"Turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness."
That quote is an allusion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the cry of the true Church all over this earth to every person doing violence every day, in every way, against God and against His Kingdom. The message spoken on that porch goes out to every "spiritual terrorist" out there,
Confess your sins to God. Repent of them. Renounce them. Seek God's forgiveness and His pardon. Turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness.
The Bible says the following, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
That verse spoken out loud in 13 countries will get me killed. In 53 other countries it is illegal to preach it. It is restricted in 40 others. If I go into those nations with a Bible and proclaim that message as the only truth that man can put his complete trust in, I am a "terrorist." However, I am now a "terrorist" against the kingdom of darkness where deception blinds people to the grace and mercy of God. Darkness is a kingdom using the weapon of deception to blind people to their sin and their need for salvation. The power of the gospel destroys the kingdom of darkness and saves souls back to God. The gospel brings light into the darkness. It reveals hidden things giving blind eyes sight. It brings truth into error. It radically changes perspectives.
In Watertown Massachusetts, when the police began a house to house search looking for the wounded terrorist, I was reminded of the words of Jesus found in the Book of Revelation. In chapter three, Christ says the following,
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
He is knocking on doors all over this earth seeking spiritual terrorists and waits for the enemy inside to open the door to Him. Christ is at the door of the heart looking to save the spiritual terrorist but not to kill him or take him by force. Every single Christian on this earth was once a spiritual terrorist that had to open the door to Christ, voluntarily. They had to confess their sins, to abandon their terrorist acts and their treason against God's government and become a son or a daughter of God. A once, violent enemy, confesses to God and desires to learn about life and love and reject death and terrorist acts against His government. We learn to walk in a new way living the message that God has left us in the Bible. God helps us every single step of the way.
I prayed for that young man, a murdering terrorist, a "loser", (according to his Uncle) who is deceived by the kingdom of darkness. I prayed that he would have the opportunity to confess the evil that he did in Boston and ask for mercy. I prayed that Christ would spare his life so that he might repent of the evil in his heart and seek God's forgiveness. That he might cry out to God and have his soul saved from hell.
Is that outrageous? Yes.
Is that the outrageous hope of the gospel? Yes.
Does he deserve it? No.
Do I? No.
The Gospel is an offer from God. It is a divine exchange through mercy, from grace and love and pardon. It cannot be paid back but only lived out in humility and the poverty of need. We become poor in ourselves to be rich in Christ. We are nothing. He is everything.
The terrorist in Boston doesn't get a pass for what he did if he cries out to Christ for mercy, but he receives pardon from an eternal hell and a new life. He killed and maimed people for a reason that seemed right in his own mind, and that has consequences, like all sins have consequences. They don't put people in prison for sleeping with girlfriends and the earthly consequences may only be heartbreak, but eternally speaking, it will put you in hell. The urgency of the church is to get the message out to a world that has lost that perspective; sin will destroy you and only Christ can redeem you.
That perspective is the only high ground against the flood of evil rising all over this world.
Nothing we have or own can save our souls. One can own bankers, lawmakers, politicians, and expand their power globally but that will not deliver one's soul. Profits in the billions and a wage that one makes that is 500 to 1000 times the amount of the workers will not save one's soul. That earthly wealth is nothing but rags rotting in a suitcase. We can only be delivered from the system of darkness and deception by God's truth, mercy and justice. God's justice. We cannot get out of it on our own. There is no getting off of system's grid by our own means. We need the Gospel. However, mankind has freewill. Christ doesn't kick doors down on anyone. His rescue is an invitation from mercy.
We voluntarily turn ourselves in to Him.
We admit and confess our actions. We ask for God's pardon. We come to God with blood on our hands and violence in our hearts. We see our condition and it's horrific conclusion. We ask God for a new life, a new start, a new way. We turn ourselves over to God. The turning is both immediate and progressive. We learn a new life day after day, decision after decision; determination and resolution under the direction of God. Self begins to die and we begin to actively kill it off.
How can God possibly offer mercy for the terrorist, an actual or spiritual one? How? His Son died on the Cross as a terrorist. Although Christ was the complete and perfect and an actual, historical, physical representation of God on our earth and in our history....He became sin. Being sin He became us. He died as sin in a brutal death so that the punishment for every terrorist was upon Him, taking away the eternal punishment of death for every terrorist opposed to God, making them sons and daughters instead.
To those who would turn to Him. He that bore our sin would become our redemption.
Christ died for that killer in Boston.
Christ died for me.
Christ died for you.
"Turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness."
My writing dropped off with this blog as I went through six months of affliction. My desire to grow and overcome what I allowed myself to be was challenged. I tore my knee to shreds and needed surgery and then rehabilitation. My wife and son survived a horrific car crash on a sunny Friday morning with only two scratches. A dear man and family member needed great care as his body began to fail from pancreatic cancer. I was challenged to overcome lies that limited me and prevented me my whole life. There was success but great pain and heartache in the struggles to those successes. I learned. I grew. I am thankful. I also know how much strength and power I need to live in a world that I withdrew from years ago, and how little I have in my heart to do so.
I'll write about these things soon. Thanks for reading.