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On May 24, 2022, the people of the United States were shocked once again by the shooting of elementary school children. Every time such deadly incidents occur, we are bombarded in the media with speculations about what kind of person could do such a thing. Was the motivation religion, race, a nasty upbringing? We speculate, but in the end, we simply find it difficult to comprehend how such evil exists among people. We still cling to the fantasy that we humans are good, down deep.

Well, we aren’t.

“What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:20–23).1

I don’t think it’s a stretch to maintain that lawlessness has increased. Although unspeakable acts have always been with us, the destruction of life over the last one hundred years is almost beyond belief. Twenty million people in the Soviet Union died during World War II. Fifteen million or more died in China, many brutalized by Japanese soldiers. Almost seven million in Germany and six million in Poland died in that war. Germany’s Final Solution murdered over five million Jews. Eighteen to forty-five million died in Mao’s Great Leap Forward. Over sixty million babies have been legally killed in the U.S. since the 1970’s.

So, it shouldn’t surprise us that we see these evil things happening now, should it? However, why aren’t all fallen people running around committing monstrous acts? Because throughout history the Lord, in His grace, has restrained lawlessness. But that has changed and is changing. Paul wrote that before Jesus returns the one who is restraining lawlessness, the Holy Spirit, will be taken out of the way.

“Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:5–7).

This restraint must be removed in order for the man of lawlessness to be revealed and the Day of the Lord to arrive.

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction…” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

According to the passage below, it is going to get more difficult for believers.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:9–14).

What does this mean to us?

We will remain steadfast in faith. We will pray that the Lord will comfort the families of those whose loved ones have been killed. We will pray for the salvation of the perpetrators.

We will place our hope in God.

Like Paul when brought to court because of false accusations, we must work to stand with a clear conscience before God and man bringing truth:

“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:14–15).

Amen.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge images.

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