Do the Wicked Really Triumph?
One of the most perplexing issues in the minds of a lot of people is what is perceived as a huge injustice in the world. Seemingly, the wicked triumph, while the righteous suffer, and are oppressed. You can read of Asaph’s struggles in regard to this issue in Psalms 73. That Psalmist actually almost lost his faith, "When I saw the prosperity of the wicked."
Now, it can hardly be denied that for all appearances sake, it does seem, at times, that the wicked to prosper. However, I would like to point you to the events of last night (Friday, Dec. 29th, and what happened in Iraq.
First of course is the background to the story. Everyone knows by now of the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein. He was personally responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of "innocent" victims. Further, his sons compounded that evil, with capricious murders, rapes, robberies, etc. The stories are horrific, and we in the west still probably do not know the full extent of Hussein’s criminality. And, he seemingly committed his crimes with impunity, thumbing his nose at the world, even with sanctions in place, with the UN making futile attempts to curb his violence and atrocities. Seemingly, wickedness was truly prospering!
Enter the Gulf War. Now, I am not commenting on the current quagmire the US finds itself in at the moment, and the lamentable loss of American lives on a daily basis. I am focused for the moment on Saddam Hussein and the issue of whether evil triumphs. The question is, Does Evil Really Triumph? And the answer is, a resounding NO!
Saddam went from being a brutal dictator to hiding in a hole in the ground to avoid capture. Then, while on trial, a trial in which the entire world was enabled to see his humiliation, he nonetheless bombastically tried to bluff his way to freedom and avoid his fate. He failed, and then, last night, Saddam Hussein was hanged. The wicked man was destroyed, his fate one of shame and humiliation.
You see, even in this life, the wicked do not ultimately triumph! And that does not even address what God has in store for those guilty of such heinous sins and crimes!!
As an important theological note here, there is currently a lot of talk about "universalism," and whether all men are ultimately saved by God. It boggles the mind to think that the mercy of God would over-ride the justice of God in cases like Hussein, a man that hated the very name of Jesus, and never expressed a scintilla of repentance in his life! While I am one that rejoices in the grace of God and its abundance, there is simply no way to justify the idea of universalism in regard to animals like Saddam Hussein!
This is not intended to be a treatise on universalism. However, there is such a thing as the abuse and perversion of the doctrine of grace and mercy. Even in Romans and 2 Peter, when anti-nomians, emphasized the grace of God to justify their immorality, the apostles condemned them in no uncertain terms. Jude even said they were "twice dead." How much more then, would it be true, in the case of those who totally reject the very idea of Jesus as Messiah and Savior?
When God finally decided to judge nations, it was always after His extension of mercy and "grace" was rebuffed and rejected. Then, justice prevailed, and condemnation was the result. It is, therefore, reprehensible to even suggest that someone like Hussein who hated and rejected the very idea of grace in Christ, would be the recipient of that grace and salvation nonetheless!
And this brings us to the final point. Clearly, the wicked have not triumphed in the case of Hussein, or Stalin, or Iddi Amin, or Hitler, or any other of histories noted wicked creatures! They virtually all met ignominious fates, in this life. They did not triumph!!
But here is a question to ponder. If Saddam Hussein, lived his life in such horrific rebellion against God and all that is right, and nonetheless met a shameful death here, but, was nonetheless ushered into the gates of heaven after the hangman’s noose had broken his neck last night, did he not, after all, Triumph? Is that not a perversion of justice, and, in fact, a perversion of grace and mercy?
The wonderful thing is that the wicked do not truly triumph. Not here, and not ultimately. God’s character, God’s nature, will not allow the wicked to triumph, and he has created a world in which, if we are observant, we can see that truth played out. We need greater eyes of faith, and greater trust in Him and His ways, to see that evil does not ultimately triumph!!