Many of us have been shocked at today's news of (what seems to be) a terror attack on Oslo, the capital of neighboring Norway. For this reason I thought it appropriate to postpone the next installment of my series on Jude until two weeks from today.
Living in Scandinavia can make you feel far removed from the world of Islamic terrorism. Scandinavians tend to be a passive bunch who go to great lengths not to make enemies which adds to the shock of today's revelations. According to BBC world news:
Norway has been hit by twin attacks - a massive bomb blast in the capital and a shooting attack on young people at a governing Labour Party youth camp. At least seven people were killed in the bombing, which inflicted huge damage on government buildings in Oslo city centre. Four more died at the camp, on an island outside Oslo, local media said. One witness later said he had seen more than 20 bodies on the island, but police have not confirmed this. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, whose Oslo offices were among those damaged by the bomb, described the situation as "very serious". Norwegian media reports said the shootings on the island were carried out by a man in police uniform. Police said the suspected gunman had been arrested, and later said he was also linked with the bomb attack, reports said. No group has said it carried out the attacks.
The feeling of safety and security this side of eternity can be a dangerous thing. It can quench our conscience from pondering the conviction we may otherwise feel over the conflict between our inner morality and our outward actions. The people of Norway and Scandinavia now know that terrorism is a very real possibility in their lives and the relative safety felt here may well have become a thing of the past. But while terror attacks become more probable, the judgment and wrath of God remain absolute certainties for all found wanting in the scales of God's justice - scales that demand perfection. May God open our eyes to this urgency and reality!
Fear can be a good thing, particularly if it involves fearing the God Who made us and owns us and knows us and will judge us. And there is only one embassy we can run to where we can find "diplomatic immunity" from the wrath to come. His Name is the Lord Jesus Christ - God incarnate who paid the debt we can never pay to give the gift that we can never earn. Jesus Christ bore the wrath of God on the cross in the place of all sinners who ultimately find their refuge in Him. May we pray for the victims and their families in Norway right now, and more than that, pray for their eyes to be opened to their need for eternal security. Terrorism is a very real possibility, but our day in God's court is an absolute certainty. May we be found in the embassy of Jesus Christ on that day.
There were some present at that very time who told him [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he [Jesus] answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:1-5)