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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The scapegoat.

In the Old Testament book of Leviticus, we read about the "scapegoat" (Lev.16:8-10).  This goat was taken away into the wilderness on the day of Atonement (16:20-22). The priest made atonement over the scapegoat, laying Israel's guilt upon it, and then sent it away - the goat symbolically bearing all of the iniquities of the Children of Israel on its back - "... into the wilderness to Aza'zel." (v.10; RSV).

That annual Old Testament event came to mind as I heard, and read, of the stripping away of the knighthood that had previously been awarded to Fred Goodwin, erstwhile Chief Executive Offeicer of the Royal Bank of Scotland.  This is not because I am a fan of the former "Sir" Fred, but because it seems to me - and to many others, if newspaper reports, and comments, are any indication - that he is having the sins of the banking industry laid on his back, alone, and being banished to some kind of 'Honours desert'!

Since Mr Goodwin has had his Knighthood revoked, should not the life peerages of men such as Jeffrey Archer, and Mike Watson, also be taken from them - to say nothing of the plethora of former Members of the House of Commons who defrauded the electorate with their 'dodgy' expenses' claims, but were permitted to quietly stand down at the following General Election, when they ought to have been prosecuted!

Of course, all of this is just a symptom of the general state of unsaved mankind.  Paul wrote to the disciples of Jesus in Rome, quoting from the Book of Psalms: "... as it is written: 'None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no one does good, not even one.' " (Rom 3:10-12; RSV).

When that rascal, Zacchaeus, the tax-collector who confessed that he had cheated others, met with Jesus, he said: " 'Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold.' And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.' " (Luke 19:8-10; RSV).  He made restitution and, by his behaviour, confirmed his salvation. 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only hope for mankind.  It is only in Him that forgiveness is found.  Perhaps someone who knows Fred Goodwin at a personal level will share that message with him.  Better, by far, to have one's name "... written in the Lamb's Book of Life." (Rev.21:27; RSV), than to have all of the earthly 'honours' that are available.  Those whose names are thus written, may be assured that those names will never be removed! (see John 18:9)

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