07 December 2010

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

I often hear this question, or some variation of it, from well-meaning folks.  But the question is really not a valid one.  A better question would be, "Why do good things happen to bad people?"

You see, there was only ever on truly good person in history, and bad things happened to him.  He was humiliated in public, turned over by a terrorist mob to an oppressive government, and tortured to death.  And all this was in my place (and yours).  I (and you) were guilty of all the charges the angry mob made, and more, but he was innocent, as the judge at one of his sham trials declared.  Nonetheless, that same judge handed him over to the military for torture and execution.

And we wonder why bad things happen to us?

R. C. Sproul, in his book The Holiness of God put it this way-

“If ever a person had room to complain of injustice it was Jesus. He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God. If we stagger at the wrath of God, let us stagger at the cross. Here is where our astonishment should be focused. If we have cause for moral outrage, let it be directed at Golgotha.”

“The cross was at once the most horrible and the most beautiful example of God’s wrath. It was the most just and the most gracious act in history. God would have been more than unjust, He would have been diabolical to punish Jesus if Jesus had not first willingly taken upon Himself the sins of the world. Once Christ had done that, once He volunteered to be the Lamb of God, laden with our sin, then He became the most grotesque and vile thing on this planet. With the concentrated load of sin He carried, He became utterly repugnant to the Father. God poured out His wrath on this obscene thing. God made Christ accursed for the sin He bore. Herein was God’s holy justice perfectly manifest. Yet it was done for us. He took what justice demanded from us. This ‘for us’ aspect of the cross is what displays the majesty of its grace. At the same time justice and grace, wrath and mercy. It is too astonishing to fathom.” (Holiness of God, p. 121)

And all this happened to the most righteous "good" person who ever lived.

Understanding why bad things happened to a genuinely good man in history is the most crucial (pun intended) thing you or I will ever seek to know.  And the answer will change your future for all eternity.

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