Because of the problems of evil, unfairness, and injustice in our world, a right view of the gospel is essential to understand these problems with our fallenness correctly. Why is this?
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The purpose of the gospel loudly proclaims that these problems do exist. And because evil does exist, there must be a gospel solution, which is why evil and unfairness does not defeat the gospel-centered person. That kind of person is hope-filled when he sees or experiences the unfairness.
Our world became “unjust” from the very beginning. Since the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, injustice, evil, and unfairness have reigned. The gospel was God’s counter-intuitive solution for our turned-upside-down world.
This truth is why it is essential that you think about, interpret, and respond to the problem of evil from a counter-intuitive perspective–God’s gospel perspective. God’s ways are not our ways. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8) What we see and feel in this world is very real, but presuppositionally we must filter what we see and think through the lens of the gospel.
If you do not view the problem of evil through the lens of the gospel there is an excellent chance the badness that is in your world will overcome you or, minimally, your heart will take on the shape of how you view and respond to the evil because you see it through a “non-gospel” lens.
God Solved the Problem of Evil
The Lord has judged and resolved the problem of evil. But he did not do it the way you might have expected or the way you might have preferred. He judged the problem of evil by executing his Son on the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). The Lord sufficiently and entirely judged wickedness and then instituted the right order of things.
The beginning of making things completely right began at the cross, while the resurrection proclaims that the execution of Jesus was a success and God will prevail. But it is in heaven that you will see the complete fruition of the victory that Christ has already secured.
But for now, you groan in an evil world, while anticipating the future day when complete fruition of His gospel victory will be yours. Until that time, you should be expressing hope-filled, gospel-motivated worship because of the finished work of the Savior.
What He has begun in you and me, He will bring to a satisfying conclusion (Philippians 1:6). He is working His plan in this world, and He is working His plan into all of His children.
A Non-gospel-shaped Heart
Here is a list of what I call “soul indicators” for the person who has an inadequate understanding, application, and practice of the gospel when it comes to the problem of evil in our world. A person who is not living daily in the good of the gospel may struggle with some of these.
- Lack of worship
- Uncharitable judging
- Spiritual distance from God
A Gospel-Shaped Heart
When the gospel is shaping your heart, the counterintuitive nature of “God’s gospel” will give you an “otherworldly” response to the evil that would find no greater joy than to take over and dominate your life. A gospel-centered and shaped person, living in a world of wickedness will be doing these things.
- Worshipping God
- Content in a world of evil
- Discerning about what he sees
- Having God’s perspective on what he sees
- Being “smart” but not according to the wisdom of this world
- Living out a lifestyle of humble repentance
- Finding strength day by day in the ways of God
- Being captured by God, rather than the problems of life
- Experiencing a closeness to God
Six Progressive Thoughts
The key to drowning out the “noise of unfairness and evil” in your life is to worship God. But “to worship God” can be a trite response to your struggles with unfairness and evil. Thus, before you can adequately worship God, there must be a precursory work happening in your heart.
You will find the absolute key to this “precursory work in your heart” in the gospel. If you have not solved the problems of unfairness and evil, through His gospel, there is no way you can have calmness of soul. Here are six progressive thoughts on how to come to that place of “calmness of soul” in an evil-saturated world.
- You resolve or mitigate the problem of evil and unfairness through heartfelt worship of God.
- To worship God, you must have faith in Him; you must believe in Him; you must trust Him.
- The way you come to an affectionate faith in God is through the right view, understanding, and application of the gospel.
- The gospel loudly informs your heart that God is in control; God is aware of the problem, and God has an answer to your struggles.
- Based on this understanding and application of the gospel, you can worship God in spirit and truth.
- Your gospel-informed worship of God drowns out the noise that unfairness and evil bring to your heart.
Call to Action
- Are you content? Are you living in the daily practical good of the gospel?
- What is one specific area of unfairness or evil that you struggle with, no matter how small or trite it may seem?
- Does the gospel quieten the noise of your soul? Why or why not?
- Will you work through the three lists that I presented in this article as a long-term homework assignment? Identify areas where you need to change, find a friend to help you in the process, and start working on those things.