As I'm sitting and reading my devotions for the day (and getting caught up from last week), I'm reading from this one book that I received as a gift last Christmas. It's a small devotional book called Grace for the Moment, containing a daily excerpt from the writings of Max Lucado.
I have mixed feelings about Lucado. There are times that his writings truly speak to and inspire me. There are other times that they just leave me shaking my head in wonder. He is one of the most shallow authors on the Christian scene, yet his writings are, at times, very inspirational. Just don't ever look for them to be deep. I think he does this on purpose, too.
Anyway...the reading for May 29 (yesterday) really struck me badly. It's called "Love Hates Evil," and is an excerpt from When Christ Comes. Here is a brief quote:
"If there is no punishment of sin, heaven is apathetic toward the rapists and pillagers and mass murderers of society. If there is no hell, God is blind toward the victims and has turned his back on those who pray for relief."
I have some serious issues with these statements. Where is allowance for the salvation of said rapists, pillagers and murderers? I don't see any Biblical evidence that there is no possibility for their redemption. Allegedly, Ted Bundy, serial killer, accepted Christ before he was executed. It's in his own words in an interview with James Dobson (although another source stated that he had converted to Mormonism--that's a subject for a different day) the day before he was executed.
If a man like Ted Bundy was able to receive the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, where is the accuracy of Lucado's statements? Is God unjust by extending his grace to a mass murderer? By no means, I cry! God's grace is extended to all who will receive it. I believe with all my heart that there are no degrees of sin with God. Man has devised a system of degrees (and rightfully so, I believe, for taking a life is almost infinitely worse than, say, speeding or running a red light). But with God, sin is sin. We are born sinners. No one is without it. Whatever that first sin was doomed us. And I doubt very seriously that anyone's first sin was rape, pillage or mass murder.
The point is that God is just in receiving whoever responds to his grace. He is certainly not deaf to the pleas of the victims, but if the murderer or rapist of someone's loved one eventually receives the grace of God through Jesus Christ, that victim (especially if they are believers, themselves) will have to accept that as God's justice. A victim who is truly a follower of Christ must rejoice along with the angels that a man like Ted Bundy received the salvation of Christ.
These are difficult words, but it is truth. Hell does exist, no doubt. And it does exist for "rapists, pillagers and mass murderers." It also exists for liars and cheaters and adulterers. But it also exists for people whom the world might call "good." Because it exists for people who ultimately reject the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
Stupid country lyric for today: "She thinks my tractor's sexy."
Still reading: The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton
Listening to: Nothing at the moment but soon to be "Turn, Turn, Turn" by the Byrds