Monday, May 02, 2011

On the day I had the privilege of baptizing 30 Cambodians (along with 3 other Khmer Pastors), two mothers brought their sons to me to 'dunk.' One loved it, the other was frightened. Neither understood baptism, so it was more of a time of joyful interaction in the Mekong River! Two of the people I baptized converted from Islam!!! His timing is never late!

Much joy is being celebrated in our country over the elimination of a terrorist leader.

I am not unsympathetic. A part of me wants to celebrate on behalf of those who lost loved ones at the design of this mans' hand.

I find myself necessarily tempering any enthusiasm through the lens of Scripture.

For example, Ezekiel 33:11 says,

"As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live."

It seems incomprehensible to us that such a man would ever turn his heart towards our Savior. In our flesh, and through the emotion we would attribute to 'righteous anger,' the celebration of his death seems appropriate. After all, it has taken nearly 10 years to hunt him down. This seems an eternity to those who have lost.

I am reminded however, that His word says, "Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2Pet 3:8-9

We know that not everyone will come to repentance. We know many have already died apart from a Salvation experience. If "by their fruit you will recognize them," (Mtw 7:16) then can't we assume this man's heart to be blacker than night? Surely he would never come to a saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thus, it would be appropriate to put him down for good, right? His deeds are hideous!

Then why would the Lord convey, "vengeance is mine" (Rom 12:19-20) and encourage us not to take revenge?

Governments will make decisions that may or may not be in accordance with Scripture. We are subject to our rulers and authorities. According to Mtw 28:18, all authority has been given to our Savior. Romans 13:1 teaches us that "there is no authority except that which God has established."

I am not suggesting we rebel against our government, rather that we extend our Savior's grace and love to those we would rather reject. In doing so, we never know whose life might be changed.

Did he deserve death? Yes! But so do we, and yet we received His grace!

We cannot know or choose who will respond to our Savior. Ours is to be faithful and obedient in bringing them truth and allowing the Holy Spirit to do his thing.

Let us temper our joyfulness over such things with His Word. If we respond as Jesus would, others will take note.



At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, Brent.


At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that!


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