The tragedy in Connecticut struck a national nerve today as children were harmed and families were left scarred in the wake of the murder of innocent victims. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen these kinds of tragedies happen, and it won’t be the last.
The fact, is we live in a sin-stricken world that is in love with itself. The moral decay of our civilization is well-documented– from the change on American’s views on gay marriage to a whole host of other issues. The fact is we are not improving in our world—we are falling more in love with our ideas of what is right and wrong from our own worldview instead of accepting what is right and wrong from God’s Word. Some people think they are above God’s Word, but the fact is they are not above it and will never be. The Word of God reigns supreme over the mind of men, because God is sovereign over mankind even when he thinks that he is supreme over the Creator.
Let me make it clear—even as I write this article, tears are streaming down my face. I am heartbroken tonight for the children, mothers and fathers lost, but I’m hopeful because of the Gospel. While many people are focusing on the “fiscal” cliff in the United States, and every other event that is going on—as a country we are completely missing the point. It is not programs or budgets that will save this country—it is the Gospel.
As a country we have long over-indulged and gloried in ourselves rather than in our Creator who blessed us, and has used this country for the sake of His glory among the nations for the purpose of spreading His Gospel. The sad truth is that in our country many people are more concerned with programs and budgets than with the moral decay of our churches and our country.
Whether it’s atheists trying to abolish God from the national vocabulary, or others advocating anti-Christian ideas of Christianity itself– the greatest need for Christians today living in a post-everything world, where materialism reigns supreme is the Gospel. The Gospel calls us to love others because of Jesus’ great work in the Cross and the resurrection. The Gospel has put a claim on us and that claim is because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ purchased His Redeemed Bride at a high cost—the cost of His own life, which He gave for us whom He calls Beloved. Christians are the Beloved of God—friends of God, reconciled to God at the cost of the Son of God and the Son of Man- Jesus Christ. Rather than being divisive we are to be agents of reconciliation in a world full of broken marriages and broken lives.
What happened in Connecticut demands not less engagement with others, but more– we need to love people because of, and with the Gospel of Jesus. Jesus in His ministry walked alongside of hurting people preaching and showing them His tenderness, care, and concern. In this same way, Christians are called because of and through the Gospel to love others in order to make much of Him. Christians who retreat, and who isolate themselves from the central mission of the Gospel, which is the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of the elect, have failed to understand the depths from which God saved them.
The Gospel not only changes our orientation toward God by giving us eyes to see the beauty and glory of God but it also changes our worldview. Once we were enemies of God unable to love God and yet, because of Christ, He has opened our eyes and adopted us as sons and daughters of God whom He now calls His Beloved. The Gospel sets us ablaze with a passion not for vain glory, but for the glory of God in order to love others for His glory and praise. Furthermore the Gospel gives us a mission to make much of Jesus by proclaiming the acceptable time and season of the Lord through the person and work of Jesus who alone saves sinners, transferring them from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of the Son of God—Jesus Christ.
America may need programs and it may also need to balance the budget, but above all—Americans need revival. American Christians need to repent of being apathetic toward sin and lethargic in the Church’s mission to make disciples of Jesus. While it’s great to talk about what the Gospel is and what the implications of the Gospel are, it’s also important to note that this is not enough! Since the Gospel has called us and transformed us, it also calls us to make much of Jesus in proclaiming Him and witnessing for His glory
Where the Gospel is concerned, American Christians are apathetic and lethargic. We want to talk about what we are going to do, but we don’t want to do what we’ve clearly been instructed to do, which is to make much of Jesus and spread His fame. Jesus didn’t give us the great suggestion—He commanded us not once but five times to go and make disciples for His glory! Since the Great Commission isn’t a suggestion but a command from God, what excuse do we have?
The excuse often used by Christians is that they don’t have time. You don’t have time to make much of Jesus and share His love with others? This isn’t the guilt trip parade here, I’m just as guilty as the next person of not making much of Jesus, but we have a clear definitive Word from God in the Gospel that has transformed our hearts and renewed our minds through the Word by His Spirit in order for us to go out and make much of Him. The time for apathy is over, but the time for taking hold of the Gospel and carrying it forward to the nations is now!
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of an apathetic, dry, and boring Christianity, and I say no more– and away with it! I pray God would raise up warriors for His glory who are unashamed of the Gospel! I pray God will raise up a generation who is more in love with the Word of God and the testimonies of Jesus than they are with the world. Most of all I pray that the North American Church will genuinely and earnestly repent for being apathetic, not only about the mission of Jesus, but about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I’m writing this article not just because of what happened in Connecticut, but because we as Christians have been given the greatest message the world has ever heard in the Gospel. The Gospel calls us to love one another, even to love our enemies and to pray for them and share the Truth of the Gospel with them. The Gospel transforms us from head to toe and inside-out by giving us eyes to see and ears to hear what God has to say from His Word! Since the Gospel is the foundation of our worldview– may we then, carry it forward in the power of God to the glory of God.
The Gospel changes everything from how we live to how we interact with others, and since it does all of this, I pray sincerely that we will pray for those affected by what happened in Connecticut and in other similar situations. While we are praying, may we (as Christians) pray also for our churches throughout this country and for those who lead them, that God would be glorified in and through the preaching of His Word in His Church.
Join me in praying for God to bring revival to His Church. Finally, pray that God will use this situation in Connecticut in whatever way He chooses for His name, and glory, and that through it the testimony of His name might be made great among the nations for the spread of His fame.
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.