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Summary: Real evil does exist in the world... we also break God’s commandments... Even though the world is broken, God has not repeated the Flood. The cross is our hope but remains a stumbling block, foolishness...(some quotes from "Wide Angel View by Charles Col

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Lent III I Corinthians 1:18 Redeemer

In Jesus Holy Name March 15, 2009

“Stumbling Over Jesus”

Not everything in the world is good. Not everything in the world is happy. Not everything in the world is beautiful. In fact real evil does exist in the world. You can pick up any newspaper and in the international section you’ll find terrorism, war and genocide. You can go to the National section and you’ll find political payoffs, elected officials who failed to pay their taxes, lies and churches set on fire or pastors shot.

In the local section you’ll find news about recent murders, robberies and abuse. If you go through the business section, you’ll find scandals and fraud. If you go through the sports section you’ll find drug abuse, illegal gambling, adultery.

No rational person can deny that evil; real evil exists.

Watch the news and you will see a wealth of wrongdoers making excuses for their sinful excesses; you will hear all kinds of justifications, explanations, clarifications, and rationalizations for every evil that mankind has conceived. What you will not hear; what you will not see is shame.

Where is the shame? Well, it is simply not there. It’s easy to understand why. If we admit we are ashamed, we are also compelled to confess that we have sins and short comings. If we have sins and short comings, then we need to find an escape. So, there are some religions that simply say: “evil does not exist”. Or “there is no eternal hell”, every body is going to one of several heavens. Or like the young girl who came to my office years ago… and said: Well, I know I have done things wrong and when I die God will show me a video of my mistakes and then send me back to live my life again…but better. Now that is a creative excuse. But it denies the “human condition.”

The Apostle Paul was very clear about this human condition. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me… 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.”

While preparing this message I came across this quote: “We have fallen on evil times and the world has grown very wicked. Governments are corrupt and even children are no longer respectful to their parents.” Well, what do you think? Does that describe our world? Would it surprise you to find that this quote is not from a modern day politician running for re-election? No, that quote is translated from a clay tablet which is kept in a Turkish museum; a clay tablet more than 4000 years old.

If this is the condition of our world, and it is, why doesn’t God just shut it down? Why has he not pulled the plug on planet earth? Why is he letting it go on, the way people hurt each other? He sees it all. He grieves over it.

He sees people choosing to do evil against each other. Why didn’t God just pull the plug on the world? He did it once before in the days of Noah.

Even though the world we live in is broken, God is still in control. God is allowing it to continue a little while longer for one major reason….He wants to give us a choice; a choice to choose good or evil.

God wants people to have a choice. He wants you to love him because you chose to love him, not because he forced you too. God gives us human dignity, the ability to choose good. Free will is critical…for without free will you would not be able to love God.

God gives us the opportunity to express our love for him in response to the love he demonstrated for us at the cross. This is exactly what Paul means in Romans 5. “You see at just the right time, while we were still powerless Christ died for the ungodly… God demonstrates his love for us in this….while we were still sinners Jesus died for us.”

In I John 5 we are reminded: “this is how God showed his love for us. He sent his one and only Son into the world….this is love, not that we loved God first, but he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Love that is not freely given is not love.

Christianity is the only religion that takes sin seriously. G.K. Chesterson said: “The doctrine of original sin, the fact that we are born into sin is the only theology validated by 3500 years of recorded human history.” God is aware of our human condition, the human bent towards evil but to preserve human dignity he offers every human being a choice, either to believe in Jesus or reject the cross of Jesus.

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