When people go to the movies, the last thing that generally crosses their mind is the possibility they may not come home because of a homicidal maniac on a shooting rampage.
All that has changed now, after the horrific massacre at the latest Batman film in Aurora, Colo.
It’s just one more reminder that evil truly exists in our world (led by the god of this world, Satan the devil), and it is bent on bringing forth death.
Yet with all the anguish the shooting has caused, is there anything good that can come of the tragedy?
I believe there is, and it’s something better than you’ve likely ever imagined.
The calamity should make all of us wake up to the most important issues in life.
We all need to ask ourselves why are we here to begin with? What is really the meaning of our lives? What in the world is God doing with us? And what actually happens when we die?
Believe it or not, there are solid answers to these questions, and they’re found in a book many people don’t even read these days, the Holy Bible.
I myself am a Bible-believing Christian, and I’d like to remind my fellow human beings that we are all in a state of death right now, even if we’re not victims of tragedies such as the Batman massacre.
We simply do not have immortal life inherent in us. We merely have a temporary existence for however many years we’re granted. Some people get to breathe longer than others, maybe up to a hundred years or so. Others, such as those at the Colorado theater, have their existence cut short much sooner.
None of us knows how much time we have.
The news is filled every day with people dying, whether a result from crimes, accidents on the highway or while on the job, or even natural causes. In other words, we don’t have to be massacred to be dead.
We’re all already under a death sentence, and unless we turn to God and stop our rebellion against His divine instructions, we’re all going to perish, as in being dead forever.
The New Testament records Jesus discussing this theme often, and He used tragedies of His time to reveal this truth.
One incident involved the Roman ruler Pontius Pilate killing a bunch of people worshipping God, and another calamity saw a large tower fall on 18 people, killing all of them.
Here’s how Jesus discussed the situations:
About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple.
“Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.
“And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” (Luke 13:1-5, New Living Translation)
Jesus clearly stated that we are all under a death sentence right now, and unless we repent, unless we stop breaking God’s laws, we are all going to perish. That means being dead for all eternity.
But there is good news. We can have life. Immortal life.
It’s not floating around in heaven doing a whole bunch of nothingness except playing a harp and looking at the face of Jesus, despite what you may have been told at some point.
When a man asked Jesus what he needed to do to gain eternal life, Jesus said, “If you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17, NLT)
Jesus was stressing again that we currently do not have eternal life, and the way to get on the correct path is to knock off our own lawbreaking and keep the commandments of God.
The purpose of this life is to learn how to reject and overcome all evil, not just the bloody type of evil that took place in Colorado, but all instances of lawbreaking. This includes all of the Ten Commandments such as not lying, stealing, lusting and committing adultery.
And as others have noted, they are not the Ten Suggestions. They are the Ten Commandments. Our Creator is actually commanding us to follow them, because He is not going to give eternal life to people who reject His way of life.
The apostle Paul declared: “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people – none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6: 9, NLT)
We need to stop kidding ourselves. In a very real sense, unless and until we turn to God’s way of life, we’re already dead.
But if we personally reject and overcome the evil to live God’s way, the reward is almost unfathomable.
It is being granted immortal life, born into God’s very own family as children of God, partakers of the divine nature, receiving transformed bodies composed of spirit, sharing Christ’s own glory, sitting down on God’s own throne to reign with Him, ruling the nations with a rod of iron, judging angels and the citizens of this world. All these phrases and ideas are on the pages of your Bible right now.
This physical world in which we live is our proving ground. The time we have breathing in our temporary existence is our testing time, to see if we’ll overcome the ways of the world and follow the teachings of our Parent who is “bringing many children into glory.” (Hebrews 2:10, NLT)
The choice is a simple one, with a glorious outcome if we choose correctly.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NLT)