Throughout history children have been used in warfare, through either direct combat roles or in support roles. Can you imagine strapping an AK-47 onto your 12 year old and sending them out into the field to fight? Seems crazy, yet this is not uncommon in parts of the world that are entangled in fighting for freedom, or at least what they view as freedom.
Today I’m asking Believers to do the same thing with their children. Today I’m asking and telling myself, my children need to be engaged in war. I don’t own much in the way of firearms. I have a shotgun that I’ve missed a few pheasants in my day. In fact I’m not sure I’ve actually killed anything with this shotgun, but my poor shooting is not the point of this article.
Today I hope we’ll consider the purpose of the training and equipping of our children. Why did you have children?
Psalm 127:3-4 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.
The first thing we see is that children are a reward. We recently attended a conference and one of the speakers was telling a story of his father and how his father had discussed this with a couple that were committed to not having children. He said to them if God wants to give you a gift, why would you refuse that?
Most of society views children as a nuisance, not a reward. Something we are obligated to have. Two and out is the general rule of thumb, unless you have the same variety twice and then it’s okay to have a third to try for a boy or a girl.
Verse 4 tells us children are arrows in the hand of a warrior. The first question to ask, are you a warrior? If you’re not a warrior, there’s no need to have arrows in your hand, they will only hurt you. Have you ever watched someone untrained try handling a weapon; they look clumsy doing it. If you are not being trained for battle you have no business training your children, you are incapable of this without being this yourself. Note: this does not absolve you of your responsibility, and if this is not you then I would encourage you to read my articles on A Sure Guide to Heaven.
Ephesians 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
So what is the battle?
Ephesians 6:11-12 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against power, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
This battle, this holy war, is against things seen and unseen. Our only offensive weapon in this battle is the word of God; verse 17 goes on to say, And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
To engage this battle we must be saved and we must be training in the word of God. This word is sharp and it cuts and it divides. It discerns the intent of one’s heart (Hebrews 4:12). Have you experienced this before?
This article draws a clear line in the sand and I’m hopeful exposes our hearts before God.
Are you bumping through life with no clear purpose and no clear vision for your family? Do you have purpose in your own life? Please don’t pass over this question today. Sit and think today about your purpose.
Society is training children very well for the playground of life. A Believer should be training children for the battleground, to take ground for the Lord Jesus Christ.
What simple, practical steps can you take today if you’ve failed in this endeavor?
Repent. Gather your family together tonight and confess your lack of vision and leadership and explain to them their new mission.
Create a vision statement. Write something out on paper. Have them help and develop a plan. Have you heard the worn out financial advisor cliché, “nobody plans to fail, they only fail to plan”.
Turn off the television. The word “amusement” means to NOT THINK! How can you be engaged in a battle if you turn off your brain?
Have family worship consistently. Sit around a table and talk with your family. Have deep and meaningful conversations. Learn to know your children and your spouse. We’ve benefited from a study in Proverbs by Kevin Swanson. Other ideas are going verse by verse through a book of the Bible; we’ve done this with most of Paul’s letters and parts of Matthew.
Today we were discussing Proverbs chapter 11 and with tearful eyes my daughter Grace said, “thank you Dad for reading this with us”. Praise God for His grace.
Don’t be lazy. Just do it!
This call is primarily to men. If you are a man that is concerned about your family and wants them to be warriors for Christ, you must take action. The world will quickly scoop them up and take their hearts if you don’t.
May the Lord bless you today as you fight for His kingdom!
John 3:4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
What a strange thing to be born again, what does this mean? Jesus tells us we “must” in order to see the kingdom of God but what is He talking about? We certainly cannot enter the womb a second time so we surely understand this is not a physical rebirth.
Jesus goes onto say, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:5-6
Is Jesus telling us without a water baptism one cannot see the kingdom of God? Many believe this but we know that Jesus welcomed the thief on the cross into the kingdom and he certainly was not baptized nor was he capable of any sort of works. What does he mean by being born of water?
