheese he just made, and a mouse rejoicing in the little bit of cheese he just found for free on that little wooden tray. There are deep thinkers who want to reduce it all to the same thing because cheese involved in both.
God blesses with faith, obedience, long obedience, and then glory. Idols bless with a momentary glory, and then a sharp snap. A blessing is the reward for those who have been led out of bondage. A bribe is a tidbit that entices those are moving into bondage. The difference between the two is the difference between gold and glitter, between day and night, between honest labor and shoplifting, between Heaven and Hell. The differences are not subtle.