Expendables 2 – Action Movies and the Glory of God

Posted: August 17, 2012 by Josh Kwasny in Action
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Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Norris…and Schwarzenegger too? Wow – what a list of action heroes! Toss in Jean Claude Van Damme as the bad guy and you got yourself an epic action flick! I know that some of you just rolled your eyes. The over-the-top star-studded cast may be too much to handle…but it…will…be…awesome! Don’t deny it. You know you will at least watch it when it is available on Netflix.

Yesterday I asked why it is that many of us enjoy violent action movies. Is it merely a reflection of our depravity or could there be something else?

Although a complete answer to this difficult question eludes a finite mind, I do believe that there may be at least one God-designed reason for what seems to be an innate desire to see the bad guy get blown up.

I want to state clearly that I do believe in the sanctity of human life and that people are not “expendable” as the film suggests. All people are created in the image of God. I think the Bible is pretty clear on that – beginning in Genesis 1. The focus of this brief post is not to evaluate and pontificate on the dangers of violent action movies. Rather, I wish to simply offer something to think about.

Maybe we love action films because we were designed to love them. Think for a moment with me. Yes, I know that too much of this genre can desensitize us to the tragedy of death and destruction – real results of sin. I know that violence is often glorified and gratuitous in the film industry. This is all true. I am not suggesting a steady diet of violent action movies. I would like to suggest, however, that these films may not be pure evil. In fact, they may actually have the potential to point us to the glory of God.

“How is that possible,” you ask? One word…Justice. We love to see the good guy get the bad guy, because God is a God of justice. Yes, he is a God of mercy too! (Praise God that He is merciful to bad guys like me!) But remember that mercy doesn’t nullify justice. God is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26). According to the Scriptures, not everyone will be justified. Notice who is justified in this verse. “The one who has faith in Jesus.”

Although it is not sexy to say it – the truth is that everyone who does not have faith in Jesus will experience God’s just judgement. Consider this true, but unpopular verse.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18).

This is difficult to hear, but it is true just the same…and I think that our love of action hero movies illustrates that we innately know this to be true.

When we watch Chuck Norris round kick the bad guy…we rejoice. Why? Because we are witnessing a picture of righteous judgment and we want justice – we want things set right. Now, don’t get carried away. I know that some action movies are based upon revenge, but many exist to demonstrate “good over evil” or “the vindication of the poor and oppressed.” The truth is, there is penalty for the wicked. There is judgment for those who choose evil and refuse godliness.

We long to see the good guys defeat the bad guys because we long for the end of sin and evil. We long for the day when Satan is no longer allowed to devour, when wars cease, when the effects of sin are eradicated, and when peace and righteousness prevail. That day is coming. Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming will usher in that day…but remember, it will be a bloody day. Revelation 19 describes it like this…

[11] Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. [12] His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. [13] He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. [14] And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. [15] From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. [16] On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

How many of you have that picture of Jesus hanging over your fireplace mantle?

Sounds a bit like an action movie to me.

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