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Student Ministry - October 2022

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Dear Church Family,

One thing that has been on the forefront of my mind lately is the reality of evil in the world. We all know evil exists, but sometimes I think we are tempted to believe that evil is not a very prevalent or pressing issue. It almost seems like evil is something you see in TV shows, but it can’t really be all that bad in the real world, can it? People don’t really do evil like that intentionally, do they? But the sad and disorienting reality is that when you look at the real world and real people, evil is much more prevalent and problematic than we sometimes give credit. When you read stories of decapitations in broad daylight, parents murdering children, and corrupt people in leadership, it can make you wonder if we are the ones living in a TV show. But reality is stranger than fiction. And the point I’m really pushing is that people are evil. 

As soon as you say that people are evil, you can imagine someone automatically jumping up to say “no, people aren’t evil… they just do bad things sometimes. And let’s consider the circumstances. Maybe there is a reason for the bad thing they did. And if you think about that, maybe the bad thing they did wasn’t really that bad after all.” These are all excuses. A phrase I’ve been using for some years now is that there might be reasons for our sin, but they aren’t necessarily excuses. This means that just because we can understand why someone might do something when we put ourselves in their shoes, that doesn’t always mean that what they did was ok. We all have reasons for speeding on the highway, but extremely rarely do any of those reasons justify what we are doing. The same goes for the evil actions done by people in the world. The Bible makes it clear in Romans 3:10 that “There is none righteous, not even one.” We know that all people are sinful and capable of great evil. But until we really accept that fact, we won’t be able to make a bit of difference in the world.

Honestly, we see the world trying to make a difference to no avail all the time. Secular entities in the world (and even some non-secular entities) try to combat evil with all sorts of ideologies and philosophies, systems and services that ultimately fall flat. They may provide some sort of stay on the effect of man’s evil, but they do not solve it. Sometimes they even increase the amount of evil actions done by man. One need only look at the effects of socialism everywhere it has been attempted. No, these “solutions” do not work, and there is one major reason why… they ignore the real problem, the sinfulness of the human heart. And because they ignore the real problem, they also ignore the true solution, the gospel.

If the gospel is not the center of whatever ideology, philosophy, system, or service you provide, then you do not have a solution that will make a lasting difference. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can truly curb evil, because only the gospel changes the human heart. Consider how the gospel is the reality of the Son of God becoming man, living a perfectly holy life, dying for the punishment of our sin, raising to life on the third day, and giving the Holy Spirit and eternal life to those who believe in Him… it is that radical cleansing of a sinful heart and presence of the Holy Spirit that makes the evil man into a saint. No, not a perfect man, but a man with holy desires and a holy standing before God. That is what we need! We need new hearts that want to love God and live for Him! No system or service provides that unless it centers around the gospel. Likewise, no single person can make a change without the gospel being center to his life.

So, if you see evil in the world and it dismays you, remember the solution has been given. What we need to do is center ourselves around the life changing gospel of Jesus Christ and do all we can to bring it to bear on our own sinful hearts and the sinful hearts of those living around us. When we do that, God will change our hearts and theirs, and an everlasting impact will be made on the amount of evil in the world. And thankfully we can trust that one day, when Jesus returns, evil will be done away with for good. But until then, let’s be thankful He transformed our evil hearts before that day, and let’s shine the light of the gospel into our present darkness.

Posted by Brian Van Doren with