Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jesus on Suffering, Evil, and Salvation

People often question why bad things happen to good people. The short, Christian answer to this question is, of course, that there are no good people. All of us are sinners, and we are all saved by God's grace, alone. But people's actions ARE either good or bad, and we ARE responsible for our actions, whether they be good or evil.
Christ, during his ministry, was confronted by people who questioned why bad things (e.g., accidents, murder) happen to people. They asked Christ if these people, who had been so victimized, were worse than other people and if this was the reason for why they had suffered their fates. Christ's response is interesting: he said that "…unless you repent you will all likewise perish."
In other words, it's nothing new to question why God "allows" or causes bad things to happen to people. Jesus dealt with the issue himself, and we would do well to listen to his response. The real danger is not fire, flood, earthquake, war, murder, or oppression; the real danger is rejecting the only hope of eternal life and salvation: Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.
"There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices [a moral evil]. And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them [an accident], do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:1-5)
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