15 December 2012

Responding to an Invasion of Evil

Yesterday, evil invaded the quintessential 'American dream.' A seemingly safe small town, Newtown, Connecticut, was visited by a most unimaginable horror when a lone man, after murdering his own mother, walked into an elementary school and took the lives of 26 of God's creations, 20 of them young children between the ages of 5 and 10. On an otherwise typical Friday morning, one man, driven by a power and influence that many cannot fathom, forever changed the lives of 26 families.

One can scarcely think about this tragedy without the proverbial lump rising in one's throat and tears threatening to sting the eyes. How long, O Lord, must we endure the grip that the evil one has on this world?

In the midst of tragedy such as this, men search for a reason. Beyond that, men search for something to blame—something other than the obvious true culprit. The shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School cannot be blamed on guns, society or a 'personality disorder.' No, yesterday's tragedy was a grievous and gross demonstration of the fallen, sinful, depraved condition of mankind. This was about sin.

Every man and woman—even those precious young ones who lost their lives—is a sinner. Every person finds himself born dead in trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:1), totally depraved. By the grace of God, not every man or woman lives out his depravity to the utmost, or to the extent that can be seen in yesterday's shooting.
as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18, emphasis added)
This is human depravity, and this is the explanation for the events of yesterday. It will do the Christian well to remember this.

How, then, do we react? We grieve, we mourn, we shudder as we shed tears. But we do not lose sight of the sovereignty of God. Our Lord, the King and Creator of the universe, was not surprised when 20-year-old Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and pulled the trigger of his gun. God was not absent, and He is not indifferent. He is on His throne and He has never left it. Vengeance ultimately is His and, one day, evil will fully and finally be eradicated at His hand.
And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. 
(Revelation 20:7-15)
What, then? Does the Christian sit back and wait for God to deal out His retribution? No, dear Christian, respond to this in urgency and fervor. Twenty-seven lives ended yesterday in an instant. No warning, no second chance. Oh, how it must be remembered that today is the day of salvation (Heb. 3:15; 2 Cor. 6:2)! The Christian must be about the Lord's business, not merely 'extending' an invitation of the gospel to others, but proclaiming the great salvation that is found in Christ Jesus, and proclaiming it with an urgency and zeal that is as if the very life of the hearer depends upon it...because it does. The eternal life, the soul of those who now are lost depends upon them hearing the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tell them, Christian, that their good works can never pay the insurmountable sin debt that they owe to God. Tell them, Christian, that it is only the work of Jesus Christ that can save them. Jesus, Who lived the sinless life that man cannot. Jesus, Who though innocent, suffered the wrath of God and died as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of men. Tell them, Christian, that unless they repent of their sins and trust in Christ alone for salvation, they will not see Heaven, but rather will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity. Tell them, Christian, that they are sinners, but that God is merciful and just and righteous and gracious. Tell them the Good News, for you do not know if today may be their last.

Oh, Lord, may this tragic incident not leave us sitting frozen, shaking our heads and mumbling empty words of comfort. May the events of yesterday incite us to proclaim the Good News of salvation found in Jesus Christ. May we remember that tomorrow may never come, and thus today alone is the day of salvation.