November 8, 2017
A World at War
We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the … spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
It is painful again to be reflecting on yet another mass shooting, especially in a church and one that victimizes the smallest of children. Add to that the horrific realization that now even small towns are not immune to such horror—and right in our own state.
Close up we turn our hearts to the victims and ponder prayerfully about their deep sorrow, anger, and loss. We can’t help but think about how to prevent or respond to such an incident in our own sanctuary or school. What would we do? How would we feel? What affect would a tragedy like this have on us and our faith?
If we draw back from a close up view that hits so close to home, we see that such terror has been striking the world all over in many forms. Sometimes with guns, sometimes not. Sometimes with clear motives, sometimes not. Sometimes driven by a certain ideology, sometimes just seemingly random.
What is clear, and has been since the very beginning of humanity, is that God’s people have always, and will continue to be, opposed by the spiritual forces of evil inspired by Satan and the demons that serve him. It often takes on the wretched form of “flesh and blood”, both in the perpetrators and in the carnage of the crime scene. Other times, more times, the evil forces strike with the weapons of deception, discouragement, and fear.
Whatever weapon is chosen, and whether the outcome is death of the body or death of hope, God’s people need not lose faith. We do not give up hope, for we are with the Lord always and already, whether in this life or the next. Having been buried with Christ in baptism, we have the assurance that we will also be resurrected with Him.
As Luther wrote, and as we sing, “Though devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us. We tremble not, we fear no ill, they shall not overpower us. “ Therefore, Jesus said, “do not fear those kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28) Satan has no power over the soul that entrusts its eternal security to the One who has already conquered the power of sin, death, and the devil. None are destined for hell that depend on Christ, who took into His own flesh and blood all the punishment that our sins deserve. His victory over death is ours. We need not fear it, for we cannot die. We only depart this world, to await a new world to come–a world no longer at war.
May God keep you in His peace, through Christ.