The Evil of Sin

Dr. Brian Allison

Casey, Nicole, and Jessica are dead. They were viciously slaughtered this past week (December 1, 1997) in Paducha, Kentucky. They were killed while attending a prayer-meeting. Their assailant – a fellow peer. He boasted three days previously that "something big" was soon to happen. No one imagined the unthinkable. He murdered three innocent girls in cold blood.

This past week marked the eighth anniversary of the Montreal massacre of fourteen college girls by a deeply disturbed man, Marc Lepine. The mass murder was senseless and vicious. This tragic event captures the sheer evil of the world in which we live. There is no respect for one's person; there is no conscience for decency; life is disgracefully cheap.

A few weeks ago (November 17), a sixteen year old boy and a fifteen year old girl shamelessly killed a fourteen year old girl, Reena Virk, in Victoria, British Columbia. Her life was seemingly expendable. She had a sordid and dysfunctional background, and thus she apparently did not deserve to live. These two unconscionable teens, after butting out a cigarette on Reena's head, beat her silly and left her for dead. Her crime (according to the newspaper headline) – she had the reputation of "being a 'slut'."

A bad heart

These representative incidents are a commentary on the human condition. The problem that we are essentially faced with is that fallen humanity has a bad heart. Jeremiah 17:9 reads, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?" Similarly, Ecclesiastes 9:3 reads, "This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil, and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead."

Evil proceeds from a bad heart. We read in Mark 7:20ff, "And He [Jesus] was saying, 'That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.'" These verses provide a commentary on the course of human history. Human history is characterized by violence and atrocity. The violence and atrocity of today are not new. Again, the evil of people flows from a bad heart.

Blatant disregard for the holy

We poignantly and graphically witness the evil of a bad heart in the death of the Lord Jesus. Here we are faced with the epitome of human evil. Here we realize afresh the horror of human depravity. With the death of Christ, there is absolutely no regard for the holy, no pity for the innocent, no respect for the decent. The Holy Scriptures are indubitably clear on this. We read, for instance, in Luke 22:63ff, "And the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him, and beating Him, and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, 'Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?' And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming.'" We further read, "And Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, 'You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. I will therefore punish Him and release Him.' [Now Pilate was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner.] But they cried out all together saying, 'Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!' (He was the one who had been thrown into prison for a certain insurrection made in the city, and for murder.) And Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, but they kept on calling out, saying, 'Crucify, crucify Him!' And he said to them the third time, 'Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; I will therefore punish Him and release Him.' But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand should be granted. And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will" (Lu. 23:13ff.). And after Jesus died on the cross, we read, "Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, 'Certainly this man was innocent'" (Lu. 23:33).

The evil of sin

And so, when we come to think of the death of Jesus Christ, we are again reminded of the darkness of human evil; we are reminded of the mire of human depravity; we are confronted again with the wretchedness of human violence and atrocity. The apostle Peter provides us with a commentary concerning what happened on that fateful day outside of Jerusalem. Standing up on the day of Pentecost, he proclaimed, "Men of Israel, listen to these words; Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know – this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death."

Evil acts proceed from an evil heart. How do we explain the fact of an evil heart? Very simply – the principle and the power of sin. This past week, in Paducha, Kentucky, we witnessed the tragedy of the principle and power of sin. The Montreal massacre was an expression of the tragedy of the principle and power of sin. The shameless murder of Reena Virk revealed the tragedy of the principle and power of sin; that is the human condition.

The triumph of grace

When we think of the cross on which the blessed Saviour died, when we think of His horrific death, surely we are reminded of the tragedy of the principle and power of sin. Yet, the story does not stop there. Along with the cruel cross of Christ and the evil of sin, we also witness the conquering cross of Christ and the triumph of grace. On the cross Christ overcame sin and defeated sin's evil. On the cross, we witness the death of sin and the diffusing of the power of evil. The death of Christ is the only solution to sin. It is the only answer to evil. That is the Good News.

Indeed, it is discouraging and depressing living in a fallen world, a fallen world which is becoming worse. As the Scriptures teach, "But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (1 Tm. 3:13). But there is hope in the Gospel. It is only by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ that this world can be saved; but one must believe.

Maybe you are a stranger to God's saving grace. There is only one hope, one solution, for you – the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning work. He is the Saviour of the world, and I invite you now to put your faith and trust in Him. He is the only One who can deliver you; He is the only answer to your fallenness. As the Scriptures say, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3,4). In accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, you will receive eternal life. I encourage you, and exhort you, to believe in Jesus Christ as the Saviour and Lord of your soul.

Now, you may ask the question: How will accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord remove or address the evil in the world? Well, in accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, you will receive a good heart – a heart to obey and serve God. Your personal evil will be addressed; and, in addition, you will become a force for good, "making the most of your time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:16).