Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Terror In The UK

Much of the world is again in total shock and disbelief after the deadly suicide bombing that took place after an Ariana Grande concert in Europe’s largest indoor arena. A total of 22 were left dead including young children and an off-duty police officer.  Some remain missing and many more were critically injured - some having major organ damage and potential loss of limbs. 

As usual, leaders everywhere denounced this latest assault on the civilized world and on helpless innocent people. And maybe this will be the time when some kind of real action will follow the strong language that always falls of the deaf ears of the wicked. The Prime Minister has raised the threat level to the highest possible rating believing that there is a very real concern about  another attack.

Authorities have named Salman Abedi as the suspected suicide bomber. The Greater Manchester Police revealed on Wednesday that three men have been arrested in the south of the city in connection with the concert bombing attack including Abedi's 23-year-old brother. Meanwhile, Abedi's father spoke for the first time since his son's death to deny his son’s Involvement. He stated, "We don't believe in killing innocents. This is not us."

The key phrase that struck me in that last sentence was, ‘since his son’s death’. If his son did not believe in killing innocents, and did not do so, why then does he not simply show himself to the authorities and quickly prove that his body was not scattered all over the crime scene? It seems to me like that would be an easy start in proving that his son may indeed be innocent of this horrific crime.  Or perhaps I am just missing something here?

As I thought about the potential impact of this supposedly dead attacker suddenly showing himself to be fully alive, I was reminded of what occurred after Jesus died upon the cross. The purpose of His death was obviously the polar opposite of those who die only to brutally and senselessly murder others. The death of Christ was to save and redeem all sinners. It was to fully deal with the spiritual death sentence that resides on all of humanity – even to those who commit the worst atrocities imaginable. He sacrificed Himself to save and not to kill. He died in order to provide eternal life and save from eternal death.

But unlike Salman Abedi, Christ did appear after his death. That is revealed in 1 Corinthians 15:4-8 where the Apostle Paul wrote, “He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”  And the additional proof of His being seen alive was the life-altering response in the lives of those who would change the world forever because He in fact did rise from the dead.

What a stark contrast arises when considering the sacrifice of God’s Son for sinners versus those who selfishly takes their own lives only to kill and destroy the lives of others. Jesus Himself spoke forcefully to those who acted on behalf of Satan in John 8:44. He said there, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

Again, compare that to what Jesus did, and why He came, as penned in 1 John 4:10-11. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

The actions of ISIS, and others who behave like them, could not be any farther from what Christ did and taught. The views and actions of those who are ‘of the devil’ and those who are ‘in Christ’ are beyond evident and as far as the East is from the West. The contrast could not be any greater and the solution for sin and clearer. It begins and ends with personal faith in the crucified Christ who rose again from the grave. In doing so He proved, not only His total innocence, but also His claim to be deity and the lone Savior of a fallen race in desperate need of redemption!

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)

Bill Breckenridge

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