By Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10
Soon after the tragedy of September 11 had taken place, some believers publicly declared that God was judging America because of her sins. When I heard that, I could just imagine some terrorist somewhere in Afghanistan agreeing with them and thinking that "god" was indeed using him to judge America. Can you see that something is amiss when both believers and terrorists agree on the same thing? Thousands of people died and many families, friends, and loved ones were thrown into grief. How can that be the work of our loving Father? Read the Bible for yourself. It says that God is "not willing that any should perish" (2 Pet. 3:9). Terrorism is the work of the devil. It is not the work of our loving Father.
But Pastor Prince, didn't God use Elijah to call down the fire of judgment on those who opposed him?
Yes, the story of a literal fire judgment that fell upon the enemies of the prophet Elijah is told in 2 Kings 1:1–15, and there are other accounts of God's judgment in the Old Testament, such as upon Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24–25). But God wants us to be able to rightly divide His Word (2 Tim. 2:15). He wants us to be astute in rightly dividing and clearly separating what belongs to the old covenant of law and what belongs to the new covenant of grace. He wants us to be able to distinguish what occurred before the cross from what occurred after the cross and to understand the difference the cross has made. Many believers today are living as if the cross did not make any difference!
Don't just take it from me that God will not call down the fires of judgment on you today. See for yourself what Jesus Himself said about what Elijah did. Do you remember the time when Jesus wanted to enter a certain village in Samaria, but the people there refused to receive Him? When Jesus' disciples saw that the people rejected Jesus, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" Now, how did Jesus respond to them? Did He say, "That's a great idea! You are truly disciples who carry My heart"? No, of course not! Read your Bible. He turned to His disciples and rebuked them firmly, saying, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them" (Luke 9:54–56).
My friend, the Spirit of Jesus in the new covenant of grace is not the spirit of the old covenant of law during Elijah's time. Jesus wants you to have full assurance in your heart today that He did not come to condemn or destroy you. He came to save you (John 3:17)! The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came that you may have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). He wants you to live a life marked by His love, power, and blessings. Where there are broken relationships, they are mended. Where there are bad habits, they are broken. And where there are challenges, you emerge victorious. Hallelujah!