16 April 2008

But for the grace of God....

Cross-posted at Contending. Defending.

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One year ago today, 33 People were slain in one of the deadliest displays of human depravity in recent memory (9/11 notwithstanding, of course). Why did it happen? What could have been done to prevent it? What would cause a young man to feel such hatred that he would execute 33 other human beings in the coldest of cold blood? Two words:

Human nature.

It’s how we’re made. It’s what we do. We are born to do evil. We are born to put ourselves before others. Put two children in a room with one toy, and what’s going to happen? I think you and I both know the answer to that one. We are born with a nature that says, “I don’t care about God. I don’t want anything to do with God. In fact, I am God!

When this happened, many people asked, “Why did God let this happen?” Some issued the oft-repeated question, “Why does God allow so much evil to happen?” These are questions that naturally come to the natural mind. But, they are not the right questions. If people saw themselves for who they really are, and if they saw the world through God’s eyes, they would be grateful that God has stayed His hand for so long, and they would rather ask, “Why doesn’t God allow more suffering? Why has God been so gracious to us?

But for the grace of God…..

When we hear about 33 people being killed in such a cold-hearted manner, we are shocked, dismayed, and horrified. Yet many of these same people do not regard the fact that into this world of hatred, murder, and violence God sent His Son, to die a death much worse than a gunshot to the head. Because of people who think that they are God. Who think they deserve to live life however they want. Because everyone–and I do not exclude myself–everyone is their own god, everyone does what is right in their own eyes. And unless a person is renewed and quickened by the Holy Spirit of God, each one is capable of something like this. Even things much worse than this. Because that’s who we are.

But for the grace of God…..

Yet God saw fit to send His Son, wrapped in this disgusting, filthy flseh, and ransom some. He saw fit to rescue some from the pits of Hell, from the torment of Hades, from the fires of Gehenna. He decided, by only the good pleasure of His will to not let all of humanity perish, but to save a few from His wrath.

Genesis 8:21–”The intention of a man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

Jeremiah 17:9–”The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?”

Romans 3:11-18–”There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

The fear of the LORD. A concept many people have lost, even those who claim to be His. There is no fear of God before our eyes if we do not know Him. But if we do know Him, and we do fear Him–

Proverbs 14:26-27–”In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.”

Let us always remember that not only could we have been one of the victims that day. We could have also been the killer.

But for the grace of God….

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