The Twin Towers
NEW YORK, September 11, 2001-- Terrorists demolished the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Thousands of lives were taken in this and related attacks at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. Hundreds of safety personnel and common citizens risked and gave their lives to rescue others. Millions of Americans joined in prayer for the injured and families of the victims.
Such a disaster not only touches our hearts, it also causes us to ask a lot of questions, such as, "Where was God in all this and why did He allow it to happen?" There are no simple answers to these questions, yet the Bible does give some insights. In Jesus' day people were asking questions about a disaster of much smaller magnitude: Eighteen people were killed when a tower in Siloam fell on them. Some apparently were wondering if this happened because the people were guilty of some terrible sin. Here is how Jesus answered their questions: "Think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye REPENT, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:4,5). He was really saying to them, "THIS SHOULD BE A WAKE UP CALL!"
I believe God has been saying for a long time, "WAKE UP, AMERICA! You are pushing Me aside and forgetting who I am. You are representing Me as a permissive God who is tolerant of evil. You 'call evil good, and good evil'" (Isaiah 5:20). If this terrible tragedy causes us to stop and hear His voice, then at least some good can come from it.
It is true that today the Lord is "longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to REPENTANCE" (2 Peter 3:9). But the book of Revelation tells us that the day of God's patience will come to an end. In those days what happened to the twin towers will seem like child's play. For example, it mentions an event during which one third of all people will be "killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone.... And the rest ... REPENTED not" (Revelation 9:18-21).
We have quoted three verses that speak of repentance. What is repentance? Literally, this word means "a change of mind." We need to give up our own generous and tolerant thoughts about ourselves and begin agreeing with God's thoughts about us. Here are some of those thoughts:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9).
"There is none righteous, no, not one.... There is none that seeketh after God.... There is none that doeth good, no, not one.... All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:10-12,23).
Do you agree with God that you deserve His eternal judgment because of your sins? That is a bitter and humbling pill to swallow, but unless you are willing to repent, that is, agree with God as to His bad news about you, you will not be able to benefit from His good news for you.
Here is the good news of the Bible: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). "Christ died for our sins ... was buried, and ... rose again the third day" (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). "By grace are ye saved through faith ... it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9). Yes, the Creator of the universe (John 1:3) came down from heaven to suffer, bleed, and die on the cross for your sins and mine.
You may be one who is depending on your good character, good deeds, or religion for your eternal salvation. These things are all good in our eyes, but you will search the Scriptures in vain for evidence that they will get you into heaven. The apostle Paul preached "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).
You may be one who says, "I know I'm a sinner, but hey, nobody's perfect!" You're exactly right! That is why God says to us all, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).
Will you repent, that is, accept God's estimation that you are perishing and need to be saved? Will you receive God's provision of a Saviour who suffered so much on the cross that He might rescue you from eternal judgment? Will you place your trust in the Saviour NOW, before God's wrath and judgment fall on you?
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
--Paul L. Canner