It was always crushing emotionally while serving in law enforcement to see people who decided at the heat of the moment or at the peak of their anger to end someone’s life. It was after 10:00 PM. There was a young man in his twenties who was at the Subway ordering a sub sandwich. His intention was to kill the other young man who was the only one working while he made him the sub he ordered. You know how those sandwich shops are set up where you stand in front of a glass like display counter watching them make your sub. The young man that was working that night had just gotten married recently and he and his young wife just had a baby. He was working to take care of his family. The suspect ordered his sub, and the young husband and father turn went immediately to make his sub looking down at all the various fixings that were to be placed on the man’s sub. As his face was turned down fixing the sub, the suspect pulled out a gun and shot him in top of his head and murdered the young father and dad as he was making him a sub. We must never forget that evil exists and honor those in law enforcement who patrol our streets and keep evil at bay so we can live our lives free of as much crime as possible. I thank God for our men and women in blue. Blessed are the peace makers.
Then the suspect walked out of the store like nothing had happened and began walking through the neighborhood behind the store. When we received the call from our dispatcher this had happened and the suspect was in the area, all officers on duty drove as fast as we could to the scene. I was the first one on the scene as I began to patrol the area in my cruiser moving slowly through the streets looking for any suspicious activity. Then suddenly I rolled up on the suspect. I was able to apprehend him, take his gun and arrest him, placing him in my cruiser. When asked of his motive, the suspect said, ‘I just wanted to kill someone.’ There were other things he said that were specific, but it boiled down to the fact that he wanted to kill someone, and it just happened to be that young father working at Subway who was in his path that night.
There was another man who was in his house, and someone was breaking into his house late at night. He could hear them prying on the front door. Shocked, adrenaline flowing, he quietly shuffled through the dark to get his gun. His heart was beating, and he had no idea what was going to happen, what the burglar had in mind to do to him and his wife. It was just after midnight and very dark. Then suddenly the front door swings open and someone dressed in black charges in the front door and the homeowner who had armed himself fired three times and the suspect fell to the ground dead. The man had killed another man because he was in fear for his life and his wife’s life and in the state of Florida residents can protect themselves in such incidents. Yet, someone was killed.
In these two killings, one killing was justified and the other was not. The killing at the sandwich shop was not justified. The killing that was not justified was considered a murder, a crime, and the man was tried for murder and sentenced to death. The homeowner never went to jail, never went to trial as the sheriff was able to determine that it was a forced entry of a burglar, and the homeowner was justified in defending his home, wife, and life. Though scarred from having to take someone’s life, he went on with his life as if nothing had happened while the murderer was on death row.* No one in the community considered him a murderer, and no one thought he would be in prison or sentenced to death, even though he too killed a man.
The Apostle Paul writes, in Romans 5:1-2, about being justified before God, writing “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Romans 5:1-5
When we look at the two killings I mentioned above, we say I see why one is free and the other in prison because we feel in our hearts and minds that the one on death row deserves his punishment. Yet, Paul also writes there is no one who is righteous, not one. All have fallen short. No one seeks God.
We like to think of ourselves as the homeowner who did dreadful things for a just cause, but the truth is, before the ultimate Judge, God, if we have hated anyone, scripture tells us that we are guilty of murder. The person who breaks one of God’s laws, is guilty of breaking all of God’s laws. We all are guilty deserving the death sentence just like the man who murdered the young father and husband. Because of the first man created, Adam, falling into sin, because we are of Adam, we fell with him. There was no hope, until…
God was not going to leave it that way. You see, God so loved you that He gave His Son, Jesus, to be born of a woman, to live a sinless (crime free) life, and to take our place, our sentence, our death sentence, because of our sins, our crimes we committed, and He voluntarily died in our place. God is the only One who is just and the only One who justifies. The sentence for our crimes did not just go away, they were placed on Jesus and God allowed His Son to receive the punishment for our crimes on Himself, to be a sin sacrifice. Our crimes did not go unpunished, our punishment for our crimes were placed on Jesus. That is what happened when Jesus was crucified on the cross. He took on a death sentence, but not His own, but ours. He died for the crimes (law breakers) of the world who have broken God’s law. He did this, though we committed these crimes (broke God’s laws) and were deserving of death, so that through our faith in Jesus’s finished work on the cross, dying in our place for our crimes, we can be justified by faith before God. That means, though we were guilty, our guilt was taken away through Jesus’ loving sacrifice.
Like the resident who killed the intruder in his home, who walked away scarred by what he did, but free we walk away from the Cross of Jesus Christ, with our faith in Him and accepting Him as the Lord of our life, as if we had never committed a crime. Not because we are good, but because God is good, and Jesus is our Lord and Savior. God forgets our crimes (our sins) not because He decided to, but because they were paid for by Jesus’ death. For we are justified by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.
Why go any further with a death sentence upon your life? Why risk your life ending before you deal with your crimes (breaking God’s law). You see, if you die without accepting Jesus, you will have missed being able to be justified by faith. You will be judged according to the law, not according to grace. The law says you are deserving of death, eternal death where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. That is where the one who murdered the young father is apt to be this day, unless he accepted Jesus before his death. I believe this is why God has led you to this moment of reading about your true condition and Jesus taking your place, your punishment, to make you aware now, that you can accept His loving sacrifice for you by accepting Jesus as the Lord of your life, by faith. If you are ready to do that today go to Know God, GregLancaster.org/KnowGod and find out how.
I hope to see you at the feast in heaven where multitudes who said yes to Jesus by acknowledging their crimes (sins), accepted Jesus’ forgiveness will be dining in eternity. This is a place where there will be no more crime, no more murder, no more sin, no sickness, no disease, not even tears. It is a place that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you. It would be ashamed to find out in eternity, the place Jesus has prepared for you will not ever been seen by you because of your rejection of His love for you.
When people die, they have two regrets. They do not regret missing a business deal, or how much money they have or do not have, no, they regret not doing more for their family since they are leaving them, and they regret not doing more for God because they are about to see Him. Eliminate those regrets today by giving your life to Jesus to serve Him today and introduce your family to Jesus so they too can be saved. That way, you all can serve Jesus and together see Jesus in the future in eternity, sitting at the same feast.
*To the best of my recollection the man who murdered the Subway worker was sentence to death.