Daily Devotional for Tuesday September 2, 2003

The death of Timothy McVeigh and capital punishment

(Genesis 9:6, Exodus 21:12, Leviticus 24:17, Numbers 35:16, Numbers 35:31,

The death of Timothy McVeigh and capital punishment. For those who have been reading my Devotionals over the last 48 months know, I refuse to shy away from the issues that we deal with in our day to day lives, issues many ministers refuse to address primarily because they do not want to offend anyone. The fact is, the Word of God is an offense to all that do not believe. As one who God has called in this day to share His Word with the people, it is not my job to worry about offending someone, simply sharing the absolute truth of the Word, and then leaving it up to each who hears to accept of reject what God says.

In 2002, I dealt with the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. If all accounts of what he felt in his heart in his last days on earth are correct, he rejected God and is eternally separated from Him. NOT because of his heinous and horrific crime in killing 168 innocent people, but for rejecting Jesus Christ. I was saddened to hear the pastor of the United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City across from where the Mura Federal Building once stood, say on national TV that God would never forgive Timothy McVeigh. That is NOT what the Bible says.

The fact is, ANYONE, the "whosoever" of John 3:16, that truly repents of their sins and accepts Jesus Christ by faith will be saved. Even someone who committed such a horrible act of violence as Timothy McVeigh. The choice he made, is the same choice we all must make in this life. To accept God's gift of everlasting life by faith, or reject it.

Many have trouble accepting this truth. They have trouble accepting the fact that someone like a Timothy McVeigh could do something so horrible, yet still be eternally with God. But you see, we are ALL sinners. The Bible proclaims that ALL have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. In Ephesians chapter 2 it says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith...and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God....not by works, so that no one can boast."

You see my friend, God has made a way for everyone, even the Timothy McVeighs of the world to accept Christ by faith, repent of their sins, and be born again. Even though you may not have done anything as horrible as McVeigh did, the fact is, you are still a sinner and will be eternally separated from God because of your sin when this journey is over unless you come to know Jesus as your personal savior.

The other issue that has stemmed from the execution of Timothy McVeigh is capital punishment. Many who oppose capital punishment say it is hypocritical to be opposed to abortion and yet support capital punishment. That is an apples and oranges argument. Abortion is the killing of an innocent life. Capital punishment is the killing of someone who is guilty of a serious crime against society. You cannot even argue the two because one deals with an innocent life, the other deals with a guilty life.

Another false argument is that capital punishment is not a deterrent to others from committing the same kinds of horrible crimes. It is not supposed to be a deterrent. It is the penalty enacted by society for those who commit such crimes.

You see, capital punishment has a very solid basis from scripture and ultimately is a decision each society must determine. One of the wonderful things about our country is that we can change laws that we feel are not acceptable. Let me just add, Liveprayer is here to pray for people's needs, not to debate social issues. For those who disagree with capital punishment, you have the right to form your own opinions. I try to use God's Word as my final authority on all matters, and you can not ignore the Biblical predicate for capital punishment.

I love you and care about you so much. I have prayed extensively over these words today. I asked God that in the midst of the horror this one man has brought to so many, someone would read these words today and come to know Christ as his/her personal savior. Timothy McVeigh had the ultimate opportunity to accept Christ since he knew the date and time of his death. Most of us are not that fortunate. We never know when we will die. When we do, our chance at accepting Christ is lost. I pray you don't wait too long.

I also want to pray today for the families who lost loved ones in Oklahoma City in that horrific event. I know from minister friends in the area, it was only God's grace that has allowed them to carry on after such a horrible tragedy. It again reinforces how quickly life can end. I am sure nobody expected to go to work at a Federal building that day and not come home.

Christ loves you so much He died for your sins. He is standing at the door of your heart today, knocking. It is no accident you are reading these words. I am praying that you will open your heart to Him, and let Him in. If you are not sure that you will be eternally with God when you die, if you have never made that commitment, you can do it today, right now. Simply go to www.liveprayer.com/bdy_salvatn.html and you can have that assurance when your life is over, you will be with the Lord for eternity.

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller