Grow • Devotion 5

James Madison
Dr. Randy Johnson

James Madison (1751-1836) served as the fourth president of the United States. He is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He is clearly one of the founding fathers of the United States.

President Madison said, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” Today, places are removing the Ten Commandments (I wonder if it is okay to steal at those places) in the thought of separation between church and state. The goal of that was to keep government out of the church, not biblical principles like the Ten Commandments out of the government.

It is also interesting that President Madison challenged us to govern ourselves. Four of the Amendments of the U.S. Constitution refer to “the people.”

Amendment I says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Amendment II adds, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Amendment IX continues, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Amendment X says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

These amendments expect people to be responsible and to work together for the better of all.

Matthew 18:15-17 reminds us to work together, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

The goal is not to find a way to hurt others, but for accountability and restoration. We need to encourage one another but we also need to be willing to confront sin and be confronted when we are in the wrong. We need each other. We need to be able to count on each other.

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