July 19, 2016

The Cure for What Ails Us

Nearly every other day, lately, seems to bring some painful news. Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, Dallas, France, Turkey, Baton Rouge again, and all sorts of ‘lesser’ bad news sprinkled liberally in between. And none of that includes the frustration and disappointment that many Americans feel connected to the presidential election. Nor does it include whatever awful news stories may come across the ticker between the time I write this (Tuesday afternoon) and the time you read it. It really is a bad news world, this planet earth. And, while the outbreak of dark clouds seems to have increased in recent weeks, it always has been a bad news world, ever since Genesis 3:1-19.

And, ever since that day when the darkness fell in the Garden of Eden, the solution to man’s bad news has always, always (and, ultimately, only) been God’s good news – the news of a Savior who would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:12), and right all that has gone wrong in the fall of mankind. And I submit to you that this idea – that the only ultimate hope in the midst of the world’s bad news is the good news about god’s Son – I submit to you that this idea is not just pie in the sky, nor is it merely somehow just generically true that the gospel would help the world. But it is specifically true in each of the specific situations that grieve us as they come marching, one after the other, across the daily newswire.

What is the hope in the cities of this nation that are torn by racial violence and fear? Better policing techniques would be a good thing! And so would the caution of citizens to avoid painting all police with a broad brush. But do you know what ultimately brings races together (and makes people really care about the above)? The news about Jesus, which breaks down the barrier between races, and makes black, white, Asian, Latino, and everyone else who is in Christ one (Ephesians 2:14, Galatians 3:28).

And what of the radical Islamic violence that continues to rear its ugly head on multiple continents? What is the solution for Orlando, Nice, and so many bombings in Africa and the Middle East.? It is the spread of the gospel, which turns militants into missionaries, and angry young men into lovers of peace (Acts 9:1-20). Are there important discussions to be had about immigration and border patrols? Certainly. But the ultimate solution for radical Islam, the thing that has the power to root it out altogether is not only figuring out how to keep radical Islam out, but (more importantly) sending merciful Christians in to Muslim regions and neighborhoods, proclaiming “liberty to the captives” in Jesus Christ!

And the same good news that has the power to convert the militants also has the power to comfort those (Muslim, European, Floridian, and so on) who are left to grieve in their wake; and those who grieve any and every other loss in this world. Because news of Jesus tells us that He is coming again, to right all that is wrong in this world, to make “all things new” and to “wipe away every tear” from the eyes of His people (Revelation 21:1-7).

And what of American Politics, and the future of our land? What is it that can make our nation what she should be? Not first of all jobs, or a good economy, or campaign reform, or what-have-you. What “exalts a nation”, according to the Scriptures, is “righteousness” (Proverbs 14:34). And how does an unrighteous nation – which America certainly is, on so many levels (abortion, sexual promiscuity, pornography, idolatry, etc.) – how does an unrighteous nation begin to be bend its collective will toward the ways of righteousness? Not first of all by enacting new laws (which sinful men will always find a way to skirt), nor even primarily by electing new politicians (who are sinners themselves, and work for a sinful constituency). No! Laws and leaders are important, no doubt. But the way a nation begins to adopt stances of righteousness is not first of all through new laws and new leaders, but as more and more of its individual citizens become new creatures in Christ. The laws and leaders will follow the transformation of the populous! And the populous is changed, one person at a time, through the proclamation of the message of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)!

And so do you see? What our broken, cracked, decaying nation and world need most is not only better laws, better politicians, safer borders, better policing, understanding of one another, and so on. All those things are true. But none of them change the human heart. Only the gospel does that. And so the solution for bad news is not just better ways of doing things, but altogether good news – the news about Christ!

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