If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared. Psalm 130:3-4
I'm not the kind of person who believes thieves ought to get off free.
You probably aren't either. Indeed, most of us believe if a person is willing to do the crime, he has to be ready to do the time (in prison). Apparently Captain Moussa Camara, who has been appointed by Guinea's military junta to fight wrongdoing, has a little different take on the matter.
Knowing violent crime, rape, and thievery are all on the rise, Captain Camara said, "I'm asking you to burn all armed bandits who are caught red-handed committing an armed robbery." Camara then proceeded to explain this dire measure: "Our jails and our correctional centers can no longer take in people and the situation cannot carry on like this."
Nobody can say the good captain doesn't take his job seriously, maybe too seriously.
Of course, if the country follows his urgings, there are probably not going to be many repeat offenders.
When I read that story, which was carried last week by the BBC, I'm thankful the good Lord doesn't think like Captain Moussa Camara.
In so many words, the Psalmist said, "If the Lord would keep a running record of our transgressions, all of us would be condemned to die in the permanent fires of hell."
It would have been a nasty and ongoing end for us.
So we wouldn't be confined to the everlasting barbecue, the Father sent His Son into the world. True Man and true God, Jesus took our sins to Himself. He willingly carried them, and He paid the price for them upon Calvary's cross.
Descending into hell, the crucified Christ showed His victory to the devil and all the forces of evil. On resurrection Sunday, a risen Savior revealed His triumph to the world He had redeemed.
Now, because of Jesus, and with faith in Jesus, there is forgiveness. Why? It's so the Lord might be feared, so the Savior might be praised.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, if You were interested in immediately punishing us for our sins of thought, word, and deed, we would be sunk. That we are saved is due to Your grace, the Savior's sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit's call. May we give thanks that with You there is forgiveness. In the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries