“Government Must Limit Man’s Selfishness”

"Think About It" - Heritage Ministries of Kentucky

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As America’s Founding Fathers were growing up as children one of the greatest revivals in all of history was occurring.  It would come to be called “The Great Awakening” as the Holy Spirit of God awakened Americans to the faith their Pilgrim Government Must Limit Man's Selfishness1ancestors had known so well.  The Bible became the standard once again for morals as well as manners.  They would grow up with the view of God and the view of man which the Bible revealed.  The Ten Commandments would set the boundaries for what was right and wrong in their generation.  The Biblical structure for education, business, and government would become their quest in building their society.  Their view of God was not the “teddy bear” god we’ve tried to shaped Him into in our day; rather, it was the Biblical revelation of Him as the awesome Creator and Ruler of all that is.  Because He was our Maker and Redeemer (in Christ) He was the One Who would be our Judge.

Thus, our current view of ourselves as being the focus of life was not their view.  They believed what the Bible teaches about man:  That is, though we were made in the image of God with the potential of being a channel for the life of God in this world, we had rebelled against our Creator and refused Him His right to rule in our individual lives.  This brought to us a sin principle which caused each one of us to think first of ourselves and what we want, rather than God and what He wants.  The Bible reveals this when it says,

“For by one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death passed on all men, because all sinned.”

(Romans 5:12)

And also,

“There is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good and sinneth not.”

(Ecclesiastes 7:20)

This selfish view in man would cause all the hurt in this world down through the centuries.  Noah Webster, the Father of America’s original education system would identify this.  He wrote:

“All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

(Webster, Noah. 1832. The History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), p. 309, paragraph 53. Noah Webster, The American Dictionary of the English Language (NY: S. Converse, 1828; reprinted, San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, facsimile 1967), preface, p. 22.)

As a result of this view, America’s Founders would create a government designed to hold in check this self-interest.  James Madison, who wrote our original Constitution, stated that the aim of government was,

Government Must Limit Man's Selfishness2“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

(1357.  Madison, James. James Madison, The Federalist No. 51, The Federalist Papers, Clinton Rossiter, ed., (New York: Mentor Books, 1961), p. 322. John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution – The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, A Mott Media Book, 1987, 6th printing 1993), p. 102.

To be able to do this, Madison said,

“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.”

(Ibid. Federalist # 51)

So they created a Biblical Republic:  That is, a government that placed law as the highest authority- the people (through their representatives) having chosen law that agreed with the Biblical moral law expressed in the Ten Commandments.  To make government “control itself”, as Madison said, they balanced the interests of one branch of government against the other branches of government.  While not perfect, it would be the most perfect government ever devised by man to this day.

To James Madison it has also been attributed to have stated:

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization…upon the capacity of each…of us to govern ourselves… according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

(Madison, James. 1778, attributed. Harold K. Lane, Liberty! Cry Liberty (Boston: Lamb and Lamb Tractarian Society, 1939), pp. 32-33.  Russ Walton, Biblical Principles of Importance to Godly Christians (Marlborough, New Hampshire: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1984)

Have you surrendered your will to Christ, receiving Him as your personal Savior— allowing Him to indwell you and live through you in this world?  This is the foundation of all successful government!

Think about it; because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you—and for your children!  And you won’t like what that brings to you.  I’m Don Pinson; this has been Think About It.