rebel

Renegade

Oh mama, I’m in fear for my life from the long arm of the law
Lawman has put an end to my running and I’m so far from my home
Oh mama, I can hear your crying you’re so scared and all alone
Hangman is coming down from the gallows and I don’t have very long

The jig is up the news is out they’ve finally found me
The renegade who had it made retrieved for a bounty
Never more to go astray
This will be the end today of the wanted man

Oh mama, I’ve been years on the lamb and had a high price on my head
Lawman said get him dead or alive now it’s for sure he’ll see me dead
Dear mama, I can hear you crying you’re so scared and all alone
Hangman is coming down from the gallows and I don’t have very long

The jig is up, the news is out they finally found me
The renegade who had it made retrieved for a bounty
Never more to go astray
The judge’ll have revenge today on the wanted man

Oh mama, I’m in fear for my life from the long arm of the law
Hangman is coming down from the gallows and I don’t have very long

The jig is up, the news is out they finally found me
The renegade who had it made retrieved for a bounty
Never more to go astray
This’ll be the end today of the wanted man, the wanted man

[Incomprehensible] No, no, no, no

Oh mama, don’t let him take me
Oh no, oh no, no, no, no, no, no

Anyone ever listen to this song?

I was thinking about the topic of crime and punishment. Recently a small group of students from Ashland Theological Seminary presented on the issue of capital punishment. Their were a lot of good nuggets in the presentation but the thing that I will remember the most is this: no one is beyond the ability to be forgiven or receive grace. I am not saying the we should trade the penal system for something else. I am suggesting, however, that the life or death of a man or woman should never be in the hands of another human unless they are uncapable of managing their own life.

In fact, I think that our society in general does a poor job of dealing with crime or correction. I can’t say that I blame society for this. There is something within our human nature that causes to be prone to correct and punish. The most basic human instinct is to remove threats or correct those who are threatening. It’s a survival instinct. If someone harms me, I want them removed or something done to make sure they do not do it again.

That is what make forgiveness so unique. God’s nature is so different than ours. In fact God’s nature is radical. We love to point out that God was unforgiving in the OT but that is not true. Anyone who has ever read it in context will see that God was VERY merciful with the Israelites. Jesus’ teaching were seen as revolutionary as well. He took the OT teachings and added a new measure of grace to them. That is right; the God who we continually rebel against provided His son as the penalty so that we would be free.

Like the renegade in the Styx song, we were all dead in our own sin (Eph 2:1) and God did not give us the capital punishment. He came incarnated in the flesh and dealt with the same trials we do and then like a lamb led to the slaughter he let us hang him on the cross in our own place (Isaiah 53).

If anyone was a renegade…it was the Lord, breaking every rule of society and offering forgiveness rather than punishment.

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