Last week on Thursday, October 1st, yet another mass shooting took place in the state of Oregon at Umpqua Community College. The now-deceased gunman shot and killed 10 individuals while wounding another 9. Many Americans and even those around the world are once again pondering the universal question when such tragedies occur, “Why?” Time and time again we have witnessed unspeakable calamities which not only affect the families that were directly involved, but such occurrences have shaken the human experience in a collective manner.
As a result of another mass shooting, many Americans, and even politicians are calling for an introduction to new gun laws to mitigate such shootings from occurring in the future. Some are even calling for a strict plan to address mental health in America. There seems to be so many who are calling for answers as to what should be done to put an end to the violence. Many are seeking human means and solutions to address what is truly a spiritual issue.
Shortly after the massacre took place, the President of the United States was quoted as saying, “our thoughts and prayers are not enough,” which was meant to suggest from his perspective that more should be done to address the ongoing issue. However, the problem with the President’s statement is that it does not take into account that with all action there must be divine providence at the hands of God. All of us desire order and laws to institute accountability, however, how many are willing to allow God to be the basis for their foundation and guidance?
In the book of Galatians chapter 2, specifically, verses 15-21, the Apostle Paul gets into the issue of being justified by faith rather than being justified by the works of the law. In verse 15, the Apostle Paul makes an important note about being Jewish by birth but also not being a Gentile sinner. The reason why Paul mentions this is because, by Jewish custom, following ceremonial laws or a strict adherence to Mosaic laws was implemented habitually. However, notice what Paul says in verses 15 and 16:
(ESV) “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
What Paul is essentially saying in these verses is that faith in Jesus Christ is what justifies or proves us as acceptable unto God rather than using the works of the law to justify oneself. It is the devotion and honor unto God that gives us the ability to be acceptable instead of looking to the law to create a change in the human heart. The problem with our global society today is that many are looking to the law or their government to execute morality and guidance rather than looking to God who is the one who gives us the formula for morality and godly wisdom.
Much of the reason why many of these mass atrocities continue to plague our world is because of humanity’s irreverence and staunch opposition towards the things of God. Paul says that the works of the law will not justify which means that solely focusing on the law to vindicate or exact true conversion is futile in its endeavors. In America, many politicians are looking to solve issues of violence, drug abuse, financial disparities and a whole host of other issues by doing so in their human will.
However, whenever a nation is not built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ then it will ultimately crumble from within. The fact is that demonic forces have run rampant throughout our world because many within each nation have decided that secular humanism and a deviation from godly principles will solve each calamity. However, when humanity exalts itself or other idols are allowed to be worshiped, then the presence of demons and satanic influences begin to proliferate.
The tragedy that occurred last week in Oregon in addition to various tragedies that have occurred in the past and present history of our world is the result of sinfulness and a lack of reverence for God. The Apostle Paul continues in the next few verses:
(ESV) “But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.”
(ESV) “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”
In verse 19 Paul says that through the law, he died to the law. What does Paul mean? Basically, the Apostle Paul was subjected to the law in terms of abiding by various laws in order to maintain order or compliance within society. However, Paul understood that the law is not what brings true morality but rather it is life in God through Jesus Christ. Paul finishes in verse 19 by saying “so that I might live to God.”
Paul says that he died to the law meaning, he does not look to the law as a measurement to fulfill righteousness but rather when life in Jesus Christ is lived, we automatically know the difference between right and wrong. Paul says that it is Christ who lives in him which then results in a life that is lived in obedience unto God. In the final verse, Paul says that if the law grants righteousness then it would mean that Jesus Christ’s death was in vain.
The overall principle to learn is that we as humans should not look to the law or our government to institute morality or to even provide it. The guidance that you and I should be looking to is none other than God through Jesus Christ. Much of the chaos that we see within many nations is due to the corruption and sinful behavior of leadership.
Unfortunately, those who are citizens within each nation are looking to their leaders to legislate and bring change, but such change cannot come at the hands of humanity. The prayers of the righteous and the obedience of those who are willing to seek God is what will foster a revolution. However, tragedies that we have seen will, unfortunately, become common place as long as humanity is insistent upon its own way.
For such calamities to be mitigated, there must be a surrender to the things of God. Even in your own life, there must a relinquishing of your pride and a surrender unto Jesus Christ in Holiness and obedience. Otherwise, your life will not be under the guidance and straightened path of God. It is only in Christ that our lives have order and meaning. Without Jesus Christ, then there is a constant quandary about how to solve problems that arise in life.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord & Savior? If not, then you don’t have the necessary key who is Jesus Christ to provide the answers to any questions you have. Our world groans and constantly seeks the answers to various situations that surface, and yet the very answer they seek is found in Christ. Repent of your sins, and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and allow Him to radically change your life.