As a preface: I had started this post on Friday. I halted it for a couple of reasons. I won't go into all of them, although the most important one I will. I believe of cycle of 24 hour news, with all the latest information available immediately on the internet is wonderful for gossip, and absolutely terrible for meaningful reflection on anything, but most especially tragedy. I woul venture to guess that most of you reading this felt shock, horror, outrage, or some other emotion of a particularily violent force when you turned on your TV/computer/radio Friday morning. I would also think it safe to assme that as coverage has slowly waned, so has emotion. To some extent this cannot be helped, things that are fresh in our minds are always going to be what bring forth the deepest emotions and reactions. But I fear the we are so overwhelmed with information that when something truly of weight like this happens, we are quick to forget, turn the page, and go do something different. And so I delayed my posting this.
As I eluded to Friday in a Tweet, the news of the shootings in Colorado has weighed heavy on my mind. How do such tragedies happen? How could God, if He is truly loving and truly sovereign, allow such things? These are serious questions, for which trite answers will not suffice. And I will not attempt to answer them in this short post.
But as I consider these questions myself, and look to Scripture for the answers, here are a few things that comfort me.
1)The first place I think of is Hebrews 4. The writer there tells us that in Jesus we have a High Priest before the Father who is sympathetic with our plight, and He gives mercy and grace to those who would draw near Him.
"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest gwho is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)
2)God hates the sin of murder. He will execute justice.
'And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.
“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image."'
3)God hates all sin. He hates it so much that He sent His own Son to bear the weight of sin. God poured out His wrath of Jesus so that any who repent might have God's wrath absorbed by Christ, and would instead be given His righteousness.
"He Himself bore bore our sins in His body on the tree..."
(1 Peter 2:24a)
"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross."
"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God."
(Romans 5:8-9 ESV)
"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
(2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)
4)God's justice demands that all sin be paid for. The repentant will be forgiven by God, and their sin is laid on Jesus (see previous point). The unrepentant stand condemned, and unless they turn, will bear the wrath of God for their sins eternally.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."
"The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."