John Calvin gives a simple answer:
By water, therefore, is meant nothing more than the inward purification and invigoration which is produced by the Holy Spirit. Besides, it is not unusual to employ the word and instead of that is, when the latter clause is intended to explain the former. And the view which I have taken is supported by what follows; for when Christ immediately proceeds to assign the reason why we must be born again, without mentioning the water, he shows that the newness of life which he requires is produced by the Spirit alone; whence it follows, that water must not be separated from the Spirit Calvin Commentaries
Jesus affirms the doctrine of human depravity (Romans 3:10-12, Genesis 6:5), as he explains that in the flesh we cannot see the kingdom. Again, there must be a newness of life (2 Corinthians 5:17), a change that is recognizable to us and to the others around, a newness that produces a difference.
This newness of life is generated or I should say regenerated by God’s Spirit. The natural man is dead in sins and trespasses, all of humankind is dead from the moment they are born and without God’s work we will die in our corruption, and we are under the power of Satan. (Ephesians 2:1-2)
Unless the Spirit breathes life into the dead… we will remain dead.
The word Spirit is pneuma a current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit, that is, (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy spirit: – ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind.
If one is to truly comprehend the magnitude of this miracle it must be understood that God does the work in the heart of sinful man. Mankind cannot save himself… Many or I should say “most” will say, what do I need to be saved from, I’m not that bad. I’m a “good” person.
Unless you’ve been morally perfect your entire life, you are not a good person. You might be a good person by your standards, or even by the standards of comparison against others in the world, but if you hold your life up to the perfect standard of Christ you are incapable.
Have you ever told a lie?
Have you ever stolen anything?
Have you looked lustfully at another person?
Have you loved God with all your heart soul and mind?
This is the standard by which you will be judged and no man has met this perfect standard. In order to receive the Spirit you must recognize your need for the Spirit.
James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
If you’ve broken any of God’s law you are guilty of breaking it all. This puts you in the same class as the worst villains in all of history. Do you understand this; is it something you can really believe?
If you can recognize your sin you have an opportunity to be saved, to be born again. Jesus tells us we must receive the Spirit, but how? What causes His Spirit to come to us?
Acts 17:30-31 “Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Repent is the Greek word: metanoeō – to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction): – repent.
This is a complete turning from who you were to receive a new life in Christ, recognizing the need for a Savior, calling out to Him, the only One that can save. To recognize your sin has separated you from God and that separation has you dead spiritually. There must be a newness of life and a change of direction.
If this is new to you I ask you to consider the words of Christ. They are the words of life and without them you will not see the kingdom of God. That’s clear. Isn’t it?
Have you ever been told something that seems completely unbelievable? I don’t mean William Shatner is the son of an alien like you would see on a supermarket tabloid headlines. I mean something that just really blows your mind… You just can’t grasp the meaning of it.
Imagine if you were the foremost expert in brain surgery and you go to meet the new intern surgeon because you hear he is pretty bright and doing some good things and he begins to tell you every way you’ve practiced brain surgery in the past is completely wrong. Then this new intern goes on to say to you, do you mean you are supposed to be the world’s greatest brain surgeon and you don’t know these things?
In an instant he destroys everything you ever thought about your system of brain surgery.
Can you imagine your reaction…? How ridiculous does that seem?
This is exactly what happened to Nicodemus as he came to Jesus one night. What did Jesus say to him that seemed so hard to believe? Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews. He was at the top level of Judaism and Jesus blew his mind.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus knew the Law of Moses better than anyone, he was a teacher of the law, he had the books of Moses memorized. Can you imagine memorizing all those begots?
This is a big question for all of those who don’t understand what Jesus meant by being born again. This is a common term among Evangelical Christians and I would guess not many truly understand its meaning and implications.
I know I didn’t.
First of all Jesus says this must happen for you to see the kingdom of God. This is very clear right? “Most assuredly”, the King James Version says “Verily, verily”, which is the word amen. This is a word of Hebrew origin which means we are in agreement with it, that it is trustworthy, and sure.
