Evil runs rampant in the hearts of men. Yesterday Christians were targeted and slaughtered by terrorists in Pakistan. On Easter Sunday no less. Sinful human depravity knows no bounds.
Once again, satanically influenced bottom dwellers run amuck. Daily killing sprees now litter the landscape of news and information. The song remains the same. Just change the location and a few gory details.
Killing Christians is nothing new. Herod the Great slaughtered the innocents at Jesus' birth trying to silence a humble minority. His grandson Herod Agrippa did it in first century Palestine, having James the apostle killed and planning to kill Peter as well. God thwarted the latter plan.
The same evil that influenced terrorists like the Herods influences terrorists today to commit atrocious life-devaluing acts on unsuspecting targets. Those with violent intentions against humanity and Christ's Church will someday come to ruin. But Satan hates Christians and will continue to incite evil upon the elect until the end of time. God has often used such sins to spark revival flames and multiply a Gospel witness. God can, and does, cause the wrath of man to praise Hm.
This should be a reality check for those living in relative Western ease. We struggle more with flesh and blood issues of overconsumption, massive personal debt, sinful tendencies, and infighting among those we are called to protect and serve than we do principalities and powers.
We've turned inward to such a degree and become so self-absorbed we no longer are aware of the gross inconsistencies our existence breeds. We cannot fathom its abnormality. It was the new normal a long time ago.
Functional atheism reigns supreme for many professed believers. We resort to entertaining the masses and seeking to be entertained. Catching snippets of Scripture at obscure moments is now heartfelt devotion. Dipping toes into the unfathomable riches of Christ is a deep dive for many shallow adherents.
Living unworthy of the Name, we are ignored and unrecognized by a world we cannot be distinguished from. Mistaking incongruent assimilation for redemptive interaction, it is often nothing more than wholesale capitulation. What the killing of Christians does is expose our need of Gospel repentance and redemptive reengagement with hurting humanity.
This most recent alarm could serve to spur us to action, if we resist hitting the snooze button. We could stand up and humbly proclaim boldly the Gospel of the grace of God in Christ, going to our deaths if necessary, for the Name of Christ. We could curb our tendency to shoot from the lip and hate in return, eschewing verbal retaliation for a Christlike reaction.
Should Christians sit idly by and watch their brothers and sisters go up in flames? Should we take up arms against our oppressors? Should we retaliate with likeminded atrocities? That is not the way of Jesus. His is a violent peace, killing evil with kindness and murdering sin with mercy. The way that seems right to man ends in death. The loving way of the Crucified King is much more powerful.
The Biblical response called for and enabled by God results in Gospel multiplication. Persecution sparks Gospel growth, internally and numerically. We must acknowledge the sovereignty of God and not sit idly by like detached bystanders. Ours is a counterintuitive, countercultural Gospel response that starts with Christ's death and resurrection and calls for repentance and faith.
Our mandate is humble-bold action on a level unattainable by evil-infused pawns. We are indwelt by a power far greater than bombs or nature. And our retirement plan has benefits beyond this world that will eventually lead to rescue and safe passage to heaven.
The killing of Christians should grieve our hearts and call us to a loving Gospel response in the Name of the One who has saved us by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, revealed in Scripture alone, for His glory alone. Jesus said not to fear those who kill your body but cannot touch your soul. Fear Him who has the power over body and soul (Matt. 10:28). He is Sovereign and Almighty, terrorists are not.