Monday, May 9, 2011

A Greater Love

Today's passage:  Isaiah 55/John 15:13
  When I read verses 7-9 about God showing mercy and forgiveness to the wicked, about how His thoughts are not like our thoughts, that they are higher than ours, I think of recent international events.  A week ago last night, public enemy number one was brought to justice by our skilled men and women in military special forces.  He hid in plain sight for a number of years in a country we thought was our ally.  This man spit in the face of God.  His mission in life was to annihilate Christians, or the infidel, as he called us.  He declared jihad on our country because we stood for Christian principles.  And yet, if this coward had accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, he would have been forgiven.  He would have a home in heaven.  In my thinking, that seems ludicrous.  It is clear that my thoughts are not God's thoughts. 
Ancient Babylon - View of Ancient Babylon

     As my husband and I discussed the chain of events that brought this terrorist to his demise, something occurred to me.  Details are still sketchy, but it sounds as if this man's wife was offered up as his shield.  He shoved his wife forward to take his place.  That really started me thinking.  In many of the cultic mass suicides that have taken place (Waco, Guyana, Heaven's Gate) the leader always asked the people to give up their lives.  In radical Islam, the followers are asked to give their lives for the cause, and when they do, they will find great reward in the next life.  We know one of the greatest differences between Christianity and the other world religions is that our Savior is living.  But the other difference is that our Savior voluntarily gave up His life.  In many other beliefs, the leader says, "You die for me."  Christ said, "No, I'll die for you."
   It seems unlikely that the ringleader of this radical terrorist group would have ever accepted Christ as His Savior.  Of course, the early Christians thought the same thing of Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul the Apostle.  A big difference between bin Laden and Paul, is that at least Paul was trusting in the Judeo roots of Christianity.  He studied the Scriptures that pointed to Christ as Messiah.  Islam is founded on another book completely.  It contradicts the Bible at many points.  I do not rejoice in the fact that the mastermind behind one of the greatest tragedies ever to occur on American soil is in hell.  I do rejoice that he will no longer be able to perpetrate crimes against us, although many others will follow in his footsteps.  I do not rejoice that this man is facing eternal judgement instead of eternal peace, but I do rejoice that he will bow the knee and will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of lords.  Ultimately, he asked others to give their lives for his cause.  He was reluctant to do so himself.  Early Christians gave their lives for the Gospel to be spread, not because they were asked to, but because Christ set the example by giving His life first.
     "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die:  yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:7-8

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