July 27, 2016
Days of Violence
And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Genesis 6:13
This verse from Genesis reminds us that violence on earth is nothing new. Besides the murders and massacres of organized terrorism, there is much more resulting from domestic abuse, gang and drug-related turf battles, road rage, home invasions and other events.
Violence doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It springs from greed for another’s property or spouse, from the desire to protect and preserve one’s power and addiction, and from the lack of self-control and forgiveness, as well as other matters of the heart. In other words, aside from just wars that defend the innocent, violence is rooted in original sin. So it is no surprise that it has been with us ever since Cain killed Abel. (Genesis 4)
The greater vacuum that begets violence is the absence and violation of God’s Word. Satan violated the Word when he enticed Eve and Adam to serve their own self-interest instead of being satisfied with God’s blessings. Since they handed down their sinful nature to their children, it is not shocking that one of their sons murdered the other.
Because of violence, God destroyed all but eight people in a worldwide flood. That a holy and just God would save anyone at all may surprise us, but it shouldn’t. When sin first came into the world, God promised a savior to come later, born in human flesh. If all humanity were destroyed, that promise could not be fulfilled. Ultimately, the promise was kept millennia later in the birth of Jesus Christ.
In a gracious twist, God used the inherent violence of man to offer up Christ as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of violence and all other violations of God’s perfect law. While violence is nothing new, neither is the cure for it. Promised in the Old Testament and delivered in the New, Christ’s forgiveness, resulting from his death and resurrection, changes our hearts from serving self to serving our neighbor and our Lord.
The days of violence will end when Christ returns at a time no one knows. Meanwhile, the Church sees this sin as a cry for the love that only Christ can give. While we citizens take courage to defend against it, we the Church answer violence with the Gospel. It is the only power that will bring peace.