Sunday, September 15, 2013

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Why do bad things happen to good people, and what will eventually happen to the bad people?

Someone very dear to me sent me a text a couple of months ago and asked me to send scriptures on this question. Little did I know that this seemingly simple request would lead to me conducting some serious Bible study, even late into the night and early into the morning hours. Over the course of at least a week, up as late as 1AM with work just a few hours away, and with much prayer to the Lord for direction and words, I believe the Holy Spirit led me to write this essay in response.

To begin to answer this question, it’s necessary to state what the Bible says about “good” people. Here are scriptures that tell us clearly that there are no “good” people, and contrary to what many people believe, we cannot work our way into heaven based on the good deeds we do. Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 3:3, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (Read John 3:1-21 for full context.)

“As it is written, There is none righteous (right standing with God), no, not one:” (Romans 3:10)

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; v.24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: v.25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (sacrifice of atonement) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” (Romans 3:23-25)

“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

“For by grace (God’s unmerited favor, loving us even though we don’t deserve it) are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8)

God sent His only begotten son (John 3:16) to die for our sins. Those who have accepted Christ are justified by faith (Romans 5:1). It is up to each person, given free will by God, to decide whether to accept Christ. God does not force Himself on anyone. Those who reject Christ reject the salvation that He offers through the Blood that He shed on the cross, and have no part in eternal life with Jesus.

Based on the above, if a person is not in Christ, that person has no promise of God’s protection in bad or difficult times. Personal choices and decisions to live a life outside of Christ can open that person up – make that person vulnerable – to attacks of the enemy (the adversary, Satan, the devil). God, through Jesus Christ, offers protection, guidance, direction.

Why do bad things happen to followers of Christ?

God allows trials, or “bad things” to happen to His children in order to help develop character in us (believers). He doesn't promise that once we give our lives to Him that everything will be trouble-free. He does promise, however, that He will be with us during those times of trial and tribulation. God says in Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. Read the book of Job in its entirety to see how Job dealt with the most severe trials imaginable, yet he still praised and reverenced God. As a result of his faith and trust in God, God blessed him with even more and better than Job had initially.

Another reason that God allows trials in our lives is for the purpose of working patience in us. He tells us in James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers [different] temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect [complete] work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Romans 5:3-4 tells us that we are to “glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; v.4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope.” The Amplified version of this scripture offers a clearer translation:

v3 “Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.

v4 And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.”

The trials and tribulations of our lives can be compared to precious jewels, in order to help with understanding what pressure does. Take the diamond, for example. Diamonds start out as carbon, deep within the earth’s core. The carbon is heated (2,000-2,700 degrees Fahrenheit), put under intense pressure then quickly brought to the earth’s surface where it cools. Once mined, cut and polished, it is considered “precious”, and worth is attributed to it.

What will eventually happen to all the bad people?

Since the Bible tells us that there are no “good” people, I won’t use the term “bad” people, but rather “sinners”. The Bible tells us clearly that all sinners will suffer spiritual death, which is defined as “eternal separation from God” and will be condemned to hell. Hell is referred to as eternal fire, outer darkness, a place of weeping and torment, lake of fire, the second death and unquenchable fire. It is a place of complete, unending separation from God. (

Here are just a few of the many scriptures, both Old and New Testament, for reference:

Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Matthew 25:46
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
Matthew 10:28
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
2 Peter 2:1-9
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:”
Isaiah 66:24
And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
Jude 7
 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”
Matthew 13:41-42
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
Revelation 20:15
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Psalm 9:17
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”

Prayer of Salvation

God loves us--no matter who we are, no matter what our past. God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son for us. The Bible tells us that “…whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:). Jesus laid down His life and rose again so that we could spend eternity with Him in heaven and experience His absolute best on earth. If there is someone you know who would like to receive Jesus into his or her life, have them pray the following prayer out loud and mean it wholeheartedly:
Heavenly Father, I come to You admitting that I am a sinner. Right now, I choose to turn away from sin, and I ask You to cleanse me of all unrighteousness. I believe that Your Son, Jesus, died on the cross to take away my sins. I also believe that He rose again from the dead so that I might be forgiven of my sins and made righteous* through faith in Him. I call upon the name of Jesus Christ to be the Savior and Lord of my life. Jesus, I choose to follow You and ask that You fill me with the power of Your Holy Spirit. I declare that right now I am a child of God. I am free from sin and full of the righteousness of God. I am saved in Jesus’ name. Amen.