Is anyone else in disbelief, shock and sadness at the persecution and suffering of those being afflicted by terrorists at the moment?
My heart actually aches. It grieves with those that have fallen at the hands of the wicked. It hurts alongside those that are mourning because of the imprisonment, torture and death of their loved ones.
– Weeping children at the loss of their families.
– Children being trained as terrorists.
– Grieving women at the capture and killing of their husbands, brothers, fathers, children.
– Women who have poured acid on other women’s faces for not wearing the full hijab.
Men, women and children caught up and entangled in a life filled with acts of terror, fear and evil. Will this brutality continue? It will continue – perhaps not with the same terrorism as we know it now, but it will continue, and it will get worse. We are warned about terrible times in the last days before Christ’s return in the bible (2 Timothy 3:1-5):
‘But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive,disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.’
Jesus Himself warns His disciples about the signs of the end of the age (Matthew 24:3-14; Luke 21:10-19):
‘As [Jesus] sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’
Redemption and Retribution: There is Hope & we have a choice…
For Christians who have accepted the saving grace of Jesus which has restored their relationship to God, there is much to look forward to – namely Christ’s glorious return and an eternity with the Lord. Nonetheless, with the redemption that Christ has provided for all who believe in Him, there is also a retribution for those that reject Christ’s love for them.
Sound unfair or unjust? Retribution sounds ugly. However, it is necessary. Just like Jesus dying on the cross for our sins to redeem us. A sinless sacrifice; His blood has washed away our sins and made us clean!
I think D.A. Carson’s explanation of God’s retribution in his book ‘A Call to Spiritual Reformation’ explains it well:
‘Where evil occurs, it must be paid back, or God Himself is affronted. If God forever overlooks evil, ostensibly on the ground that He is loving and forbearing, is He not also betraying the fact that He is pathetically unconcerned about injustice?’
‘[God’s] holiness demands retribution; His love sends His own Son to absorb that retribution on behalf of others.’
‘If God is God, there must still be retribution, or the entire moral order collapses. If we refuse to acknowledge that we deserve retribution, refuse to accept forgiveness available because, out of God’s indescribable love, Jesus suffered retribution in order to reconcile sinners like us to God, then we must face that retribution ourselves.’
Thus, on reading this, we can see that Jesus has paid the price for us. He has faced the retribution we all deserve because of our sinfulness, so that we do not have to face that retribution from God. Jesus has reconciled us to the Lord God because of his death on the cross. What’s more, He rose again and death has been defeated. There is an end for evil. The days of the wicked are numbered. God does not desire anyone to perish, but to repent and to receive the forgiveness freely given to all. As it says in 2 Peter 3:9: ‘The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.’ Therefore, be confident that the Lord wants all people to come to a knowledge of the truth and desires no one to face the direct retribution of God, as Jesus has already paid it all!
Helpful Bible verses during this time of uncertainty with all the atrocities taking place across the world right now:
Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. (Proverbs 24:19-20)
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. (Psalm 5:4)
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7)
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Linking up with Kelly Balarie and friends at Purposeful Faith for their #RaRalinkup 🙂