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What is God doing about Evil?
There are a number of ways to answer this question. My reply to the question of evil is simple, “read the Bible.” Perhaps the subtitle on the cover of every Bible should be, Jesus Christ Overcomes Evil. The entire Bible addresses the question of evil. God does not like evil, He hates evil, and He has a vested interest in doing something about evil. In fact, God radically address evil. This is what the Bible is all about; God addressing the problem of evil.
Think about this, evil results in death. Every evil action, even a seemingly mundane evil act like gossiping, has the ultimate outcome of death. This is why we all hate evil. Humans want to live forever, but we can’t because of evil. War is evil, it kills people. Violence is evil, it kills people. Stealing is evil; it results ultimately in hunger which kills people. Easier to argue is the antithesis; evil acts never result in giving life. Evil never helps us live longer. Goodness brings life, evil brings death.
How does God address evil? Jesus stared evil in the face. He literally took evil upon Himself; He absorbed it and let evil take His life. Jesus fully bore the death evil brings so we would not have to bear the outcome of our own evil. The Bible says Jesus became sin for us so we could be made right. We need to put our faith in Jesus, who He is and what He did. This is the Gospel. God gave His only begotten Son so whosoever would believe in Him would have everlasting life. Those that believe in Christ have the evil in their life eradicated.
After taking evil upon Himself, Jesus destroyed it completely. The evidence of this is Jesus rose from the dead. Christ continues to live with the power of indestructible life. Evil has no hold upon Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the “Firstfruit” of those who die; which means He is the first to rise in an immortal, indestructible body, and as such He heads a whole new order as its Sovereign. Jesus Christ brought everlasting life to a dying Creation infected by evil. The Apostle Paul proclaims Jesus Christ as firstborn from the dead. This means Jesus has all the rights and privileges of all that exists in eternal Creation.
The resurrection proves Christ’s victory over sin, evil, and death. The resurrection of Christ is why we have hope. The resurrection is the reason why evil does not shake our faith. We know evil has an end.
Without the resurrection, our view and thoughts regarding the events that take place around the world, the horror, the evil, we can easily be filled with despair. No words may sufficiently describe how evil impacts our lives. Human justice is unable to hand down adequate sentences for the evil we see committed. Besides; no human judge can restore life after evil steals it away. Without the resurrection, we are most miserable.
God has seen our need for a Savior from evil. We look at the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The power over sin and the hope of resurrection over death is the only adequate answer to provide peace of mind when it comes to the question of evil. Christ the Judge of the living and the dead and Christ is the giver of eternal life. He is our hope, our light in darkness. He has already judged evil.
People are looking for answers. The answer they need to hear, “evil, sin, destruction, and death do not have the last word.” Jesus is not finished speaking and Jesus has the last word. Evil and death are defeated by Jesus Christ. The grave is not the victor; death has lost its sting.
There is no place of darkness where the Prince of Glory may not shine His light. There is no door he cannot open. He has the keys to every kingdom and every domain. Every knee bows and every tongue confesses to Christ. He is supreme over all. Our Savior has first place over sickness and death. He has first place in everything.
Rejoice O, Christian Rejoice. Rejoice in the supremacy of Jesus over evil and death.
Last week’s sermon on Matthew 17:14-21, entitled “How to Exercise Faith,” raised some good questions from a couple of folks. I thought I would try to answer them here. I have answered some other questions about healing before, and you can read those by clicking this link to the previous article.
The first question relates to what is often called the “Word of Faith” movement. This describes a segment of professing Christians who believe that “faith” operates through our “words” by speaking into reality whatever we have enough faith for. The question says, “Your message seems to strengthen the argument made by the Word of Faith movement, that if someone has enough faith, then they can be healed by God…what can be said to those seeking healing, but don’t receive it and yet believe their faith is true enough to experience God’s healing?”
I was very careful in my message to point out that the nature of “faith” as the term is used in the Bible is believing and trusting in “(1) the nature of God, (2) the power of God, and (3) the promises of God.” The simple answer to this question is that there is NEVER a promise in Scripture that God will heal you.
It is in the NATURE of God to heal–that is why He accomplished eternal healing at the cross (Isaiah 53:5 – the healing in the atonement is from sin, not sickness). This is also why He sometimes physically heals in the present by His grace. As well, it is obviously and certainly within the POWER of God to heal. He can heal anyone, at any time, of anything, if He so desires. That being said, however, there is NOT a PROMISE that God WILL heal anyone, at any time, of anything. Our “believing” that He will (or must!) is misplaced confidence in something God has not promised. That is why I pointed out, “faith is not a feeling of confidence” about something you desire or pray for. Faith is trusting in a promise given by a good and powerful God, but still unseen in reality. Because we have no promise of healing, we cannot “claim that promise” by faith, and speak it into reality by our faith or prayers. Sadly, that is what the “Word of Faith” adherents claim to believe and practice, and it has been the cause of great disappointment and spiritual instability in many.
A second question I received was this: “How do you pray in faith for things you aren’t sure are God’s will, or about which you do not have a specific promise?”
Another great question. Perhaps an illustration would help. If I asked you, “How does a child ask his mommy for a apple to eat, when he does not know if she has any apples in the house, or if his mommy wants to give him one?” I think your advice would be obvious. He just asks her. He voices his desire, hopefully with humility and contentment in his heart and voice, and trusts that she will answer in whatever way is generous and/or good for him. God’s heart is turned toward the good desires of his children, just as a mother would be inclined to give her child an apple when he asks. We pray the same way, because we know God’s character to be generous (“how will He not also with Him freely give us all things” [Romans 8:32]). If He withholds our requests, then we can be confident that it is good for us. But we can humbly appeal to His love and generous nature, and voice our desires with contentment, knowing that His heart is stirred by our requests, and His desires will be carried out fully. He delights in our asking for good things, He delights in putting His goodness on display by granting them, and He basks in the worship and gratitude that issues forth from these expressions of His kindness toward us. So keep asking, that you might keep receiving, worshipping and thanking Him!
The third question is a little tougher. “How can one know if the measure of their faith is sufficient or ‘little’ in the Lord’s eye?”
There are no clear guidelines laid out in Scripture for this one. Therefore, we are left to compare our prayers, attitudes, actions, and motivations of the heart with the examples of Scripture. Are we being distracted by circumstances like Peter (Matthew 14:28-31)? Are we persisting in prayer, and not giving up, like the widow (Luke 18) and importunate neighbor (Luke 11:8)? Are we doubting the Lord’s power to protect us from the storm like the disciples (Matthew 8:26)? Are we doubting that God can provide (Matthew 6:25-34). Because we don’t have a particular word or promise from God about our specific circumstances, this kind of comparison and honest assessment is the best we can do–this is how the Word “judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). If you do not find your prayers, attitudes, actions or motivations lacking, then you should continue to pray with a contented heart, believing that God is good and knows best what is needed. Every answer of “no” or “wait” from God is not caused by “little faith.” He may have other lessons for you to learn, like steadfastness, contentment, or joy in the midst of your trials. Don’t miss those lessons because you’re just assuming your faith is small.
I hope that helps. Feel free to comment and interact. I’ll be around.