Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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“God Isn’t Fixing This” ???

ImageAnother mass shooting took place on Wednesday morning, in San Bernardino, CA. Two shooters killed 14 and injured 17 others. At this writing, authorities are looking into the motivation and circumstances behind the killing.

We are living in fractious times. Each scary situation foments partisan rhetoric, and America is deeply divided as to how to deal with mass shootings and terrorist activity in our nation. It seems that ideologues are breathlessly waiting for that moment when they can triumphantly proclaim each incident as “domestic” or “Islamic” terrorism. It is as if the motivations of violent and often deranged criminals serve to validate their narrative. This is sad.

In this bulletin I don’t deal with politics. However, in this case the rhetoric has included an attack on God Himself. The front page of the New York Daily News Thursday, December 3, 2015 edition has, in font that covers the majority of the front page, the headline:

GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS

The front page includes tweeted quotes from different Republican candidates for President, who had sent expressions of sympathy to the San Bernardino community, and the families of the victims. In these tweets they stated such things as “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and brave first responders” (Rand Paul).

A major caption found on the front page reads:

“As latest batch of innocent Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes.”

Since only Republicans are quoted (when Democrats also offered “thoughts and prayers”), the message was obviously political in nature. Whether or not gun control measures could possibly bring an end to the “gun scourge” is a hotly debated political topic. Again, not the purview of this article. However, I do want to address the idea that the expressions of sympathy and prayers are “meaningless platitudes” because “God isn’t fixing this.”

Put simply, these crimes are examples of sin. The reality of sin is the byproduct of God’s creative act in granting mankind free will. Genesis 3:6 establishes the point in time when sin entered into the world, and 9 verses later we find the first intimation as to how God intended to “fix this.” In God’s curse of the serpent following the sinful fall of man, He said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel” (3:15). A consideration of Biblical context reveals this to be the first intimation of a Divine scheme for redeeming man. In the coming of the Christ a death blow would be dealt to the Devil and sin.

God “isn’t fixing” this, He has already fixed it! He sent His son to earth to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus came and gained victory over death. That victory gave those who are faithful access to eternal life in the presence of God. What too many fail to consider is that accounts are settled in eternity, not in the present. Consider the words of Paul, “…it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8).

Consider too that the solution to the evil that is found in the world is found in God’s word. It is found in the call to repentance, and to surrender one’s will to Jesus Christ. The fact that so many are unwilling to do so does not change the fact that this, and this alone is the full solution to the problem. All other “cures” deal only with the symptoms, never the cause.

Finally, with regard to the offering of prayers — Prayer does not, and never has abrogated the free will of man. As long as free will exists, evil will happen. And no thinking man wants to do away with free will.

What prayer does do is activate the providence of God. It may bring about God’s judgment upon a nation (cf. Acts 17:26-27); it may hasten the Lord’s final advent (cf. 2 Peter 3:11-13); it most certainly brings comfort and help in time of need (cf. Psalm 40:1). Significantly, it spurs benevolent actions on the part of the sincere petitioner (cf. Matthew 25:35-40).

Our society has largely rejected any concept of God that makes Him relevant and immanent in our world. If they do believe in a Divine creator they are Deists. That is, they accept His existence, but deny that He will intervene in the universe. They are like the scoffers in 2 Peter 3, who say “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (vs. 4).

As Peter stated to the scoffers of his day, what they and many today forget is that God has already judged the world once, destroying it by water. God will judge it again, “because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (vs. 12). Knowing this, the question for us is, “what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (vs. 11-12a). Be ready, for the Lord is coming!