GM: THE DEATH OF EVIL IN CHRIST JESUS ON CALVARY
Continuing to read Rev. Timothy Keller’s classic book, ‘ Walking with God through Pain and Suffering ‘, in the aftermath of #OrlandoNightClubShooting, I arrived a very important chapter. And it begins like this:
” The ‘ problem of evil ‘ is well known. If you believe in a God who is all powerful and sovereign over the world and at the same time is also perfectly good and just, then the existence of evil poses a problem…..Is He willing to prevent evil but not able?. Then He is impotent. Is He able but not willing?
Then He is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then this evil?”
A series of questions which date back the early philosopher Epicurus, and which contention occupies the minds of secular western thought in this age.
And so Rev. Keller ‘ mounts a defense ‘ of a Loving God; whose love and mercy and conquest of evil became fully manifested in the Suffering and Crucified Jesus. Fully man and fully God!
No doubt that’s why the Lord led me to reflect very deeply, again, on the words of this very instructive hymn. And write to some young Christians about it.
1. My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
2. When Darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.
One of the many lessons young Christians need to learn, is that God will discipline you. In order that you will become better disciples. Your ultimate goal, I hope, and recommend. And He will do so again and again until you are ready. So don’t resist the chastening, otherwise you’re illegitimate children regardless of #MichaelManley’s efforts.
I recommend, therefore, that you spend some time in Hebrews 12:1-12. And accept God’s will for you. Which is to be holy, so that you can share His love with those who don’t know Him, nor have accepted the Atonement wrought on the Cross by His Son.
What triggered all of this? A Tweet last night!
Always after a defeat and respite evil takes another shape and grows again. #TimothyKeller. #ThisworldneedsJesus #OrlandoShooting
And which profound reality of evil was the subject of a chapter from Rev. Timothy Keller’s Book, ” Walking with God through Pain and Suffering”. He was making the point that Secular Western society, in which most of you find yourself, often cite the presence of evil, as proof that a ” All loving, All Powerful God ” could not exist. It’s a very ‘real’ argument, and I would suggest, you purchase a copy. And in the midst of which he quoted this line from The Lord of the Rings. My reaction to it, is that, ” evil cannot always continue to re-organize itself, as there is a checkpoint in history”. And that checkpoint is Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness. About which I’ll write in the next WhatApp message.
It is therefore only when you are ‘disciplined’ that you fully come to accept the words of this powerful hymn. Otherwise evil will either overcome you, or you will not be of much help to anyone when evil strikes.
“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874
1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
Before I end with a meditation on Evil, the Psalm appointed for this Sunday in my church, has proved to be a very profound teaching lesson for me. Especially in this context of God disciplining His people. For oftentimes, although we are called to trust God in all circumstances, we can become overconfident and forget the lesson taught by an important passage of Scripture.
” What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not all all! For he says to Moses,
‘ I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on
whom I have compassion.’
So it depends not on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.
Romans 9:14-16 NIV
So there can no boasting before the Lord, except in Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness. Not our goodness. Not our obedience. Not because ‘ we know how to pray’. Only because of His mercy. Otherwise He will ‘ hide his face ‘, from us to teach is this very point. Which the Psalmist learnt well.
I will exalt you, Lord , for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
You, Lord , brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.
Sing the praises of the Lord , you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.”
Lord , when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.
To you, Lord , I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, Lord , and be merciful to me; Lord , be my help.”
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
So although, in the Gospel reading Jesus declares that ‘ he has given us authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy’, we must careful not to carried away. For evil does not disappear easily! My words! And therefore we are to rejoice that our names are written in heaven, less we get complacent. The Word of God.
So back to the problem of evil. In Orlando. In #Jamaicalandwelove with marauding gunmen terrorizing a nation. In #TurkeyAttack where 41persons were killed and 239 wounded. And the whole world is praying for mercy.
And which evil played a part in #Brexit, as ordinary Britons are said to worried about thecontinued immigration ( of all kinds of people) to their country. And who knows, such xenophobia might play a role in the US elections, if fears are ‘ properly Stoked by Donald Trump.
So is J. R. R. Tolkien correct on evil.
That : Always after a defeat and respite evil takes another shape and grows again?
No, says Martin Luther King Jr in ” The Death of Evil. A reflection which in my Devotional Bible is right beside my current bedtime reading on the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. And the comforting words which come to us across history:
” But Moses said to the people. Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, you only have to keep still.”
Exodus 14:13-14. Words which kept me sane yesterday in the midst of evil.
THE DEATH OF EVIL – EDITED
Martin Luther King Jr
Verse : Exodus 14:30
…….. Pharoah stubbornly refused to respond to the cry of Moses, even when plague after plague threatened his domain. This tells us something about evil that we must never forget, namely that evil is recalcitrant and determined, and never voluntarily relinquishes its hold short of persistent, almost fanatical resistance.
But there is a checkpoint in the universe: evil cannot permanently organize itself. So after a long and trying struggle, the Israelites, through the providence of God, crossed the Red Sea. But like the old guard that never surrenders……. and the turbulence and momentum of the tidal waves soon drowned all of them.
And this checkpoint we know is Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness. So let us, even fanatically, resist evil, in our country, in our hearts and in our world. But less we forget, it is the Lord who fights for us. Not our own strength and wisdom; the challenge that the secular world faces. And why they have no answer to the ‘ problem of evil’.
So, we just need to ‘ Be Still’; and ask for mercy. Without ceasing! And stop the boasting before the Lord, and the presumptuousness. Lest He turn His face from us, and we become fearful. And vulnerable to evil!
O Jesus I have promised
To serve thee to the end.
Be thou forever near me,
My Master and friend.
I shall not fear the battle
If thou art by my side.
Nor wander from the pathway
If thou wilt be my guide.
( Words of a wonderful hymn which came into my mind just now…..have mercy)