Monday, May 2, 2011

A Biblical View of Justice

WaPo: U.S. forces kill Osama bin Laden, Photo By justgrimes,

Guest Post By Pastor Trey Pruitt

I decided, based on recent events and many people approaching me on the subject, to comment on the death of Osama Bin Laden.

The Bible states, “Justice executed is a joy to the righteous but a terror to those who practice iniquity.” - Proverbs 21:15

It is certainly ok to celebrate justice. It is certainly ok for Christians to rejoice when there is justice in the world. However, this must be different than celebrating vengeance. “Vengeance is mine…” says the Lord.

In addition, we must be cautious… the Bible also tells us this, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart rejoice when he stumbles. Or the Lord will see, be displeased, and turn His wrath away from him.” (Proverbs 24:17-18) The enemy here is terrorists and their idolatrous ideology founded in the religion of Islam. God does not want us celebrating death or else we will be no better than our enemy!

Where is the balance in these? First we must understand the difference between our response as Christians and the Government’s response to evil. The Bible states, “For government is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.” (Romans 13:4)

The Bible tells us that the execution of Osama Bin Laden is a good thing, and we can have joy in the fact that justice was served. What happened is good because it was carried out by God’s instrument for justice. We can also take joy in the fact that we live in a God fearing nation that promotes justice and defends the weak. I pray for the fulfillment of Proverbs 21:15… that the just acts of the United States has brought terror upon those who seek to work iniquity in this world. Military and law enforcement “use of force” is God ordained when it is carried out in a God honoring manner. I am grateful that our President recognized the need for justice and had the courage to act. We must continue to pray that God will guide President Obama! In addition, I am grateful for all of our veterans, our service members and our law enforcement professionals who do the Lord’s work in dangerous situations!

Now, we must not forget about our response as Christians. A Christian can certainly use force under the authority of government, when it is just. However, there is an even greater calling for the church of Jesus Christ! I am reminded of a quote from Henry David Thoreau, “For every one hundred men cutting the branches of evil there is but one who strikes the root.” The job of the church of Jesus Christ is to cut away at the root of evil. We are grateful to our military and law enforcement officers who consistently chop away at the branches of evil… but there is only one group of people who are equipped and called to address the root of the problem, and those people are you (Christians)!

The Bible tells us not to be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good. Love conquers hate! Forgiveness, and sharing God’s love with the world strikes at the very root of evil! As a church, we must do our duty. The only way to conquer evil is to see the hearts of mankind transformed by the loving power of Jesus Christ.

The United States has the Navy Seals and the CIA but the God of heaven also has His special forces; the Church and the angelic hosts under the command of Jesus. As this great nation exports justice with firepower, we must export the love of God with spiritual power. “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12)

We must share the love of Jesus Christ with the Muslim world. Yes, even to those who seek to do us harm. After all, they cannot terrorize us because we do not fear man but God (Matthew 10:28). And we are not of those who shrink back in fear but we are bold in faith. (Hebrews 10:38-39)

Take joy in justice but do not allow yourself to gloat and do not allow a vengeful heart… God will honor both you and our nation if we do this.

Pastor Trey Pruitt

Hope Baptist Church
Columbia, SC