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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.
The priests in the Tabernacle, and later the Temple, operated under the Levitical commands of the Mosaic Covenant. Their daily sacrifices and offerings were required so God’s people were able to commune with Him and be led by His grace and mercy (click here to read a post about OT sacrifices). The sweet aromas of the burnt, meal, and peace offerings and the not so sweet aroma of the sin and trespass offerings wafted out of the altar of the courtyard. The priests performed their daily rituals with reverence and obedience.
The Mosaic Covenant, along with the Levitical Priesthood, is now obsolete. It finished when the great High-Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, made final intercession on our behalf. Scripture tells us that He sat down, having completed His Priestly ministry. It finished after He entered the Holy of Holies of heaven’s tabernacle and sprinkled His blood on the mercy seat. Because of His sacrifice on the cross, there remains no more sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:1-18). His sacrificial act rendered the Old Covenant obsolete and established the basis of the New Covenant.
Christianity is the New Covenant God has made with mankind. The New Covenant also comes with a new priesthood. Every Christian is a priest in the new Covenant. As priests, we have different privileges and responsibilities than the priests of the Mosaic Covenant.
Here are the functions of the priesthood Christians should concern themselves with. Welcome to the priesthood!
Not sacrifice for sins
We need to explicitly understand there is a major difference between the priests of the Old Covenant and the priests of the New Covenant. The primary function of the Old Covenant priest was to make an offering for sin for themselves and on behalf of other people. Because Christ has already made a complete and finished offering in the New Covenant, any offering we give or any sacrifice we put forth, is not done with the pretense of cleansing ourselves from sin. We are to make offerings and sacrifices; however, we are not to do so as a way to present ourselves sinless before God. Never undervalue the complete saving work of the cross by adding more sacrifice for sin.
Love God and others
Love fulfills the Law. As priests, we are to love God and others. To love God with all our heart, understanding, and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves, is an offering far exceeding any burnt offering and sacrifice (Mark 12:33). When we love God and others it is better than the choicest offerings and sacrifices performed by the Levitical priests. God desires we show compassion towards one another more than He desires sacrifices (Matthew 9:13; 12:7). When we are walking in love, it is an offering and sacrifice with a fragrant aroma to God (Ephesians 5:2), pleasing to Him. Doing good toward others is a pleasing sacrifice on the altar (Hebrews 13:16). As priests, let us be fully governed by love.
Minister the Gospel
We are a royal and holy priesthood, set apart by God to proclaim God’s excellency (1 Peter 2:4-10). For mankind, the excellency of God is displayed in the dispensation of His grace. Just as the Levitical priests were set apart for the proclamation of God’s holiness through sacrificial offerings for sin, we, as a priest in the New Covenant, minister the gospel (Romans 15:16). We offer up the sacrifice of our lips, giving thanks to God (Hebrews 13:15). Our priestly proclamation is the declaration of the atoning sacrifice for sins made by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
The Levitical priests worshipped God by making offerings. We also are to serve and thereby make continual offerings. Our worship is to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, not conformed to the world, but transformed (Romans 12:1-2). Our living sacrifice is the pouring out of our lives for others. (Philippians 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:6). Serving others manifests in a myriad of ways (shoveling, cleaning, discipleship, baby-sitting, nursing, laundering, witnessing, moving, cooking, etc.). We demonstrate a heart of gratitude when we offer up to God acceptable service, performed with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28).
One of the functions of the priests in the Old Covenant was to keep the altar of incense burning in the Holy Place. The altar continually burnt with incense and the aroma was pleasing to God. The Apostle John writes that he saw the prayers of the saints as an offering being made before God (Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4). When we pray, God is honored and enjoys the sweet aroma before His throne. Just as the altar of incense in the Tabernacle burnt continuously, our prayers are to be unceasing.
In the Old Covenant, people gave to the Levites so they may minister. In the New Covenant, all believers are to be giving of their finances for this is an acceptable sacrifice to God (Philippians 4:18). Apostolic mission work, benevolence, and church ministry require financial support. We please God when we participate in the giving of our finances for the purpose of honoring Christ and His body.
