Today is the anniversary of 9/11 a terrorist attack, an act of war, on a scale unknown to the modern American society. Looking over the history of America it is not difficult to find murderous tragedies and barbarous acts of war on this soil but 9/11 is unique in modern enlightened law and order 1st world society. On this somber day today, I also see a Hurricane carving up the state of Florida. The world has changed or I should rightly say my perception of the world has changed. The world is temporary. Evil abounds. Spiritual forces are at work overturning right and wrong. As I reflect on the clashes in the streets over “hate speech”, wars the world over, and the unfriendly seas spewing storms on me hundreds of miles from shore I remember that this is not my home.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 ESV
My heart is in something greater. Jesus told Peter that the church would be the foundation, a rock, to preserve society. Jesus told Peter that hell would not break through, or overcome the church. I take heart in knowing that God is present because the church, the body of Jesus Christ, is here.
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 ESV
On Sunday, my pastor preached the body of Christ is salt and light from Matthew 5. He reminds the congregation that we are a preservative that holds society together. Without Salt without light society becomes worthless and the gates of hell would overcome. Hell has not victory. Hell will not win. Hell does not own this world because the Church is still here. The Holy Spirit is still here. Paul writing to the Thessalonian Church tells them what the return of Christ in bodily form will look like. Paul tells them to not worry. The restrainer, the spirit of God, holds back the destruction of lawlessness. And when that day comes the King, Jesus, will “bring to nothing” all this evil.
7 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. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 ESV
Now here is what I need to know, what the contemporary Christian needs to know. First God’s plans are perfect and sovereign. The current wars, the acts of nature, none of the current ails of this world are a surprise to him. Second lawlessness is in check. Thank God that he is restraining the evil that lives in all of us. Lawlessness is restrained because the Church by way of the Holy Sprit living through Christians is salt and light in this dark world. Jesus has promised that “the gates of hell shall not prevail” while the Church, the Holy Spirit are still active.
Because of this we know there is still time. The moment of grace is still available. This is the good news of the gospel.
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Acts 2:38-39 ESV