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The Word on the Week

Osama and Obama

One of the delights of my youth was to see the Saturday matinee Cowboy film. These American imports usually had a poster of the bad guy whose picture appeared under the word “wanted” with the offer of a reward for his capture “dead or alive” to encourage the good guys to go after him. These posters would be nailed to trees in the bad guy’s neighbourhood causing the bad guy to adopt a disguise to conceal his identity. All of this was great fun as we watched the film come to a satisfactory end when the bad guy got his just deserts. Events of this last week when Obama got Osama reminded me of these Saturday matinees! Only this time it was played out on the world stage not the cactus country of the Wild West. The cinema screen has just got a whole lot larger, sinister and the make belief turned into harsh reality. In the excitement of the event there has been a gloating over the efficiency of our killers as opposed to the indiscriminate killing of the suicide bombers. The lust for revenge has sometimes over-ridden the satisfaction of justice, even rough justice, being done. What does the Bible have to say? In this period between Jesus coming and His return we no longer live in a theocracy but in a state of common grace where the administration of justice has been granted to secular states. God’s laws do not apply in many lands and even in nominally Christian countries they have been diluted to match the will of the majority. So we have secular justice now and divine justice later. The former is always imperfect but the latter, since God knows the secrets of the heart, (Romans Ch.2 verse 16) will be perfect. We may take satisfaction that secular justice has been served, but Christians should display a sober restraint. Jesus said; “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. Secular justice curbs evil but does not eliminate it. We leave the final justice to God. At the end of the day, where would we any of us be if Christ had brought in final justice instead of bearing it on behalf of his people? At Calvary, Christ willingly offered himself as the lightning rod for God’s wrath against sin, the good guy becoming the bad guy in our place. The events of 9/11 did not change everything in the way that the events of 33 A.D. did. Nor will the death of Osama bin Laden on 1/5/11 satisfy the final justice that awaits him—and all of us—on the last day. We need to ensure our faith is in “the eternal purpose of God which he accomplished in Christ our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with confidence”. Ephesians Chapter 3 Verses 11/12.