Andy Hollifield 3-21-18
Romans 5:20-21 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
As I sat Tuesday night and watched the news reports about the latest bombing in Texas at the Goodwill store in Austin, I could only think of Romans 5:20 “…where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” We are definitely living in a day where sin is abounding everywhere. Another school shooting Tuesday in Maryland and this time School Resource Officer Blain Gaskill responded by finding the shooter and immediately neutralized the threat in an exchange of gunfire although it was not immediately known if the shooter died as a result of Gaskill’s shot or a self inflicted wound. As I listened to the news about the shooting in Maryland and both of the bombings in Texas on Tuesday, my first thought was pure sorrow at the shape our world has gotten into that would allow such evil to even exist much less abound. I also thought of how different things would be if we had of only not told God to leave us alone and that we would call him if we ever needed anything. It may not have been said like that in an actual conversation, but little by little we have pried God’s fingers off of the door of our lives just so that we as a society could shut him out. This is what a nation looks like I believe when God leaves us alone.
I am not going to repeat my recent article along the same lines but it is apparent that we need mercy and grace from the Lord. And according to the scripture in Romans, it doesn’t say that sin “will abound,” It says that it did. It also doesn’t say grace “will abound'” it also says it did and it says that grace abounded much more. Grace has been abounding over sin ever since the fall of Lucifer the angel described in Isaiah 14. As I looked at the scripture in James 3:16, I thought of how interesting it was that this verse contained such negative connotations. I like to look at numbers in the bible to the extent that I even try to take notice of what corresponding chapters and verses say throughout the bible. For instance in Matthew 3:16 we find the Holy Spirit Of God descending and lighting upon Jesus after he came up out of the water following his baptism by John. In Luke 3:16 John is declaring the coming of Jesus not even knowing that Jesus was on his way to the river that day. Of course we all know John 3:16 about how “God so loved the world that he gave.” In 1 Corinthians 3:16, it speaks about our body being the temple of the Lord and him dwelling in us.” In 1 Timothy 3:16 Paul talks to Timothy about the mystery of Godliness. To find all of these encouraging verses and then to find James 3:16 where it talks about envying and strife and confusion and evil was a quick snap back to reality. That is what we have come down to and I am afraid that we have gotten what we wanted. We are without a doubt, reaping the consequences of failing to be the Christians that we should have been.
It is an evident fact and not even just among Christians, that perilous times are upon us. There is envy and strife even among God’s people who are supposed to know better. There is strife to the point that Jesus isn’t even welcome in a lot of churches. They are spiritually dead and without enough knowledge to fill a thimble when it comes to the things of God. It seems that common sense is in short supply and intellect definitely does not indicate wisdom. Romans 1:21 and 22 says it like this. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” You can read on through the 1st chapter and you will find the scripture that we wrote about previously. We have celebrities claiming that religion is a crutch for weak-minded people while others claim that believing God speaks to you, means you have a mental condition and are therefore incompetent. These are people who are supposedly “intellectual.” If I am weak-minded then so be it. The book of 2 Corinthians 12:9 says that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. If believing God speaks to you means you have a mental deficiency then put me in that class too. Zechariah 7:11-12 gives us the results of that attitude. Verse 11 reads “But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. (12) Yea they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.” I would rather to be thought weak-minded and mental than to ignore God and suffer his wrath.
I know, as I finish writing this, that the Austin package bomber, at 24 years old, made an apparent mistake while fleeing from police and blew himself up in his car. I also know that the 17 year old kid that did the Maryland shooting could have been anyone’s kid or neighbor. Just an average kid that for whatever reason made decisions that resulted in the end of his young life and the life of the victim and had he survived his life would have been ruined. Rather than focus on guns we need to turn the focus to what causes the mindset that makes anyone think these behaviors are acceptable and that the taking of a life is no big deal. Prisoners kill each other with sharpened plastic spoons or wooden knives. On 9-11, the weapon of choice that resulted in thousands of deaths were box cutters used by deranged Muslim terrorist with a mindset that “killing the infidels” was an accepted behavior.
Evil abounding. That is the long and short of the answer. All summed up in a two word sentence. Now, tell me who is really the mentally deranged people; the ones that live their lives listening for instructions from a loving God and trying to live their lives in a peaceable, loving, manner toward their fellow man or folks that decide it is acceptable to kill others just because they want to? It goes far beyond constitutional rights and guns but it pertains first to the precepts of the Holy Bible which is God’s holy word. Then it pertains to the Constitution of the United States Of America. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I, for one, am not the least bit concerned with what the rest of the world thinks about my “inalienable rights” endowed to me by my Creator and the other principles and rights afforded to me by the constitution of my native country. More importantly, I would point out that when both of these documents were valued and lived by, and especially the bible; upon which our entire legal system is based in this country and on which our country was founded, our society was a lot healthier and prosperous and peaceful place to live. This “mentally ill, weak-minded” country progressed and prospered more in 200 years than any previous country ever did in over twice as long. In the last 50 or so years since we have outlawed children talking to God in our schools and reading his word in our schools, and since we as a country have legalized the murder of unborn children, and our nation has stopped following the precepts of the God our founding fathers relied on, we have seen our children turning into brats and monsters and our city streets and public places turned into killing fields and we wonder why. Maybe we should go back to what and who we have walked away from and repent and maybe he will withdraw his judgment from us. As a matter of fact, He promised he would: 2Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” If we would only turn back to him, we would not have to live “where evil abounds” but could once again live where we used to, where “grace did much more abound.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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