What Shall We Do To Contain The Evil Which Lives In The Hearts of Men?
This is one of the primary, pressing questions that the world has been asking itself for years now, and thinking Christians will once again face the questions, “What shall we do to suppress the evil nature of man?” “How can we inhibit human wickedness so that it does not break forth to the ruin of lives and even the desecration of the culture?” The answers to those questions are not simple. In fact, a number of them come to mind that are currently being practiced in our society. They include:
1. Money. Yes, there are still many in our time who believe that poverty causes evil and crime, and that money will produce righteousness and fastidious living. The horrendous crimes of our time certainly prove that money is no inhibitor of evil.
2. Fame and Reputation. Many think that it is only obscure, low-life people who commit crimes. Too many famous people and their moral defections certainly testify that fame does not inhibit evil, and it is itself as fleeting as the wind.
3. Religious Involvement. Certainly this is a step in the right direction, but religion as such cannot alter the nature of man. Great evils, which have been and are even now being conducted in the name of religion, have become a public shame. Millions in today’s world are slavish adherents to religions that have no life-changing power.
4. Civil Authority. This answer to evil within society gets a mixed review. It is true that men who have not faith can only be controlled by the fear of civil consequencesjail and even executionthat comes from violating the law. The wicked, however, soon find a way to circumvent civil authority. We are even now at the place where more people per capita are in prison in America than in any other nation of the world. Yet, this seems not to avail in seriously stemming the tide of wickedness.
How then can evil be prevented from taking over society?
The thinking Christian knows that there is one answer and only one. It is in the life-changing, culture-altering of a marvelous message called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is in connection with that Gospel that the Bible says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
The external circumstances of our world cannot possibly be changed unless sufficient numbers of people become believing, consecrated Christians. A change of heartthat’s the difference that counts!
It is therefore true that the person who commits himself to believing the Gospel and then does his best to advance in society the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christthat person is doing the most strategic thing in our world today.
In connection with this, there are two considerations that we do well to keep in mind. First of all, the events of our time must motivate Christians to be, as never before, an influence in society. Christ was speaking to believers when He said most earnestly, “You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted?...You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid” (Matt. 5:13,14).
There are many who think that spiritual influences mean nothing within society but, alas, the opposite is true. They mean everything! The basis of life is not economic, political or social, but rather the ultimate basis of life is spiritual. The spiritual influence upon a society produced by the Gospel of Jesus Christ creates the moral basis without which a culture cannot survive. That means that you and I, being Christians, are the human hope of mankind.
A second consideration comes to mind in the midst of all of this. God restrains the rise of evil, but the Bible teaches that there is coming a time in which evil will no longer be suppressed by the working of God within our society. The Scripture says, “Only He who now restrains will restrain, until He be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked one be revealed” (2 Thess. 2:7,8).
Considering the major, massive outbreaks of evil in every form in our society, one begins to wonder. We wonder, we ask the question of whether it is possible that the hand of God that retards evil is even now beginning to be lifted from our culture. If this is the case, then we are approaching the beginning of that awful period of time of judgment called “the Tribulation.”
This then causes us to remind ourselves that the Tribulation cannot begin unless there comes that spectacular event firstthe Rapture of the Church. Every believer in our time should regularly remind himself of the great hope of each one of us. “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:16-18).
How wonderful, how inspiring is that grand promisethe return of Jesus Christ for His own! We can know, therefore, that the Christian will not be finally victimized by the evil of this world. Rather, when evil rises to a certain point, Christ will intervene on behalf of His own. The Church is promised, “Because you have kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10).
We can also rejoice that in the days preceding the Rapture of the Church, the Church will be given remarkable, unprecedented opportunity by the Lord. He speaks to believers and says, “Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it” (Rev. 3:8).
How to move in the midst of opportunitythat is the great question and challenge of believers in our time. What will it take to rise to the great opportunities before us? This question should merit some of the deepest Christian thought and more profound attention to the Word of God than has been necessary in the entire history of the Church.
What then will it take to rise to these great occasions?
1. Above all, good theology. Considering the theological slippage of our time, this is especially important today. If sound doctrine goes, little is left but moldering buildings.
2. Every Christian a Bible scholar. Each Christian, when facing the problems of life, must ask, “What do the Scriptures say?” Too many are pursuing ecstatic experiences or voices in the night as substitutes for real truth. The Scriptures are the only rule for faith and practice.
3. Universal, individual initiative. Millions of individuals, taking the initiative with an earnest testimony of Christherein lies our only hope of touching this generation.
4. The proper witness to salvation. The announcement we must make to the world is that “God has a gift for you.” Salvation by grace is the only valid message to preach and the only one that will produce true, eternal results. By contrast, probationary salvation is a great despair-producer. Yes, a joyous Church, each individual of which is alight with the flame of the Gospelwith this there is yet hope for the world. What other life is worth living?
This once again points up the importance of Christianity and the Christian community in the world today. The voice of the Gospel is not simply a feeble cry in the wilderness, but it is the call to individuals and the nations to return to life, sanity and, therefore, survival.
The battle between good and evil now takes a most interesting form. There is a very real religious and ideological war developing in the United States. What you and I believe as biblical Christians is being assaulted. It’s almost as if a committee has been appointed to co-opt every insulting word imaginable to describe those who are simply heart-felt, believing Christians. We are being lampooned for holding that the Bible is the Word of God, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that faith in Him is the only way of salvation.
Happily, you and I hold that an argument on these subjects is simply beneath our dignity. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only Savior of mankindperiod. The Bible is the Word of God and it is our only rule for faith and practiceperiod. Salvation is by grace because of the shed blood of Jesus Christperiod. In no way are these subjects negotiable for the Christian. Everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as personal Savior is going to heaven. Anyone who does not believe the Gospel and accept God’s Son as His very own is going to hell. This is the way it is, this is what the Bible says, and that ends the discussion!
If believing this means that we are called religious fanatics, then so be it. These things are exactly what Jesus Christ taught us and what the Bible confirms on every page. Whatever the world says and with whatsoever we may be threatened, we take our stand on these fundamental, inalterable points of Scripture. I often sing to myself those grand words: “The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I will notI will not desert to his foes; That soulthough all hell should endeavor to shakeI’ll neverno neverno never forsake!”
Along with this, I have often rejoiced greatly in the marvelous words: “Since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply, Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die.”
Therefore, may we make to you an absolute promise, as absolute as the human mind and human flesh can be? In this ministry, we will continue to hold forth the Word of Life to the best of our abilities. We will never go looking for a better Bible or a better Gospel or even make common cause with many of the “creative new ideas” which are coming upon Christianity. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “the faith once delivered to the saints” and will continue into eternity to be the precise and unvarying message by which alone we can be saved.
Is there salvation in Jesus Christ alone or are there many other saviors? The Scripture says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
The Apostle Paul was one day waited upon by certain sophisticated religionists who came from Jerusalem to see him in an attempt to get him to soften his message. He spoke of, “false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Gal. 2:4,5). It is this kind of spiritual resolution which alone will carry the hour, in this day or any day.
Let us make two recommendations. SATAN'S TEN MOST BELIEVABLE LIES will point up satanic theology that will come upon the world in our time. It is our prayer that this book will be widely read in these days. It is available in response to your contribution of $10. SEVEN MEN WHO RULE THE WORLD FROM THE GRAVE will be of interest to all who are thinkers in these days. It points up the philosophical basis for the culture in the midst of which we live. Let us send it to you in response to your contribution of $15. Please find these two books listed on our order form.
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