“God in eternity looked upon me foreseeing my fallenness, my pride, my sin and said, ‘I want that man in My family. I will pay for him to be in My family with My Son’s life.’ That’s love folks. That is mega, off-the-charts love.”
– John Piper
April 19, 2013. Jahar lies in a boat in a Watertown backyard, bleeding badly from multiple gunshot wounds. In the past few days, he’s killed four people, injured some 280 or so people, not to mention all the people he’s traumatized mentally. And he’s done it all in the name of a false god. He could easily die here—a wretched, lost, and hell-bound sinner who deserves nothing more than God’s holy wrath.
But in entered grace…
God looked down into that boat and rather than rightfully destroying Jahar, He saw one who would one day become His beautiful, beloved child.
He looked down into that boat, seeing Jahar lying there afraid, on the verge of dying a death he certainly deserved, covered in his own blood, wretched and having committed such unspeakable sin, having written that awful note on the boat proclaiming faith in Allah and allegiance to Muhammad, and in the midst of all that, He loved him.
That is the love of our Father. That is the love of the God who even now continues to pursue Jahar’s heart as he continues to hate Him and cling tightly to Islam.
His sins are great, but grace is greater.
But how can this be? How can God simply overlook his sins? How can God ignore the blood on his hands?
I recently watched a clip from a sermon by David Platt in which he powerfully conveyed the glorious truth of the Gospel. He says, “We’re sinners, and God is infinitely holy and possesses holy hatred of sin and sinners alike… and He loves sinners. So how is this possible? How can God show wrath towards sinners and love towards sinners at the same time? How can God express the fullness of His attributes, how can He satisfy Himself and save sinners at the exact same time? That is the question of the Bible, and the answer is the Cross.”
He goes on to say, “He absolutely hates sin and sinners and He absolutely loves sinners, and in the Cross we see the full expression of His holy wrath and His holy love coming together in one glorious moment for our salvation. And that is a scandal.”
Scandalous because “you trust in Christ, and your sins are removed.” You trust in Christ. That’s it. No matter your past. No matter what you’ve done. Trust in Christ, and that’s all gone. All of it. Forever.
Yes, that glorious message of the Gospel is even for Jahar. May he one day hear, understand, and embrace it.
“To think that the holy God of the universe has looked upon your life and my life based on the Suffering Servant, and He pronounces, ‘I have absolutely no record of anything ever having gone wrong in your life.’ That is a scandal. Scandalous mercy.”
– David Platt