On any given week day a person can innocently go to the news to find out what’s going on the in the world and be confronted by the sordid particulars of the latest terrorist atrocity somewhere in the world. There are many human beings who perpetrate acts of terror however in the years since 9/11 we automatically think of the usual Salafist suspects as being behind religiously motivated violence.
To my mind it seems to come out of nowhere. Certainly to the people of Brussels, Paris, London, New York or Lahore the terror seems to strike in a random pattern and time which is why it is so terrifying and visceral.
Of course it doesn’t come out of nowhere and in truth the spectre of a terror attack is more immediate than many choose to realise. It reminds me of sin. Striking when I least expect it at my most vulnerable point and doing the most damage possible. The aftermath is shocking and messy.
In the 7th chapter of Romans, Paul describes his own sinful nature as leading him to do the things that he hates.
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
According the site www.thereligionofpeace.com, Islamic terrorists have carried out more than 28 000.00 deadly terror attacks since 9/11. Since becoming aware of my sinful nature, my personal campaign of sin has a tally that far exceeds 28 000.00. I suck.
Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Jesus is my rescuer, and wins the war on sin before even the last battle has been fought:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1, NIV)
What does that mean practically? It means acquittal on judgement day however for now it also means that I don’t have to be a slave to sin; when it threatens to overwhelm me and strike, I can do what is right and appeal to Christ. Being forgiven we are then free to approach God the Father not as He who will execute vengeance and condemn, but he who has already forgiven and will restore.