Suffering: God’s Power over Evil

Preston Sprinkle

Christians everywhere have debated whether violence is ever justified. Some make the case that it’s never okay to use violence, while others say violence is necessary as a last resort to stop evil. For the most part, both sides agree that the general rhythm of Christianity should be one of nonviolence. We love our neighbors and enemies alike, and we give our left cheeks to the one who strikes us on our right cheek. That’s the general posture of the Christian faith, and most Bible believing Christians agree with this. 

Even though some Christians will argue that violence allowed in certain circumstances, a plain reading of the Bible shows that true evil can never be conquered by human acts of violence. Take terrorism, for example. We could nuke ISIS off the face of the earth, but this doesn’t mean that we have destroyed the devil—the true face of evil. Satan could use the façade of world peace to cover the eyes of those seeking God and he laughs in the face of nuclear weapons. You can’t fight against—let alone, destroy—a non-flesh-and-blood enemy by using flesh-and-blood weapons. It’s like spraying a forest fire with a squirt gun filled with gasoline. It may seem like you’re trying to stop the destruction. But in reality, you’re only perpetuating it. 

There may be a place to use violence as a last resort. Or they may not be. Christians will continue to debate the role of violence in the Christian faith. But the one thing is clear: the ultimate root of all evil was defeated through the cross of Jesus Christ, the one who suffered at the hands of violence, rather than destroying his enemy with the sword. 

There is power in suffering. When early Christians were being persecuted by Rome, the apostle John told them to hold strong. Keep the faith. Maintain your allegiance to Jesus. Don’t give into Rome. After all, their suffering was an unforeseen means of defeating evil, even if it seemed that they had lost. The apostle John says that “they” (the first-century Christian martyrs) “have conquered him” (the devil, the true source and empowerment of all evil) “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” 

They have conquered the devil by dying. In God’s kingdom, suffering contains unforeseen power to defeat evil, even if it looks like evil is defeating you.

“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death” (Rev 12:11) 

I originally wrote this blog as a devotional for Sword of the Spirit Ministries. Check out their website for some great resources! 

  • Share this story:

RELATED BLOGS

podcast-image
The Gospel and the Redistribution of Wealth

The apostle Paul spent more time in his letters talking about the redistribution of wealth than he did on justification...

Read Story
podcast-image
Where it all Began

By Chris Sprinkle Hey Friends,   I still remember landing in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 2003 for Preston to start his...

Read Story
podcast-image
What Does it Mean to “Become More Like Jesus?”

I’m one of those guys who has an extra sensitive Christian cliché antenna. Some call it a BS meter. It...

Read Story
podcast-image
Dive Bar Church

I’ve come to believe that theology is best worked out in the context of real life. The city, the marketplace,...

Read Story
podcast-image
Meditate

The following post is written by Dr. Joey Dodson As a father of five, I rejoiced every time one of my...

Read Story
podcast-image
What Is True Friendship?

The following post is written by my friend Nick Roen. (He really is a friend, not just a fishing buddy...)  The...

Read Story
podcast-image
When Santa Claus Straight Knocked Out Arius

I’m not sure how it happened, but the modern picture of slightly inebriated jolly old St. Nick, with rosy red...

Read Story
podcast-image
Jesus’s Upside Down Kingdom

The Prince of Peace was born into a world drowning in violence. The years between the Old and New Testaments...

Read Story
podcast-image
Why I Stopped Pledging Allegiance

For most of my Christian life, I never questioned it. Even in the last 5 years, I did it without...

Read Story
podcast-image
Downward Glory

When Jesus was born, Caesar Augustus had recently ushered in a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity that would make...

Read Story

SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER