How to Be Saved From Evil

In reading through Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, he made an observation about government and evil that I think is very important for people to recognize.

One of the primary means God uses to restrain evil in the world is human government. Human laws and police forces and judicial systems provide a powerful deterrent to evil actions, and these are necessary, for there is much evil in the world that is irrational and that can only be restrained by force, because it will not be deterred by reason or education.

First, we can be thankful that there is not more evil in the world than we currently have. R.C. Sproul had also commented on one of his sermons, that it is by the grace of God that we don’t have ten thousand guys with guns coming at us everyday. God does a work of restraining the conscience by writing his law on our hearts and by instituting government to restrain evil by force.

I’ve heard over and over again in the world, the philosophy that we could solve social evils by educating people. If people were simply smarter, there would be a lot less evil in the world. While it’s true that true wisdom and knowledge will lead to good, this overlooks the fact that ultimately, evil is irrational, and no amount of reasoning will cure this fact. If someone wants to persist in doing evil, they are simply deluded into following the course of actions which carry out their evil desires. Although evil deeds may be well planned and thought out and using impressive displays of intelligence, are ultimately irrational and does not cooperate with rational and wise thinking. It is not education, which will remedy the situation, it is government and human force that will put a stop to it.

While it is true that it often does not solve the irrational thinking, it provides a way to display the consequence of evil. When a person who steals is by force put in jail and forced to pay a fine, this is a real life judgment and consequence for the sin. Without such forceful measures, the person may benefit in their sin and their evil, irrational thinking will continue to entice them into further sin and perhaps more heinous sins. However when stopped by force, they are forced to pay consequence for their sin and if they are not totally hardened, there is the real possibility that they will in their hearts, turn from their sin. In this turning from sin, education is important to inform people of the right way to go and the right kind of thinking.

Within our borders, the police are meant to be the local restraint against evil. In the greater world, armies of nations are meant to be the global restraint against evil. Everyone would agree that the defeat of the Nazi’s were a successful display of forceful restraint. Our current conflict in Iraq is a little more difficult to judge. However, we should be careful in our judgment and recognize the dreadful consequences of sin and evil. It certainly causes death and destruction, and when the evil is on a large scale, the death and destruction are also on a large scale. Although none of us are truly innocent under the law of God, there are men and women who are innocent of any crime under the law of man, who will loose their lives as a result of the display of force that accompanies large scale war. And it is appropriate that none of us like it. But we must also remember, the solution is never going to be education. Our hope would be equally irrational and misguided to place our hope in educational as the savior from social evils.

We should take the time to be reminded of how evil, evil truly is. Our desire should be to turn to the one being in this universe who is the stable and perfect good. What was his solution to this problem? What is God’s remedy for evil? God sent his Son Jesus Christ to ultimately conquer evil once and for all. While he was being crucified and experiencing the consequence of our sins, onlookers didn’t think that he had obtained victory. However, later, he rose from the dead, displaying his power and victory over sin. He has ultimately overcome evil for all and making this victory commonly available to all who would believe and ultimately be saved from both the consequences of evil in this world and eternity.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:16-21, ESV)


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