These are certainty strange and interesting times. God wants us to think biblically. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” We are not to be media driven but Bible driven! The spiritual battle is won or lost in the mind. We must think biblically about recent events in America. Here is my feeble attempt to answer five questions about recent events in America…..
The real enemy is sin. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death…” Sin carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people,” says Proverbs 14:34. Sin destroys individuals, families and nations.
We are dealing with the consequences of sin in America. America is a great nation. We have a rich heritage. However, the sin of slavery casts a long shadow. American slavery was based on kidnapping. Kidnapping is condemned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Deuteronomy 24:7 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10 condemn kidnapping. The penalty under the Mosaic Law for kidnapping was death.
First question, are we responsible for the sins of previous generations? No. Ezekiel 18:20 says, “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity.” We are not responsible for the choices of previous generations.
Deuteronomy 5:9 says that the sins of the parents are passed down to the third and fourth generations. Often the sins of the parents become the sins of the children. The consequences of unrighteous choices often last even three and four generations. We are dealing today with the consequences, not the guilt, of sin.
Second question, are there specific sins we must avoid? Certainly, we must avoid partiality and prejudice. Partiality is treating someone favorably based on external factors. Prejudice is treating someone negatively based on external factors. God is not partial. He is a God of perfect justice. He treats everyone equally.
Hatred is a terrible sin. Our God is loving. Matthew 5:45 says, “He (God) causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. We are not to hate others.
There is no room for anger, bitterness or violence. Every relationship runs on forgiveness. A failure to forgive brings bitterness. Bitterness is settled anger. Bitterness is a cancer and a poison. There is no room for violence in protesting.
Third question, how should we treat our government and law enforcement? The short answer is, “Respectfully.” Romans 13:1 says, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.” There are exceptions. If the government commands us to do something the Bible clearly forbids or if the government forbids us from doing something the Bible clearly commands we must peacefully and respectfully disobey (Acts 4).
Scripture allows us to speak up, lobby and peacefully protest. We have many options. The Bible is filled with examples of people speaking up and changing unjust laws. In Romans 13 government officials are referred to as “ministers of God” (verse 4) and “servants of God” (verse 6). Anarchy is not God’s plan!
Fourth question, should these events surprise us? No. We should not be surprised by recent events. The Bible compares the closing days of this age as birth pains that will lead to a much greater age- the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 24:8). Jesus asked a very poignant question in Luke 18:8. “When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?” Wickedness and division will grow greater and greater.
Fifth question, what is the ultimate solution? The only real, lasting solution is the gospel. The Bible teaches there is only one race- the human race. We all have the same problem- sin. The only solution is the grace of God brought through His Son Jesus. Jesus died for our sins and offers forgiveness. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:9). When we have peace with God through Christ’s death we can then extend peace to others.
Recent events seem overwhelming. The pace of change in our culture is breathtaking. Let’s step back, think biblically and respond appropriately. Let’s be part of the solution and not the problem.
Ethan Hansen is a pastor at Faith Bible Fellowship in Big Lake.