Saddam deserved to be executed. This was good, noble, honorable and just under God’s righteous laws (Roms. 13:1-7) for the numerous atrocities that he had committed against hundreds of thousands of his own people; and the world at large. He is receiving the due penalty for his actions—and they were without equivocation, humility, nor repentance unto the end… he reaped what he sowed.
I realize that this a time of conflicted emotions: on the one hand, we rightly rejoice that justice was measured and accomplished—something very rarely seen in our moral pluralistic, sentimental world today. On the other hand, it is not a time for celebration—for God does not delight in the death of the wicked.
Ezekiel 33:11 says,
“Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?"In this one verse we see both compassion and chastisement—the longing forbearance and mercy of God AND the certainty of impending judgment. “The wages of sin is death” (Roms. 6:23); and because it is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:18), He remains faithful to His Word, to His character, and to His judgments (Psalm 19:7-11). Because He is loving, He delights not in the death of the wicked; but because He is holy, sin cannot be tolerated and certain judgment must come.
A.W. Pink says these sobering words:
“The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin. It is the moving cause of that just sentence which He passes upon evil-doers. God is angry against sin because it is a rebelling against His authority, a wrong done to His inviolable sovereignty. Insurrectionists against God’s government shall be made to know that God is the Lord. They shall be made to feel how great that Majesty is which they despise, and how dreadful is that threatened wrath which they so little regarded. Not that God’s anger is a malignant and malicious retaliation, inflicting injury for the sake of it, or in return for injury received. No; while God will vindicate His dominion as the Governor of the universe, He will not be vindictive.The Lord changes not (James 1:17-18); He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). He cannot be tempted (James 1:14-16); He is no respecter of persons (Roms. 2:11); and therefore, is faithful to Himself to carry out the certainty of eternal punishment against the faithless (2 Tim. 2:13). Strong words that pierce my own heart even as I write.
The Apostle Paul says,
Rom. 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,Saddam was heaping wrath upon wrath in the day of wrath—a day which has now come to him. And we must remember, that apart from the grace of God beloved, that would be me or you.
Rom. 2:6 who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:
Rom. 2:7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;
Rom. 2:8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.
Rom. 2:9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek,
Rom. 2:10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Rom. 2:11 For there is no partiality with God. (NASB)
God is sovereign; all things work for His glory according to His divine purposes and plans (Eph. 1:4-14). He is not swayed by political expediency, moral servitude, or virtues of our own design. He is holy and measures us all only by the standard and perfection of His holiness. That is why all our righteousness is nothing but filthy rags before Him (Is. 64:6). The wicked He uses to accomplish and bring to fruition His own eternal intentions. “The Potter” receives equal glory in fashioning both vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy from the same clay (Roms. 9:14, 18). He is just in the saving of some and in the condemnation of others (Roms 9:19-26).
And there is no injustice with God (Roms. 9:14).
But God “takes no delight” in Saddam’s death… Because at the moment of his last breath he entered everlasting perdition and now has knowledge of his torment; of the Lordship of Jesus Christ; the eternal plight of his sin; the futility of the Islamic faith; and has but tasted of God’s holy wrath—for one day, he will receive a physical body in which he will suffer and be tortured night and day forever and ever without relief or reprise by the wrath of a holy God. It is a punishment the weight of which no man can fathom in this life. Saddam has been under the wrath of God all of his life (John 3:36); but he now knows the realty of such divine anger. He is conscience; he is suffering; and he is eternally damned. All who reject Jesus Christ and His gospel are under God’s wrath—and there are no exceptions (John 14:6).
Once again listen to these penetrating words of A.W. Pink:
”Yes, many there are who turn away from a vision of God’s wrath as though they were called to look upon some blotch in the Divine character, or some blot upon the Divine government. But what saith the Scriptures? As we turn to them we find that God has made no attempt to conceal the fact of His wrath. He is not ashamed to make it known that vengeance and fury belong unto Him. His own challenge is, "See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand. For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live forever, If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me" (Deut. 32:39-41). A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; And because He hates all sin, His anger burns against the sinner: Psalm 7:11.There is a real tension in this sobering political moment:
Now the wrath of God is as much a Divine perfection as is His faithfulness, power, or mercy. It must be so, for there is no blemish whatever, not the slightest defect in the character of God; yet there would be if "wrath" were absent from Him! Indifference to sin is a moral blemish, and he who hates it not is a moral leper. How could He who is the Sum of all excellency look with equal satisfaction upon virtue and vice, wisdom and folly? How could He who is infinitely holy disregard sin and refuse to manifest His "severity" (Rom. 9:12) toward it? How could He who delights only in that which is pure and lovely, loathe and hate not that which is impure and vile? The very nature of God makes Hell as real a necessity, as imperatively and eternally requisite as Heaven is. Not only is there no imperfection in God, but there is no perfection in Him that is less perfect than another.
That Divine wrath is one of the perfections of God is not only evident from the considerations presented above, but is also clearly established by the express declarations of His own Word. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven" (Rom. 1:18).”
1. we are witnessing the birth of a new free government exercising capital punishment according to the rule of law judiciously for which we can all be thankful;In the shadow of the execution of this iniquitous world tyrant, may the certainty of eternal judgment (absent of regeneration through Jesus Christ our Lord) be forefront in our minds and drive us to tell others about the gospel. As profoundly expressed by the Apostle Paul, may the burden for lost people weigh so heavy upon us, that we, out of the anguish of our own souls for their unregenerate state, would be willing to bear the yoke of our own damnation so that others might be saved (Roms. 9:3).
2. we can and must rejoice that in Saddam’s execution, for justice was carried out and God was honored in doing so; and
3. because God does not delight in the death of the wicked, then we must not either. Our emotions must be constrained by Scripture alone.
Beloved, our lives are a vapor (James 4:11); we live once, we die once, and then the judgment (Heb. 9:27). So may I entreat those who do not know Christ to flee… flee to Him; and "flee from the wrath to come" (Matt. 3:7). Do not harden your heart while “today is called today” (Heb. 3:-4) and it be too late for you as it is for Saddam. Do not be contented by thinking you have already fled to Christ. Make certain! Beg the Lord to search your heart and show you yourself. Test yourself to see if you are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). And if not, repent of your sin, trust in Christ alone, through faith alone, by grace alone for the hope of the salvation of your souls (Roms. 3:21-26). Flee all other means to salvation whereby you may find some glory in your own works, deeds or religious practice. Come to the end of yourself--"deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him" (Matt. 16:24). "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation" (Roms. 10:9-10).
May the love of God compel us to proclaim His gospel of grace to all in our world while we are still granted time on this earth to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. For even the day of our having to give an account to the Lord is closer than we think.
“Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” (2 Cor. 5:11a).
As the Day Draws Near,
2 Cor. 5:21