The Board of RZIM yesterday released an intermediate statement on allegations concerning its late founder, Ravi Zacharias. A full report will be issued in due time. For now, an external investigation affirms that Zacharias indeed was involved with sexual misconduct and had been for quite some time.
This is tough. Ravi was a voice of reason in a world gone mad in hatred against its Creator. Certainly, this discredits his witness in the minds of those who don’t hear the gospel. It even discredits it with those who were enriched by his teaching.
To me, it serves as a grim reminder the true nature of sin: it always destroys. My primary sin, alcohol, nearly killed me twice. While I haven’t had a drop since June 13, 2007, I know that even one bump now would be playing with fire in a room soaked with gasoline. God had mercy and completely removed my desire for alcohol. If I go back, I have no guarantee that he will do the same. He very well may let the tentacles of my sin completely consume me.
Proverbs 26:11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit
is a fool who repeats his folly.
1 Corinthians 5:5 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
1 Timothy 1:19-20 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Certainly, God will allow believers to be destroyed by their sin. I’ve witnessed it three times in the last few years. All were men who went back to the booze or drugs and died because of it. Were they truly believers? Yes, I would say so, yet their sin still destroyed them.
The same is true, it would seem, with Ravi Zacharias. I certainly don’t know this for a fact, but my guess is that once he succumbed to his sin, he couldn’t stop. I’ll bet he pleaded with God to remove that thorn from his side but found no relief. Did he enjoy his sin? My guess is he hated every minute of it.
What if God was intentional on all this? What if God, who clearly has power to stop sin, decided instead to let Ravi be destroyed by it? What if God, who is all-knowing, knew full well that Ravi’s tarnished witness will be pointed to as yet one more example of two-faced preachers by a world who hates him? Could any good come of that?
God is sovereign in all that he does. If he decides to allow Ravi’s sin to be out of control and fully exposed to an accusing world, then that is good. How so? First, that sin is never ignored by God. That’s good. Second, God will use this to his benefit. How so? I don’t know, but God will. He always does.
Here’s something to consider. Did Ravi actually tarnish the reputation of the church? Only if it is possible for a human to tarnish Jesus. What Satan and the world thinks doesn’t matter. What matters is that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice who was crushed by the Father for the payment of ALL the sin for those whom he gave to his Son. These are the body of Christ, his bride, the church.
6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
This, ultimately, is our reputation. Yes, we are sinners, but we are also clothed with fine linen, bright and pure! Praise be to God!
But maybe that’s not enough to convince you. Try this passage and see if it fits:
Romans 8:28-30 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Ravi is glorified right now in heaven, not because of what he did but because of what Jesus did. Folks, Jesus died for all our sins, not just those we committed before our salvation. He died for them all. He had to because none of us are perfect this side of heaven. Yes, we may not be the people we once were, but we still deliberately sin. Perhaps we don’t want to sin as was likely with Ravi; but at some point, we make a deliberate decision. That decision may ultimately kill our body.
Now, what purpose could Ravi’s sin be used for the glory of God? Well, one may be to serve as a warning example to the church regarding our sexual sin. It is a problem that is massive in scale. It’s not just men and pornography. It’s also not just sexual sin. It’s all our sin.
What if God was willing to crush the reputation of a titan of the faith to serve as an example and warning to us all to wake up and look at our behavior? What if it is a call to repent and change our ways? Yes, we one day will be attending the wedding feast of the Lamb, but we are not there yet. On this side of heaven, we are smack in the middle of a process called sanctification. We are being transformed from one form of glory to another. We have been freed from God’s wrath, but we have yet to shed the shackles of sin.
I’ll bet Ravi’s secret sin ate him up alive. What shame he must have felt as the evil one accused him day and night in his thoughts and dreams. But, now, Ravi is in heaven where he truly knows that Romans 8:1 is true, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
The question remains. What are YOU going to do with this?
Father, I pray that this sinks deep into the lives of the believers who read it. I pray that they seek your face and repent of their sin. I pray that you reveal in me that what you wish to change. Father, if it be your will to crush me, like Ravi, so be it to your glory. I ask that I may be spared that. I desire instead to turn from my sin. In that, I will need you. On my own, I am weak. I am dust. Without you, I can do nothing. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers