None of us can plead innocent

Published 9:19 pm Thursday, August 30, 2018

By Thurman Hayes

This week, “Operation Finale” opened in theaters. It tells the riveting story of how Israeli secret agents captured the barbaric Nazi killer, Adolph Eichmann. Some years ago, I read this story in Neal Bascomb’s fantastic book, “Hunting Eichmann.”

Adolf Eichmann was one of Adolf Hitler’s henchmen. It was his assignment to round up Jewish people throughout eastern Europe, deport them to ghettos, herd them into cattle cars, and send them to concentration camps, like Auschwitz. Some 6 million Jewish people were murdered by the Nazis, and Eichmann had a direct hand in the deaths of many of them.

Email newsletter signup

After the war, Eichmann slithered his way to Argentina, where he lived under a different name. But through a series of providential events, the Israeli Mossad was able to track him down. It took 15 years, but on May 11, 1960, Mossad agents caught up with him, on a lonely street in Buenos Aires. He was smuggled back to Israel, where he stood trial in Jerusalem and was executed for his crimes.

Interestingly, within the past couple of weeks, another Nazi — this time in America — was located and sent back to Germany for trial. Jakiw Palij was a guard at one of the concentration camps. He had been living in New York for many years, but no longer. At the age of 95, he was picked up from his comfortable dwelling in Queens and sent packing from this country. Good riddance.

But some may ask, “Should we continue to seek justice against people who are so old they will die soon, anyway?” Absolutely! Ask the families of those who were killed in the Holocaust if we should continue to seek justice against Nazi killers who have evaded justice for decades. They deprived countless men, women and children of their lives. Surely it was right to deprive this fugitive of his comfortable situation in America.

In the eyes of the secular world, the arrest of these elderly Nazis represents the last chance at any sort of justice for them. But believers in the Bible know better. We know that no one gets away with anything. If Nazis manage to evade capture and justice in this life, they will certainly not escape a far more severe judgment before a holy God.

God sees all. He knows all. Crimes perpetrated in the dark, in secret, are done in broad daylight before His eyes. There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. People may escape human justice, but they will stand before the judgment seat of a righteous, sovereign God.

On that day, none of us will be able to plead “innocent.” The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). There was only One who was completely innocent. There was only One who was completely righteous. Have you repented of your sins and trusted in Jesus as your Savior? If so, then His perfect record of righteousness is applied to your account. If you do not know Christ, you will be judged by your own record — and that’s bad news, for any of us.

Turn to the One who died for sinners like us, and rose again. If we got justice, we would all be in hell. But God gave us Jesus. Turn to Him.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.