The anniversary of 9/11 always brings back the emotions that swept over me that day. Eighteen years! And I can still remember those feelings.
Whenever an act of evil such as this takes place, it is in our human nature to try to categorize it. What form does evil assume? What does it look like?
Some deny its existence. Others try to identify it by external appearance or influences. Some look for commonality of race, creed, education level or economic background.
The events we remember today demonstrate that evil takes many forms. We can’t always recognize it until it happens. Friends and acquaintances of those who commit horrendous acts frequently use words like “shocked,” “unexpected,” and “surreal.” There was “nothing that stood out” about them. If you look at their pictures, you see no indication of the atrocity they would commit.
We can’t always identify evil because it is not always externally manifested. The Bible is clear that evil resides within, in the human heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:”
As Jesus explains in Mark 7:20-23 “That which comes out of the man, that defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
In some of us that sin nature expresses itself in overt acts of evil. In others it is more deceptive, camouflaged by reputation and cloaked with self-righteousness. In all of us it is lurking just beneath the surface, waiting for the right circumstances to expose itself.
This is contrary to popular thinking. Society says man is basically good and what will make him better comes from within. God says man is basically bad and what will help him must come from without.
This is the message of the gospel. It is God-centered. God planned redemption before it was needed, promised it through the Old Testament Scriptures, presented it in the person of Jesus Christ, and proclaims it to the world through His people. (Romans 1:1-7)
The Gospel is God’s antidote for the disease of sin The “Good News” is that, through faith in Jesus Christ, our hearts can be changed. God does to the evil within us what we could never do on our own.