Saturday, March 24, 2018

Britain to punish Putin’s cronies - right or wrong?

Britain to punish Putin’s cronies - Right or Wrong?

'MINISTERS are plotting new sanctions against Vladimir Putin and Kremlin-linked oligarchs after the Russian government expelled 23 British diplomats and launched an assault on its cultural ties with Britain'1

It seems ok to punish the perpetrator of a crime, i.e. if it's Putin and his regime then take action, but my question is, is it fair to punish someone else for crimes that they have not done?

As always, I am not getting into politics in this blog so this piece is not about passing judgment on Putin and Russia and their culpability or not for the recent chemical attack in Salisbury. But I am asking if, in principle, it is fair to punish one party for another’s crimes?

In the Old Testament the principle of each person taking responsibility for their own sin is clearly stated. Deuteronomy 24:16 states ‘The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin’. So even within a family environment it is clear that the perpetrator of a crime is responsible for the crime, not one family member for another.

Another verse from the Bible that comes to mind says ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,’ Galatians 6:7. In other words we are not only all responsible for our actions but all actions have consequences. This is something that we tend to only stop and think about when things are going against us. We are keen for others to act responsibly and we have a great sense of justice when we are evaluating other people’s behaviour! But, sadly, we forget that we are also responsible for what we do and our actions also produce effects. 
Actions have consequences, effects have causes and we reap what we sow. 

For a moment or two please ignore how you feel about what people have done to you. Blank out the Putin and Russia debate. Forget the potential outcomes of Brexit. These are all brilliant examples of cause and effect and only time will tell how things will end up but let's suspend that reality for a moment.

Instead, stop and think about your life. 

A. What about that relationship that fell on the sword of your refusal to say sorry! 
B. How about your addiction that started because you couldn’t say no or thought that it was just harmless!
C. Or the lust that you gave in to even though you knew that you would hate yourself afterwards and feel so dirty! 
D. It could be pride that makes you spend money you don’t have and end up in debt. 

These are all examples of the devastating effect of sinful choices and habits. Wrong behaviour hurts us, ultimately all sin ends in death which is why we all die. The Bible puts it bluntly when it says 'we have all sinned' and 'the wages of sin is death'

In closing let me tell of another way. It’s called the way of the cross. Jesus of Nazareth once made a choice that had massive consequences for all humankind. Before he became a man, (Christians call this the ‘incarnation’) Jesus existed eternally as the Son of God in the uncreated heaven. Please hear me out if this sounds far fetched to you. We refer to Jesus as the Son of God as he wasn’t called Jesus until he became a man. He made the choice to leave heaven, come to earth and to die and pay for evil and sin. This choice was made because humans do not have the ability and resources to pay for our own wrongdoing and sin. Only a sinless being could pay for other's sin and redeem their souls. I hope you are still with me!

The way of the cross is essentially the fact that the death of Jesus was the payment for wrong and sin. It was a total payment that satisfied the requirements of the highest court in the Universe - God’s court. 

The Bible states in 1 Peter 3:18 'For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit,' Modern English Version (MEV). 

It also says in Hebrews 9:27, 28a  'As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many'

God, the creator set the rules. No evil or sin in any form was acceptable to him. Sin damages everything and always produces death and destruction. In medical terms sin is like an infection or bacteria to a sick person, it will affect have a detrimental effect. 

Evil needed to be dealt with completely. That is where the way of the cross comes in. God devised a plan that someone who was perfect needed to atone for sin. A perfect being was needed because they had no sin of their own. The only person who qualified was the Son of God. This is why his death was vital to provide salvation. 

The sequel to this story is the fact that Jesus came back from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus proves that his death was effective in dealing with sin. The Bible claims and history has established the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to be authentic. Here are a couple of Bible Verses about the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1 Corinthians 15 Modern English Version (MEV)

Now, brothers, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which you have received, and in which you stand. Through it you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: how Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and was seen by Cephas, and then by the twelve. Then He was seen by over five hundred brothers at once, of whom the greater part remain to this present time, though some have passed away. Then He was seen by James and then by all the apostles. Last of all, He was seen by me also, as by one born at the wrong time.

Romans 4: 24,25 Modern English Version (MEV)

But also for us, to whom it shall be credited if we believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our transgressions, and was raised for our justification.
If you are interested please read some of my blog posts about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. God wants you to know forgiveness but this only possible if your sins are dealt with legally to God's satisfaction.
As I close I leave you with the words of one of the early preachers of the gospel - the Apostle Paul:

Acts 13:26-39 Modern English Version (MEV)

“Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those of you who fear God, the word of this salvation has been sent to us. Because those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, did not know Him, in condemning Him they have fulfilled the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath. Though they found in Him no cause worthy of death, yet they asked Pilate to have Him killed. When they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree and placed Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead, and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now His witnesses to the people.
“We preach to you good news: The promise which was made to the fathers, God has fulfilled to us, their children, raising Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:
‘You are My Son;
    today I have become Your Father.’[d]
That He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken in this way:
‘I will give You the holy and sure blessings of David.’[e]
So He says in another Psalm:
‘You will not let Your Holy One see decay.’[f]
“For after David had served by the counsel of God in his own generation, he fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw decay. But He whom God raised up saw no decay.

 “Therefore, brothers, let it be known to you that through this Man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,  and by Him everyone who believes is justified from everything from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses. 

Please be aware that to benefit from the way of the cross you need to:

1. Confess (acknowledge) your sin and guilt before God. 
2. Turn to God from everything that might attract you (repent)
3. Believe on and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.

1. Daily Telegraph, Sunday 18th March 2018


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