The news came to us all two nights ago that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. By now you’ve seen the reaction from just about every side. Some are celebrating and others are somber. Many are opining with respect to what exactly our reaction should be…especially as Christians. Denny Burk, Al Mohler and John Piper have offered wise, Biblical counsel that must be considered in the face of the death of Osama Bin Laden and the subsequent reactions to his death. Doug Wilson’s thoughts are true, but not for the faint of heart.
My own reaction developed throughout the day. Government is a terror not to those who do good but rather to those who do bad (Rom. 13:1-3). There was a crime that was committed on American soil and the God-appointed authorities pursued the perpetrator. The evil terrorist is now dead. And it is right. It is good that there is still some semblance of justice in this world.
I’ve reserved this week for studying Psalm 139. This morning I read verses 19-22 again–the imprecatory part of the Psalm. And it seems only fitting that I came to these verses in light of recent events. After considering the awesome glory of God as it is He Who is intricately involved in every activity of life, the Psalmist considers those who blaspheme God. They are the ones who use the very breath that God gave them to speak back at Him with reviling, insult, and blasphemy. After soaking in the glory of God as revealed in the first 18 verses sin seems inexplicably disgusting and worthy of wrath. The fact that all sin is committed in the open sight of God and is a direct offense against Him is enough to turn your stomach. That is exceedingly terrible and grievous. The sin and sinfulness of Osama Bin Laden is grievous and it warrants the eternal wrath of the eternal God.
And that is when I see myself. I deserve all of the wrath of God against my sin. My sin is exceedingly terrible and grievous in the sight of the God who knows me and sees me and hears me. And I find myself crying out, “Slay the wicked O God!” But that wicked man is me. Is my sin “as bad” as Osama’s? Well, of course not. I’ve never blown anyone up nor have I ever planned this or financed it. I want to be careful not to destroy the reality of a stricter judgment (cf. Matt. 10:15) according to the words of Jesus. But I also do not want to diminish the depravity and sinfulness of my own sin. I will again refer you to Doug Wilson or Kevin DeYoung for a discussion on the dangers of “Moral Equivalency”. But I will press on nonetheless. What sin is Osama guilty of for which I am not equally liable? And that is why I am unspeakably grateful that Christ became sin for me that I might forever be the righteousness of God in Him. He took the wrath that I stored up so that I might become His righteousness.
Osama Bin Laden is dead. That is right. But I deserve it as well. And without Christ I face the same certain destruction in eternal hell. Which part of hell? I don’t care…I don’t want any part of it!