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Church Bulletin 8

January 12, 2009

The God who Is There: Part 8

            Emotionally, the problem of evil stands its ground strong. Most people seems to wrestle with the problem of evil on an emotional level rather than an intellectual level. Why? Because either we or someone we dearly love has experienced evil in a painful and harmful way. What about the neglected children? What about any and all kinds of abuse? What about a loved one being struck with an agonizing disease? “Why do these things have to happen?” Why would God ordain and allow such things to come to pass?” Here is the heart of the matter. We can answer some reasons why God has ordained evil (See previous posts at hckilgore.wordpress.com). But emotionally how do we help people/ourselves when we experience atrocious evil? Most people don’t find much  comfort in the midst of the evil they are experiencing by quoting such verses as Deut. 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord…”  Appealing to mystery doesn’t completely satisfy the heart and emotions over the problem of evil. So where do we begin?

            I think, as with anything we face intellectually or emotionally in the Christian faith, we start where God put His exclamation point on reality: the crucifixion, resurrection, and exaltation of the Son of God. How does Christ’s passion emotionally answer the evil I am undergoing? The passion answers the problem of evil, intellectually and emotionally, because we want to know from God Himself (not someone speaking for Him) that God is aware of and concerned about our circumstances/life situation. The cross shows that God cares and is willing to do something about the evil we suffer by experiencing it first hand. He experienced sinful responses from  men and He experienced the full effect of sin: death and judgment/separation from God. He willing became like ‘His brothers.” See Heb. 2:14-3:1  The problem of evil in not just solved intellectually, philosophically, and emotionally but it is answered personally in the Son of God “who loved us and gave Himself for us.” Christ took the greatest evil could give and overcame for His people. But the fact that He took and suffered on the cross is not enough to convince us that’s God finished off evil.

            Christ’s resurrection was God’s visible sermon that He has heard the groans of His people and has answered the problem of evil. We have proof of this in that Jesus was raised from the dead. See Rom. 4:25 Christ then ascended to heaven. This is the language of ascending a royal throne, the Davidic throne. See Acts 2, 13, 15. Jesus is now ruling over and directing all things for the good of His people.  See Rom. 8:28 So where do we comfort and confront the horrors of evil we see and experience? We look to the cross and find God’s absolute commitment to rectify all evil. The cross holds out the promise that the personal evil we suffer, God will take vengeance on our enemies (Rom. 12:19). The cross holds out the promise that God is so passionate about our suffering that He took on flesh in His Son and experienced it fully firsthand so that we can’t point a finger at Him and tell Him He doesn’t understand. The cross holds out the promise that if the Son of God suffered the greatest evil of ALL EVER and God made it work for good for the salvation of mankind, the destruction of the enemies of God, and ultimately the glorifying of God, then what is for God to do the same for the evil you have experienced? Do you not remember that you are “IN CHRIST”? Will not God hear you, work for you, minister to you, turn things for good for you, etc. just as He did and IS DOING for His Son? This is what it means to be ‘in Christ.’ God has spoken loudly to and against the problem of evil. Look to the cross. See the evil done there. See what my/your evil done there. Think deeply about the passion of the Son of God in His life, trial, and crucifixion. And remember the final words He spoke to my evil I have and the evil I experience. When Christ was crucified, He was reigning from the cross! And as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords He proclaims as victor over the problem of evil: “IT IS FINISHED!” And with those last words, it was a new beginning for humanity! And evil was defeated!

 

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