Happy Birthday America!

If you know me well (and have followed this blog for some time) you know I have some things to say regarding our role as Christians in America. This year, I will only give a few bullets for us as believers to remember as we celebrate this great day:

  • It is right to celebrate our liberties as they have been given us by our founders. But don’t make your national freedom ultimate in your life. Freedom is a terrible God, but our God gives wonderful freedom.
  • Our citizenship as believers is first and foremost with Jesus and only second with our nation. Thus, our ultimate joy comes from Jesus and His love rather than our nation, which will fail us.
  • Because our citizenship is with Christ, we can worship together with every other believer in the world. This nation is where we live now, but our eternal home will be with Christ and those from across the world.
Let’s remember these great truths as we celebrate today! Also, pray for my brother-in-law as he is signing in with the Air Force today.

For what it’s worth

It has certainly been  a while since anything has come up on this blog. School is (sort of) ending for the year and I will be intentionally carving out some blogging time within the near future, as I have missed it. What I wanted to do with this post is comment on very recent victory by American Troops: the killing of Osama bin Laden.

As I rode home from work this morning I pondered the comments I had heard from some co-workers regarding his death. There has been jubilation and rejoicing in light of this victory, and with good reason- our forces have been searching for him for a long time. But riding home, I couldn’t help but think of Ezekiel 33.11

…I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live…

This turned through my mind and upon returning home, I read this from Denny Burk:

I think Christians are right to contemplate how jubilation (like we see on TV right now) is consistent with Ezekiel 33:11, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live.” It is no surprise that many Christians are asking, “If God is not delighting in the death of the wicked, then how can we?” I think there is confusion on this point because this verse is easily misunderstood. The second part of the verse is key to understanding its meaning. The text is not trying to say that God never delights in the death of the wicked. Rather, the verse means that God prefers for sinners to repent rather than to perish. If they refuse to repent, God delights in His own justice enough to punish them appropriately (e.g., Psalm 1:5-65:4-668:2Isaiah 13:1-22Jeremiah 18:11). For this reason, we have to be willing to praise God for His justice one way or the other (Psalm 139:19-22Proverbs 11:1028:28Revelation 19:1-3). (read the rest here)

As believers, we also need to remember a few things:

  1. All of us are evil and wicked at heart, and we should not seek the death or punishment of others solely on the basis of their injuring us.
  2. God does delight in sinners coming to know him, but (as Burk says) ultimately is glorified and delights in his justice (see the first comment below for a restatement). And,
  3. Christ took the brunt of God’s justice at the cross on behalf of sinners like me,  you, and even bin Laden. Our rescue is not based on our own goodness, but Christ’s rescue by his grace through our faith in him.
In light of these truths, we should indeed mourn the fact that bin Laden rejected Christ’s sacrifice, but also rejoice that God still gets great glory and praise in his justice being done in our world today.
For more in this vein: Christopher Morgan (GC blog) | Michael Wittmer (Don’t stop believing blog)