Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:13-14
Among the notable deaths of 2013 has to be that of Mikhail Kalashnikov, an inventor who passed away at the age of 94, on December 23.
If you are not acquainted with the name, allow me to share: General Kalashnikov was the inventor of the AK-47, the most common machine gun in the world. With a reputation of simplicity and near indestructibility, the gun became the weapon of choice for many nations as well as numerous terrorist groups.
When confronted about the number of lives his weapon had taken, Kalashnikov replied, "I have no regrets and bear no responsibility for how politicians have used it."
Those are pretty bold words. They are also words which Kalashnikov may have regretted saying.
Reports have come out of Russia which say shortly before his death, the general wrote to Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. In that letter he said, "The pain in my soul is unbearable. I keep having the same unsolved question: if my rifle took away people's lives, then can it be that I am guilty for people's deaths, even if they were enemies?"
Various news articles report that the patriarch answered Kalashnikov's question. It is my prayer that when he passed from this world to the next his conscience had been given peace.
I have a similar prayer for each of us.
Although we may not feel responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, almost all of us have sins tucked away in the back of our minds and in the dark corners of our hearts. These sins, usually private or forgotten by others, give us great grief any time they come to the surface of our thoughts. Like Kalashnikov we say, "The pain in my soul is unbearable. Am I guilty?"
St. Paul, himself a participant in persecution and murder, offers to each of us this assurance: "sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law, but under grace."
Redeemed by the Savior, washed clean of our sin in His innocent blood, our sins are forgiven.
End of reading.
Today I encourage you, be assured: the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. Be assured, be at peace, and glorify your Savior who has made this peace possible.
THE PRAYER: Lord, I confess my many sins. Grant me a faith which refuses to allow these forgiven sins to be resurrected by Satan. Grant me peace and allow me to share that peace with others. This I pray in the Name of the Savior. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries