How to really get tough on crime

by Scott Huckaby

We have seen a lot of get-tough-on-crime talk from politicians lately. The only solutions that have been offered though treat the symptoms of crime and not the cause. People are always thinking that if enough time, money and effort is put into fixing a problem they can be successful. But if an objective is contrary to God's will, it is doomed to failure.

Some of our political leaders have begun to scratch the surface of the root cause of crime and speak of moral values. This is encouraging but these leaders need to be more specific, there are both righteous moral standards and teachings about morality that miss the mark. The danger here is in secularizing morality. There is a lot of "new age" teaching today that right and wrong is what feels right and wrong for you. This is subtle deception, "having a form of godliness but denying its power" (2 Timothy 3:5).

For Christians indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a feeling can certainly indicate right or wrong but feelings do not stand alone. They should be tested against God's Word. A feeling may not be from the Holy Spirit, it may be an effect of our own sin nature or even from the devil. "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God," (1 John 4:1).

One of the problems politicians face in today's world is that they have to make statements that appeal to the broadest possible audience. If an appeal to return to moral standards means that values are relative, they are dead wrong. Jesus Christ said, "small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it," and, "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved." (Matthew 7:14 and John 10:9 respectively)

True Christians have been accused of being too narrow-minded with regard to salvation. What about other religions, don't they just hold a different view of the same God? They don't if they deny what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. Our salvation is a gift from God that we can never repay, all we can do is recognize this gift and commit ourselves to the giver, Jesus Christ. "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)

Outside of true Christianity, all other religions hold that salvation is through some works we must do ourselves. There is sometimes a very subtle but important difference here. If we can have salvation through our own efforts, we are denying God's part in it and saying we can save ourselves. This is clearly not the case presented throughout God's Word. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

It is time we recognize that the growth of violence in our world is a symptom of spiritual decay and turn to Jesus Christ as the solution. The Lord is sending us a wake-up call that if you have not yet answered, there will come a time when it is too late. "As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matthew 24:37)