Once again, we sat glued to televisions, radios, and websites while the news unfolded. Weapons meant for protection instead are turned against the defenseless. Another mass murder. Another town terrorized. And this time, it was mostly children killed. As the weekend passed, it seemed there were unending reasons provided for this crime: lack of gun control, mental illness, divorce, abortion, violent video games, violent television and movies, desensitization to violence, lack of respect for human life, decline of morality in our society… I’m sure you can add to the list. I don’t want to minimize any of those topics—they all deserve serious, continued discussion. But none of them address “The Problem.” They are all symptoms.
We’d like to believe that this type of violence can’t happen to us. But each time something like this occurs, it seems to hit a little closer to home. We want to find the answer. We want to find a cure for this disease, but we can’t. We can treat the symptoms, but we can’t cure “The Problem.” “The Problem” is evil. Evil exists. It always will. And it’s inside you. And it’s inside me. Are we ready to discuss this issue?
God is very clear in His Word that none of us are born with anything good at all in us: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me (Psalm 51:5). And our thoughts, words, and actions don’t get better with time: For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing (Romans 7:18-19 ESV). The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9) No one is born with good in them—not even “a little good.”
Sure, we meet nice people who don’t even believe in God—and they even do nice things. That’s because God gave them a conscience. He gave everyone the ability to know right from wrong. And because God also gave everyone a free will, we can also rebel against His Word and we can rebel even against our consciences, even to the point of believing what we are doing isn’t evil.
So if evil is the problem, what is the solution? What is the cure to this disease?
The only cure is faith in Jesus Christ alone as our Savior. Jesus was born perfect. He lived His entire life without sin. He died an innocent man, falsely accused and condemned. But He did all this willingly. God left the perfection of Heaven and lived among sinful human beings: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14 ESV). He obeyed every command of God. He obeyed every law of men that didn’t contradict God’s will. And He willingly died, punished for all the evil you and I do. God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice in our place. He raised Jesus’ physical body from the grave to prove it (Hebrews 4:15; Galatians 4:4-5; Romans 5:19; 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 2:14; Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Romans 4:25).
We can, and should, address the symptoms of evil. But “The Problem” can’t be solved by us. It was already solved by our Savior.
-Rev. Paul Fries