God’s love for the sinner

Published 8:19 am Thursday, March 5, 2020

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: Is there any hope for those who have committed heinous crimes to ever know the peace of God? — W.C.

Dear W.C.: In our own weakness as humans, we tend to grade sins. Here’s a little sin on our scale, but over here there’s a very, very heavy sin. We may see God as able to forgive the small sin, but incapable of forgiving the gross sinner.

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A story out of World War II illustrates this graphically. Hitler and his Third Reich had gone down to defeat at the hands of the Allies. Many Nazi leaders who committed some of the most infamous crimes known to man were brought to trial in Nuremberg. The world watched as sentences of imprisonment and death were brought against these war criminals. However, an amazing account was given by Chaplain Gerecke. He had been called as a prison chaplain to the former Nazi high command, though his self-description was that of a humble preacher who had grown up a Missouri farm boy.

Chaplain Gerecke recalled the sincere conversion to faith in Jesus Christ by some of these men who had committed despicable crimes; one of them a former favorite general of Hitler. At first the chaplain was very leery of confessions of faith. He said the first time he saw this criminal reading his Bible he thought, a phony. However, as he spent time with him, he wrote, “But the longer I listened, the more I felt he might be sincere. He insisted he was very glad that a nation which would probably put him to death thought enough of his eternal welfare to provide him with spiritual guidance.”

With Bible in hand he said, “I know from this book that God can love a sinner like me.” There is always hope. What an amazing love God exhibited for us all at the cross!


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)