November 5, 2017. The headlines exploded all over every TV, radio, and internet, another mass shooting and this time a church of all places. How could this possibly happen in a conservative Southern Baptist Church? How could this happen in the Bible Belt and a state where so many people carry a gun for protection? Why would God allow this to happen to some of His children? How can there be such evil in our world?
Last month we saw that this very evil is present in each and every heart. Yes, I said every heart. This is a very easy principle to see in scripture.
Romans 3:10-18 (NASB)
10 as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
16 Destruction and misery are in their paths,
17 And the path of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Not even one. Wow!!! How can that be? We know a lot of “good” people who would never hurt anyone. There has to be some defect in anyone who would do evil, “right”. This is what you will hear from most people.
But God says something very different. Solomon in all of his wisdom says this
Eccl 9:3 (NASB)
3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead.
You see that everyone who ever lived is capable of unspeakable evil. This is not my opinion or even bad thinking. It is exactly what God tells us about ourselves and we only have 1 authority and that is the Word of God
Gen 6: 5-6 (NASB)
5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart
What happened when God made this statement? We all know it as the great flood. That didn’t turn out very well except for 8 people. But the evil stayed with these 8 people and is consequently passed on every human that has lived or will ever live. So you are wondering what can we do? How can we control this evil if is within each of us? As you may guess from my other musings there is only 1 place. The Word of God.
Eph 6: 10-18 (NASB)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,;
Rom 6: 17-18 (NASB)
17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness
Praise be to God for him to give us the answer!
Rom 12: 1-2; 9-21 (NASB)
12 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Do not be conformed, renew our minds, submit, and obey. Sounds hard, sounds difficult. It is if you are not walking in close relationship with our Lord and Savior. Yes, it takes time and effort, and we have to face sin in our lives. We must be willing to change. If we ever hope to once again be a Judeo-Christian nation, we must as believers first clean up our own acts and then pray without ceasing for God to grant us a revival.
May He be glorified,