Friday, July 8, 2016

In the aftermath of tragedy, we must be about the Father's business

Please see the companion piece to this essay, "Is America Under Judgment?"
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No, we are not good.

We awaken to this today:


How can this happen, people wonder. It happens because of sin. Man is born a sinner, and it is only God's common grace that retrains a man from murdering every day. However, God's restraining grace is lifted as He abandons a nation. I wrote about that yesterday.

So, man turns to false religion to help him restrain the evil in him. But this does not work, either. The harder man tries, the more he fails.
"False religion cannot restrain sin in the heart, although it can mask it with self-righteousness." Principles of God's Judgment
When an individual or a nation resists the Law, the conscience, and common grace in creation long enough, God gives them over to the lusts of their heart.
"God will abandon sinners to their own choices and the consequences of those choices. And just what is this abandoning act on God's part, it is the removal of restraining grace. It is when God lets go and turns a society over to its own sinful freedoms and the results of those freedoms. No Scripture more directly confronts this abandonment and its consequences than Romans 1 does." When God Abandons a Nation
In Romans 1:18-32,
Three times you have the statement, "God gave them over." This term paradidomiin the Greek can have a judicial sense. It can be used of a judgment made on a criminal who was then handed over for punishment. Each of these phrases expresses the fact that the wrath of God has acted judicially to sentence sinners. It is God officially giving them over. It is God letting them go to the uninterrupted cause and effect their sinful choices produce. When this judgment falls, there is a depriving of restraining grace and sin runs rampant through a society. When God Abandons a Nation
And false religion includes the atheist and agnostic, the 'no-choice' person, because those are just religion of self. This is why we need Jesus, all people do. The sin of man is inherent in his heart and only Him from above who is without stain can resolve our sin problem. All men need the Gospel.

The Gospel is not "having purpose in your life". It is not "accepting Jesus" or praying a prayer. The Gospel which everyone needs is good news, as Ligonier explains:
"The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it–or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God."
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15)

The sad truth is, that as we awaken to news of a cold-blooded massacre in Dallas where snipers shot 11 police officers, some at point blank range, man is not good. This is not an anomaly. The man who shot the elementary students at Sandy Hook, the man who shot the movie-goers in the theater in Colorado, the who shot the homosexual club-goers in Orlando ... THIS is man.

This verse from Genesis 6:5 is not for just Noah's time but for all time:

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Jesus would not entrust Himself to them because He knew all men. (John 2:24) He knew what was in a man, through and through.

Holy thoughts are alien to the natural man. Righteousness is foreign to the creature. Holiness is an acid, thrown on the sinful skin of man, who runs and flees from purity. And yet what man runs from is exactly what he needs. THE GOSPEL

What is the Gospel?
by Matt Slick
The gospel is the singularly most important communication of God to man. In Jesus, who is God the Son, we have the revelation of God’s love and sacrifice that saves us from God's righteous judgment upon sinners. 
If you are not a Christian and want to know how to be forgiven of your sins and follow Christ or are just curious to know what the Christian gospel is, then this is for you.
The Bible tells us what the gospel is in 1 Cor. 15:1-4, 
"Now I make known to you brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures . . . " 
The Bible says that we are all sinners (Rom. 3:23). This means that we have all offended God. We have all broken His law. Therefore, we are guilty of having sinned. Because of this, we are separated from God (Isaiah 59:2), are dead in our sins (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:3), cannot please God (Rom. 3:10-11), and will suffer damnation (2 Thess. 1:9). The only way to escape this judgment is by receiving Christ--by trusting in what Jesus did on the cross (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Pet. 2:24). 
Since we are sinners, we are incapable of removing the guilt of our sinfulness through our own efforts. Gal. 2:21 says, " . . . if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." The Law is the do’s and don’t’s of moral behavior. In other words, we can’t become righteous by what we do. Why? Because we are dead in our sins (Eph. 2:3).
This means that since we cannot remove our own sins, God must do it.
Jesus, who is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14; 8:58; Col. 2:9), bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). He died in our place. He paid the penalty of breaking the Law of God that should have fallen upon us. He satisfied the law of God the Father by dying on the cross.
It is only through Jesus that we can escape the penalty that God will execute upon all who have broken his holy and perfect law. Do you want to be saved from the righteous judgment of God? If so, if you want to become a Christian and follow God, then you must realize that you have sinned against God and are under his judgment. You must look to Jesus who died on the cross and trust what he did in order for you to be forgiven of your sentence and be saved from the judgment of God. This is accomplished by faith alone in what Jesus has done. You cannot add any human works to what Jesus has done.
Count the cost 
Jesus said, "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?" (Luke 14:28). Jesus tells us to count the cost. The cost of becoming a Christian can be quite high sometimes. In some parts of the world it can cost you your life. Here in America, it is not nearly as dangerous. Nevertheless, if you become a Christian, God will take it very seriously. He will work in your heart and in your life to change you and make you more like him. Sometimes this is an easy journey, and other times it can be difficult. But, this is what it means to become a Christian--to have God work in your life and to continue to work in your life after you have been saved.
In the wake of tragedy after tragedy, what we as Christians can do is be about the father's business. We share the Gospel. We pray. We study the Bible so we can explain the hope we have in us to a dark and dying world. We go forward in joy and peace. We gather to worship and praise Jesus whether or not conditions on the ground seem to warrant it or not.




Be ready.


2 comments :

  1. I am wondering about the words that are used in our day. This is not the meaning of a tragedy? Isnt a tragedy something unplanned and "random" with loss of life, such as a bridge collapse, a flood or a tornado? Why do we call premeditated murder a tragedy? These mass murderers are called shooters. Thats ok while the crime is underway, but in the aftermath we should call them mass murderers because that is what they are. This word usage seems like an attept to take responsibility away from evil people who commit heinous crimes. It is portrayed as sad and tragic only, but it should be called evil. It is sad, and we do grieve the loss of life. But let us think carefully about the words used and when possible call it what the Bible calls it rather than use society's terms. I am not singling you out bec i know that everyone seems to use these words. Just something to be aware of.

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    Replies
    1. I agree words are important. This event is many things. A horror, a murder, a massacre. I used tragedy because it is one- to the city, to the families of slain officers and to the families of the shooters.

      The scope of the event goes beyond the limits of the immediate occurrence, and the emotional fallout is a tragedy for those involved.

      I also wanted to make this essay go beyond this one event and extend past any disaster that occurs, such as a tsunami hitting the US, a plane crash, a riot or anything. The point is that when tragedies of any kind appear, the tendency is to set aside normal thinking and doing,even to worship differently.

      You're right, words matter. I called evil what it was in the essay several times, and also called it sin.

      As for words, Hillary's tweet in the aftermath of the shooting said the perps were "peaceful protesters." How's that for wordsmithing.

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