Jesus says this must happen or one cannot.
How few messages in Christianity stress this point today! How few people are having their minds blown to their present situation! How many people will not see the kingdom of God (heaven) because they never knew they “must” be born again? There are only two choices, heaven or hell.
I hope you will meditate on this today. Next time I want to discuss what happens next, how can one be born again? “Can you enter the womb a second time and be born?” That’s also what Nicodemus asked Jesus.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. – Matthew 7:13-14
The way of True Christianity is difficult, narrow, constricted and exclusive…
There is only one way… John 14:6
For MANY this is impossible to understand, so what did Jesus mean by many?
pol-oos’ – Often, mostly, largely, abundant, altogether common, many, much, often, plenteous,
Can Jesus be saying what it appears He is saying? Have you ever contemplated this before? It appears He is saying the majority of the people will walk the wide road that leads to destruction. Hell.
How about the few? Will there be only a few that are saved and travel the narrow and constricted path that leads to life?
ol-ee’-gos – Of uncertain affinity; puny (in extent, degree, number, duration or value); especially neuter (adverbially) somewhat: – + almost, brief [-ly], few, (a) little, + long, a season, short, small, a while.
I see how very few seem to have any recognition of “a god” much less the God of Scripture; the actions that I see, the language that comes out of their mouth. These are obvious signs of their current state. The Lord tells us out of the abundance of the mouth the heart speaks, He says this is what defiles them (Matthew 15:18). These seem to be pretty clear.
Then we have the less obvious… The people that appear “good”, they live moral lives. They might go to church, they might volunteer or they might do a lot of outward signs or good deeds. They might be religious.
It’s all meaningless and that will incite anger within people because man is deceived by his sin. Believing he has goodness inside of him. Scripture completely disputes both of these claims. (Jeremiah 17:9, Genesis 6:5, Romans 3:10)
That’s why this path is so narrow and so difficult. Do you believe in Him and His challenging words? Or is this foolishness to you?
Look at Jonathan Edwards’ sermon notes commenting on these verses:
1. There is a way to Heaven – God has opened the door
There is but one right way
Tis a hard thing to find this one right way
Appears: In that there are so few that find the way
Though all have so much need to find
Though so many desire to find and seek after it.
Though so many think they have found.
…so many are mistaken.
That many of those that do find it, first take a great deal of pains
Some for a long time
Reason: Negatively, not that God hasn’t has not called us.
“ “ very plain in itself.
Many wrong ways
Like traveling through a great wilderness
Full of difficulties…dangers….
But one right way
A narrow way
Many wrong ways.
Mention some of the wrong ways.
Do right in some things only.
Outward Religion only
Affections that go away
Religious out of regard to men
Religious only out of fear of hell.
Don’t love God for Himself.
Trust in their own righteousness
Depend on the good opinion of others
Apt to think themselves convicted when they are not
High pride: apt to think well of themselves
A little good looks great
Don’t see what is bad
How many things men often think are Conversion.
2. Men’s own lust blinds ’em.
The way is good and plain.
Right way is what men don’t like.
Contrary to all their lusts
… to their pride
… to their worldliness
Enmity against God
Wrong ways are
Blind them and deceive them
4. Things of this world blind ’em
5. Wicked men implead (?) ’em – Jonathan Edwards
We must examine our lives and constantly measure them by the truth of God’s Word. We have an opportunity to live but that comes at the expense of a broken and contrite heart before God as we understand our sin (Psalm 51). If you’ve not seen the ugliness of your sin I beg you to consider this today. Most won’t and most will perish in their sins. Don’t be fooled.
Are you willing? Matthew 22:3
NBC News: Explosions rock finish of Boston Marathon; 3 killed and scores injured
CNN Report: As many as 35 killed in Texas plant explosion
NY Times: Avalanche in Colorado Kills Five Snowboarders
This past week I received lots of calls, emails and text messages whether I was at the Boston Marathon. Friends, family and acquaintances had concerns as they know that our company had done work for the Boston Marathon for many years. This dominated the headlines for most of the week despite the fact that people died all over the country.