Let us be sure to ask God to grant us wisdom and grace for the ministry set before us.
God’s Will in Christ Jesus & Perseverance of the Saints
The Apostle Paul told the Colossians a specific prayer he had for their church. The prayer was they “may be filled with the knowledge of His (God’s) will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding …” (Colossians 1:9).
God’s will is the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. This is known as giving Jesus Christ preeminence (first place) in all things. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess Jesus is Lord. God has put all things on earth in subjection to Christ; every dominion, tribe, kingdom, ruler, authority, and government is under His Lordship. All the principalities and powers of the heavens are subject to Christ’s rule as well. It is God’s perfect plan, and God’s good pleasure, in Christ all the fullness will dwell. Nothing will stand in the way to prevent God’s will from taking place.
The Apostle Paul desired Christians to understand God’s will fully, completely and practically. Paul understood how the knowledge of God’s will ought to shape and control the life of those that follow Christ. Our ambition, energy, words, accomplishments, and our response to every situation and circumstance we face (every function of our being) must always have the goal of exalting Christ. In even the most mundane, ordinary tasks of everyday life; Christ is to have first place. Anything and everything we do that is not Christ-like, not exalting Christ, not giving Jesus Christ first place; is outside of God’s will.
Paul told the Colossians an outcome of the prayer would be their being strengthened for perseverance (1:11). The strengthening would be with the same Holy Spirit power God anointed Christ with for ministry; declaring Him to be the Son of God with power; the power for Christ to do good, heal the sick, and cast out demons. It is the power strengthening the Gospel for salvation. It is the power raising us up on the last day.
Just as God wanted the Colossians to know His will, God wants us to also know His will. God also wants us to know as a result of this knowledge, we will be strengthened for all steadfastness and perseverance.
God grants tomorrow’s resurrection power today so we may persevere, overcome sin, walk in the Spirit and not the flesh, power to continue walking in Christ. God gives us this power, “according to His glorious might.” The Greek word used here by Paul means a “power able to overcome any resistance.” It is God’s miracle working power. Nothing may stand against God’s power. It “disarmed the rulers and authorities of darkness, and made a public display of them, having triumphed over them.” It is the power giving God the name, “Almighty God.” The power of almighty God to split the Red Sea, crumble the walls of Jericho, the power used to spin a tornado, and the power used to create the Universe and set it in motion, is working in us so we steadfastly and patiently persevere.
It is this almighty power of God keeping the saints steadfast in faith, even in the worst of circumstances; even the intense persecution described at the end of Hebrews 11: torture; destitute conditions; affliction; ill-treatment; wandering in deserts; mocking and scourging; chains and imprisonment; put to death with the sword; stoned; and being sawn in two.
The Saints in Christ are given this miraculous power to steadfastly continue in the faith, waiting patiently for God’s sure deliverance, never losing hope.
We cannot save ourselves and neither may we continue in our salvation on our own. It is only by the power of God we can continue in the faith. The Saints walking in Christ are not ill and weak Christians, but able to stand strong in every situation.
Why, because this is God’s will in Christ Jesus. Think about this. God has ordained a body of believers to be members of the body, with Christ as the Head. How does it bring Jesus Christ glory if He loses even one member? How is Christ preeminent if one, which God ordained elect before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), is lost along the way? Paul told the Philippians, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” God purposes to complete each and every work of salvation that He begins. All the Father gives Christ, the Father keeps in Christ. The Body of Christ, the Church, the Bride, will be presented on the last day with EVERY member present, complete, to the glory of God.
God is our deliverer, nothing can snatch us out of His hand, and nothing can separate us from His love. His power cannot be overcome. God will not and cannot be defeated. Knowing God’s will, with all spiritual wisdom and understanding, allows us to face any circumstance and know we will be with Jesus someday. Knowing God, whose plans cannot be thwarted, is highly exalting the Son allows the Saints in Christ to see HOPE brightly shining in the darkest of nights.