In a cruel irony, the day I post a review of Carson's book on suffering, a man who caused the suffering of millions was found and killed.
This provides comfort and victory, in some ways. God is just. Osama will not go unpunished. Unless he confessed Jesus as Lord before his death, bin Laden is in hell tonight.
But as that comforts our need for justice, does it also keep us awake at night, wondering? As one of my professors so wisely noted just this past week, hell is something we should not wish on anyone. It is a fate so real, so sobering, so horrific, that it should make us weep.
It causes our God sorrow, too. "Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?" (Ezekiel 18:23) While God is wholly just and wholly sovereign, He is also completely good, gracious, and merciful. The sacrifice of His Son on the cross has satisfied His righteous wrath against sin. He has made clear the way to eternal life and grace in Jesus Christ, and longs for all sinners to come to repentance.
But for some reason, unbeknownst to me, not all of them do. With the rejection of Jesus Christ comes the full and just reward for sin -- endless torment forever and ever. Scripture teaches us that God is sovereign even over that. Were it not for His redemption, I would be on a pathway to hell myself, and justly so.
The more I ponder this, the more it is a mystery to me. Perhaps, as I concluded the previous post, the solution in a situation like this is to seek to know and understand our God better. In the meantime, let us rejoice in who He is, in His justice and His offer of redemption, and weep at the depravity of man.
With love from an absolute doll,