This act of terror was just more heinous and sinister than some of the other ways in which people died. Similar to the Newtown Connecticut Massacre, when the evil bound up in man bubbles to the surface and acts in ways that most find despicable, Boston just struck a chord.
I wrote previously about the why and that is the question that dominates most people’s thoughts. Here is a previous article called Heinous Acts.
Today I ask a much more important question. If this was you are you prepared to stand before God and give an account of your life? What will that day be like? We will all die someday. There is a 100% guarantee you will face the Creator and be judged (Hebrews 4:13).
Revelation 20:12-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and the book was opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
I write this article today to disturb you…
I write today to afflict you if you are comfortable with your life.
If you have no assurance that Jesus Christ did the work you have no hope because you will be judged by your works and scripture teaches us that no one is good. None of your goodness is good enough (Romans 3:10). If that is your hope, it is a false hope and you will be judged and thrown into the lake of fire where you will experience eternal torment.
Today I want you to know that God will not tolerate your sin, but He is patient, and if you are living and breathing today He does not want you to perish, but commands you to repent (Acts 17:30). He is calling you today to give up your life as you know it and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). He wants you to have assurance of life and to know that if today is your last day you will spend eternity in perfect communion with Christ (1 John 1:5-7).
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Can you imagine anything you ever thought or said in anger, anytime you used the Lord’s name improperly, lied, cheated, stole? All will be exposed before you; your memory will be perfect. God will show it all to you on that day.
I will leave you today with an excerpt from an article by Dan Harris
Of this one thing we can be certain, Judgment Day is coming. Every single day, for approximately 200,000 people around the world, today is the Last Day. They will take their last breath, and their destiny will be finally sealed. We do not know when our last day will be. It could be today. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Are you ready to meet God?
The Bible teaches that we can know that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13). We cannot attain eternal life by our own merits. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourself it is the gift of God – not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:9-10. Salvation is through grace alone. There is nothing that we can do to inherit eternal life. Salvation is by grace, plus nothing. Whether or not we are baptized, or if we go to church, read our Bible, live morally – none of these things can assure salvation. We cannot trust in our baptism, church membership, or even in some prayer which we may have recited for salvation. We can only throw ourselves on the mercies of God, because our salvation is totally dependent upon God alone. If we, like the publican (Luke 18:13), out of a broken heart, in true repentance, will throw ourselves before God and ask mercy of Him, He will hear our prayer. If we, like the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-10), who covered themselves with sackcloth and sat in the ashes (i.e., out of a truly repentant heart, totally broken before God) will “cry mightily unto God”, He will hear our cry.
Are you ready to meet God? “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” (Amos 4:12).
Sola Deo Gloria!
Philippians 3:17-20 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul begins this section of his letter to the Philippians addressing them as “Brethren”, fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. He quickly makes a distinction between two types of people. There are those that follow his example and then there are those that don’t.
This is very challenging. It comes down to the simple fact there are those that will be saved and there are those that won’t. No second chances… No Purgatory… We live once and we die once and then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27, 4:13).
This makes it very clear what we are to look for as believers. We look for those that follow Paul’s example. He gives us a pattern, a way to live. We are to live like Paul. The Bible is to be our guide book. It gives us everything necessary for life and godly living. In addition we are to follow the example of those more mature believers and church leaders that set an example (Hebrews 13:17).
Today I want to focus on the second half of this verse.
This past week I had a wonderful text message conversation with a man that is struggling with sin. He’s claimed that Jesus Christ is his savior. I’ve asked him and challenged him if Jesus is his Lord?
Paul is telling us that we are to note those that follow their own ways. They are enemies of the cross. It doesn’t mean I won’t preach the gospel to this man. He doesn’t even realize he’s an enemy, but he is living in a self destructive manner. His “god” is his belly. He wants to fill himself up with the things that won’t last eternally.
