Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
We woke up today to another malicious act of senseless violence committed on innocent civilians by Muslim terrorists from ISIS. Most of us rightly ask theological questions during such tragic times: where was God? why would God allow this? what is God doing? What should we think after tragedies like the Paris attacks? We can’t offer pat answers or cliches, but the Bible does offer concrete answers in the midst of crises like this.
These terrorists worship a false god, chase after worldly pleasures, and seek power above all else. They are not holy men. They are not men of god. While ISIS purports to be an Islamic Caliphate, in reality their goals are more common: domination and wealth. In short, they are sinners. Rather than glorify God, they glorify themselves in service of a man made deity. Why would they do this? For the same reason Cain killed Abel- jealousy, self-centeredness, a corrupted view of justice, and faulty view of God.
It is important to remember that these wicked individuals, upon their death, were not met by 72 virgins. On the contrary, they came face to face with the God who created life and hates sin. They are now experiencing their first installment of eternal judgment by God. In one sense, we can be assured that justice will be done.
Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.
These attacks also remind us of the need for societies to be protected from violent criminals and oppression. Part of God’s purpose for government is to protect the population. When governments do this, they are serving God:
But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
Rather than sit back, governments are called by God to aggressively pursue, prosecute, and punish the wicked. Military and law enforcement, when used for this purpose, are a blessing from God.
What ultimate hope do we have? The fact is, due to the existence of sin, these kinds of tragedies will only be eradicated by the return of Christ. When Jesus judges the world he will finally deal with all sin. That will settle the issue.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Until then, we mourn the dead, comfort the injured, pursue the guilty, protect the innocent, and pray. Let’s pray for Paris. Let’s pray for the victims’ families. Let’s pray for governments, militaries, and law enforcement engaged on the front lines. Let’s pray for the gospel to go out to the ends of the earth. Let’s pray for Jesus to return.