Grow • Devotion 6

John Adams
Dr. Randy Johnson

Earlier I referred to John Quincy Adams (6th president). In this devotion, I want to refer to his father, John Adams ((1735-1826). John Adams has quite the resume. He was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain. He was an attorney and signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was the first vice president and the second president of the United States.
President John Adams said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is whole inadequate to the government of any other.”

He tells us that the government was to guide and remind a group of people who already feared God. It was for a “moral and religious people.” However, everyone has a sinful nature so parameters were set in place. One of those involved private property. Instead of the state owning all the land, we can own land and have rights.

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution references private property rights, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” At a time when people where claiming stakes on land, the founding fathers mandated that you could not just take land from someone else.

This was not a new law as the Ten Commandments refer to these kinds of situations. The eighth commandment says, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15). The tenth commandment adds, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17). The goal is to not covet then you will not be tempted to steal. Actions tend to start from the mind and heart.

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