“For a tiny drop of pleasure he’s willing to drink a sea of wrath” – Thomas Watson.
So, “what’s on your mind?”
Are the things of God on your mind or the things of the world? Here Paul is giving us a way to examine ourselves; to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Is your “christianity” on auto-pilot? Do you show up to church on a Sunday morning and go through the motions or are you out working for God’s kingdom? Have you considered why you were saved?
My friend is living a disobedient lifestyle, but yet wants to claim the privileges of being a child of the King. I know he doesn’t like the problems that his sin causes him, but at this point in time he seems to be unwilling to come to grips with how offensive this is to God. He doesn’t understand that rebellion is a heinous offense.
His sin will be paid for. The big question is who will pay for it? Will it be Christ at the cross or will he have to pay for it himself?
1 Samuel 15:22-23 So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices. As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”
I’m hopeful my friend will see that his sin is separating him from a Holy God and that he will understand the cost. I’m hopeful he will see that obeying God is the proof text of salvation and what’s on his mind will confirm or deny his claims. I’m hopeful his end won’t be destruction.
Not long ago I had offered some friends a gospel message which included a list of scripture to support what I had been discussing with them. I was encouraged by our initial conversation and was hopeful they would pursue things further. I received back a very nice message from one of them mentioning she had been saved a couple times and had also been baptized as a child. I don’t think she was telling me to buzz off, but I think she was telling me that she had this one covered.
So I was thinking how these pieces came together in my mind about what it means to truly be redeemed. There are differing views on salvation and whether one can lose it once it’s been obtained. This is not a quick little topic to discuss on a blog and requires a considerable amount of study, but I think most importantly it means understanding some basic items about Christianity and saving faith.
I don’t believe one can lose their salvation but there is a “but” that comes after that.
Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Scripture is replete with support for what some refer to as eternal security but I really like this verse because this tells us so much about God’s working in the life of a believer. Believers have been redeemed, they have been purchased for His glory and they have been sealed with a guarantee.
The Greek word translated “guarantee” is (arrhabōn) Of Hebrew origin [H6162]; a pledge, that is, part of the purchase money or property given in advance as security for the rest: – earnest.
I am convinced that the confusion on this matter does not come from the scriptural support of the promise, but from a lack of understanding of what it really means to be saved. That’s the “but”. When a false conversion occurs and then that person wanders from the truth or “backslides” they were never truly converted.
The problem is not with God’s work. His work is sufficient to save and to sanctify; in fact it’s the only hope. The problem is the weakness of the preaching and gospel clarity. When someone comes to Christ cheaply they leave easily. If they are moved emotionally by a sermon, a song or in a moment of weakness they won’t see their sin for what it really is. When they don’t understand their sin is an abomination to God and they think they’re not “that bad”, they won’t understand their helpless state. They won’t see what it cost Christ to bear the wrath of the Father.
This is the problem.
Of course you can lose your salvation when you’ve never been saved. Paul tells us in Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
He will complete what He started, but if he didn’t start it then it won’t be finished.
1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
Doesn’t this describe people you know? They seemed to be with us for a while then something became too challenging for them or too boring or too whatever…
Did not the Lord speak of these in the parable of the soils? Can you see how this all fits nicely together, like a wonderful and beautiful jigsaw puzzle? When we understand how salvation occurs and why people fall away it’s easy to see they were never saved.
Mark 4:13-20 And He said to them. “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the care of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.
So here is a big question for you? Are you producing fruit? Are you growing in holiness, in knowledge of Christ, in desire for the things of God? Are you preaching the gospel of peace to those at enmity with God?
Are you proving your salvation through your actions?
Matthew 10:22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Here’s what it comes down to.
