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Timothy McVeigh. Six years ago, on April 19, 1995, at 9:01 a.m., Timothy McVeigh detonated a bomb which destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. In doing so, he ended the lives of 168 people, nineteen of them children, and became the worst mass murderer in American history. The suffering caused by this horrible crime, this single act of rage, is incalculable; not only of those who died or were injured, but of the families destroyed, the mothers and fathers ripped from their children, the children torn from their parents. And to this day, Timothy McVeigh has never expressed any remorse, or sorrow, or pity, or even regret. If ever there was a case deserving of the death penalty, this is it. In fact, Timothy McVeigh is scheduled to be executed 3 ½ weeks from now, on May 16th.

And if, by some last minute act of grace and mercy between now and then, if God were to grant Timothy McVeigh repentance for his sins, and Timothy McVeigh were to seek forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ, then on May 16th, when the poison is injected into his veins to carry out the death sentence, he would walk into heaven and be welcomed by God as warmly and enthusiastically as any of us hope to be when we die. God would not receive him grudgingly, or reluctantly. On the contrary, God would be overjoyed to receive him. Why? Because the basis of our acceptance before God, and of our welcome into heaven, is the finished work of Christ on the cross. It has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with what we deserve. We can do nothing to add to Christ’s work, or detract from it; all we can do is receive it in faith. And anyone who comes to God on that basis, even a mass murderer like Timothy McVeigh, someone who caused so much pain and suffering, anyone who repents of their sin and seeks forgiveness in Jesus Christ, will be forgiven, and not only forgiven, but joyously welcomed, and enthusiastically embraced by God the Father.

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