“When asked to “repent” by the judges, Youcef stated, “Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?” The judges replied , “To the religion of your ancestors, Islam.” To which he replied, “I cannot.”—Yousef Nadarkhani / we must be in deep prayer for him & all our persecuted brothers & sisters in Christ (via savoyyytruffle)
I’ve been realizing lately that “being in the Word” doesn’t just mean reading it when you wake up or when you’re going to bed. When you actually think about the phrase it doesn’t make any sense as to why you would think it would be a once a day kind of thing. “Being in” is a continual thing, not…
“There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”—
Here we have record of a remarkable incident, where some people come to Jesus wanting to know the reason for two local tragedies; a massacre at the temple by the Roman governor, and the collapse of a tower. The people come to Jesus and they ask “Why? Why did God allow this?”
“Why do bad things happen to good people? Were they actually bad people, and God was punishing them?”
Jesus’ response is very telling. He doesn’t say “These things happen”. He doesn’t try to defend God for allowing evil in the world. What does he say? Jesus says “Unless you repent, you will likewise perish.”
In effect, “You wonder if they deserved to die that way; they did. But you assume that you don’t deserve to die that way, but you do.” We all have sin and rebellion in our hearts, and we deserved to be erased from the universe in whatever way our Holy God sees fit. Repentance, and clinging to Jesus, is the only way to escape ultimate death.
This can be a difficult truth. It keeps people from Christianity. It even makes Christians uneasy. But the raw truth is that we all deserve the bad things that happen to us. In fact, we deserve worse. It is the common grace of God that any of us are still here, and the particular grace of Christ that anyone who believes can escape destruction.
Christ has experienced this destruction that we deserve, on our behalf. Repentance and faith connects us to this life-saving gift.
When we see evil and destruction happen in the world, we shouldn’t spend so much time asking God “Why?!”, but rather being grateful that it has not yet happened to us, and remember that such an end is what we will experience unless we cling to Christ.
“Each of us, to some degree, fool our friends and family about who we truly are. But it’s impossible to do that with God. He knows each of us deeply and specifically. He knows our thoughts before we think them and our actions before we commit them. He knows who we are …”—Crazy Love by Francis Chan (via holleykathryn)