Many will show some evidence of salvation, but those that continue in the faith will prove their salvation over a lifetime. Do you know when you were saved? Consider this from Leonard Ravenhill - I ask, “Are you really saved?” and you say, “I don’t really know.” Oh, supposing you carry a 100 lb sack on your back, and someone takes the sack off your back and you climb up to the top of the hill, and a man says, “Have you lost your sack?” And you say, “I don’t really know.” It seems that someone would know when someone else took 100 lbs off his back. said if you were climbing up a hill with a hundred pound sack and someone removed it, wouldn’t you know when that happened?
This is a great start to understanding you eternal security, “if” you’ve been saved.
I would encourage you to watch this short video from Leonard Ravenhill.
Have you ever heard anyone make this statement? I think it’s a pretty common thing for people to say. What they really mean is “I don’t like that God”. Today I want to touch on a topic that will challenge most people’s thinking about God. Understanding the true God of the Bible is a very difficult subject and all unregenerate people in the world have rejected the true God and serve a “god” of their own making; a direct violation of the first commandment (Exodus 20:3).
Today I’d like to take a quick look at God’s relation to evil. One of the big stumbling blocks to Christianity is the age old statement, “how can a good god allow so much evil in the world?” Today I will show that God not only allows evil but He is the creator of evil and He causes evil. However He is never to be blamed for evil, does not directly do evil, and never takes pleasure in evil (James 1:12-15).
Before we begin I want to say this is in no-way a thorough study of this topic and I encourage you to dig deeper if this article troubles you. This is a very delicate subject because evil is very real in the world and Christians should never participate in or approve of evil deeds. We are to abhor evil just as God does (Romans 1:32, Proverbs 17:15).
God allows evil
Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
The story of Joseph is a great example of God allowing evil to be used for good, as He providentially uses the evil acts of Joseph’s brothers to direct His ultimate plan for the preserving of life. This seems tolerable for us today as we consider the life of Joseph but what if we draw it closer to home and look at the shootings in Newtown Connecticut?
Can we see the good that God will do by allowing this to happen? Or do you detest His goodness even in the loss of life?
Is it possible God caused this for His ultimate purposes? Do you like a God like this? Will you serve a God like this?
God creates evil
Isaiah 45:7 I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I the LORD, do all these things.
Can you buy into this God? Some may reject this teaching and may accuse me of pulling this verse out of context or say this can be interpreted differently, but I can’t see how that is possible. If we study what each one of these words mean it becomes very clear it means exactly what it says.
Let’s look at four of the key words
I form – yaw-tsar’ – denotes forming or molding into a shape
Create - baw-raw’ – means to create, choose or be the creator
Calamity - rah, raw-aw’ – bad or evil
Do – aw-saw’ – to do or make
So here comes the age old question. “Why would a good God allow and cause evil to happen in the world?” Let’s come back to that after we look at my last statement.
God causes evil
Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
Job 1:12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.”
Job 1:18-19 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
God used Satan to kill all ten of Job’s children. Is God responsible for this act? You might want to think so because that is where our minds naturally go. Look at what God then says to Satan.
Job 2:3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him to destroy him without cause.”
I find this an incredibly revealing yet difficult statement by God.
God asks Satan to consider Job.
Satan destroys Job’s children.
Could Satan have said no? Who is responsible for the evil that happened? Clearly Satan did the evil act, not God. Satan is responsible. Similarly, if you do an evil act, you are responsible.
Back to the question, why does God allow, create and cause evil? The answer is surprisingly simple yet very difficult to understand completely. He does it for His Glory.
When I was first saved I came to an understanding that the god I was serving was not the God of the Scriptures. He was a concoction of my own mind. It was difficult to understand “this God” without His work in my heart, but Scripture and the Holy Spirit allowed my mind to be transformed.
Ephesians 1:11-12 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
We will not have a full understanding of God’s purposes outside of His revelation. Friends we have His revealed will in the Holy Scriptures and we must embrace those teachings no matter how difficult. I pray that you are challenged by this today but won’t reject it. This is God. Worship Him today for who He is and allow Him to work in you mightily.