“We sometimes forget that we are called to be a people of both justice and justification, and that these two are not contradictory.”
Recently Russ Moore wrote an excellent article discussing the proper Christian attitude towards ISIS.
Like many other American Christians, at times I feel conflicted. ISIS is a malignant, evil organization, yet it is made of men (and some women) for whom Christ died. I pray for their defeat in the battlefield; I also pray for their salvation.
Moore reminds us that, however conflicted we may feel, these two prayers are not, in fact, at odds with each other. The Cross demonstrates that justification and justice are not contradictory. The problem, he explains, is that we often have a very therapeutic notion about forgiveness–one that absolves the wrong “as though it were all a misunderstanding.” Moore continues:
“The gospel does not say, ‘Don’t worry about it; it’s okay.’ The gospel points us to the cross where sin is absorbed in a substitute. God’s righteous condemnation of sin is there. He does not, and cannot, enable wickedness. And God’s mercy is there in that he is the One who sends his Son as the propitiation for sin. He is both “just and the justifier of the One who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). The gospel doesn’t leave sin unpunished. Every sin is punished, either a the Place of the Skull, in Christ, or in the judgment of hell, on one’s own.”
So should we pray for ISIS to be converted or be defeated? The answer is “c”, all of the above.
Cross posted at www.theologyforthechurch.com