In this clip from To the Point LIVE, Jon Noyes explains how the problem of evil points to our need for a savior. Catch more of To the Point the second and fourth Wednesday of every month, streaming live at noon Pacific time on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
God uses evil to point us to our need for a savior. In Luke 13:4–5, Jesus asked, of those 18 on whom the Tower of Siloam fell and killed, do you think that they were worse offenders than all those who lived in Jerusalem? Jesus says, “No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Notice, when asked about the problem of evil in the world, Jesus used the opportunity to warn the world of coming judgment.
C.S. Lewis put it this way: “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to arouse a deaf world.” The reality of evil points to the reality of God. On the Christian view, there’s no contradiction between the goodness and power of God and the presence of evil. God’s doing something about the problem of evil. There’s a solution. There will come a time when God will remove every remnant of evil from his creation. He will restore perfect goodness to the world. You’ve got to remember that our story isn’t over yet. Remember, don’t confuse the moment with the story. We find ourselves in a story, and we haven’t gotten to the conclusion. We know the conclusion, but we haven’t gotten there yet.
Matthew 5:6 reports Jesus as saying, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” We thirst and hunger and yearn for these things, and one day we will be satisfied. Some people want to have that happen today, and I understand that. I want it to happen today. But remember, though, when God deals decisively with evil, he’s going to do a complete job. He’s not leaving anything undone. I turn again to Lewis’s words. He says, “I wonder whether the people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when he does. When the author walks on the stage, the play is over.”
Evil deeds can never be isolated from the evildoer. If God wiped out all the evil in the world tonight at midnight, where would you be? When Jesus came the first time, people clamored for a conquering Messiah, and they got a suffering one. Now, people want Jesus meek and mild, and they’re going to get the Lion of Judah when he comes.
Friends, God sent his son to die for evil men, offering mercy instead of justice so that we could be forgiven rather than condemned. God has dealt with the problem of evil, and now he’s patiently waiting, giving humankind a chance to turn to him for forgiveness.
In 2 Peter 3, we read, “The Lord’s not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” You see, God is slow in his wrath and anger. He’s giving us all a chance to turn to him. He’s patient towards the sinners of the world, and he doesn’t want any to perish. The door is still open. It’s not quite yet 12:01, but it won’t always be that way. God is going to close that door. Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Do you know why God hasn’t dealt decisively with evil yet? Maybe it’s because of you. Maybe it’s because God is waiting for you. Maybe it’s your neighbor or your mom or your dad or your best friend or the person in the cubicle next to you. Maybe it’s for that person that lives across the street or that person you pass by in traffic every day. God’s waiting. He’s patient.