July 4 will be our nation’s 235th birthday. On July 4, 1776, we formally adopted our “Declaration of Independence” from Great Britain.
Interestingly, John Adams told his wife Abigail by letter that he thought Americans in the future would celebrate July 2, as a great holiday.
On July 3, 1776, Adams wrote, “Yesterday the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among men.
“A resolution was passed, without one dissenting colony:
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“‘That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.’”
Adams concluded this way:
“It may be the will of Heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting, and distresses still more dreadful.
“If this is to be the case, it will have this good effect at least. It will inspire us with many virtues which we have not, and correct many errors, follies, and vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonor, and destroy.
“The furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals. And the new governments we are assuming in every part, will require a purification from our vices, and an augmentation of our virtues, or they will be no blessings.
“The people will have unbounded power; and the people are extremely addicted to corruption and venality, as well as the great.
“I must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as it may be, I firmly believe.”
Do you? Firmly?
Do you firmly believe that God rules over all, and even sends calamities and distresses for our nation’s good?
Do you believe that God must purify individuals, and our nation as a whole, from our vices, or he who can do all things will be unable to bless us?
Do you believe, with Adams, that all people by nature are corrupt, willing to do the worst for money?
Christians believe all of these, not because Adams wrote them, but because Jesus taught them.
More: Jesus died for all the world’s sins, showing both how bad our vices are, and how great God’s grace to all is.
Now Jesus lives. Jesus reigns. Soon he will reappear.
Do you trust in Jesus only, unfashionable as it may be?
The Rev. Daniel A. Witte, pastor of Risen Savior Lutheran Church, can be reached at 747-5564. For more information, see www.rsavior.com. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Herald, written by local clergy members.