The Death Sentence
The U.S. Court System has an interesting history. Starting at least from 1776, then with our constitution’s 6th amendment which guarantees a speedy trial, there is supposed to be “liberty & justice for all.” Well, it’s not always clear who does the thinking, but it is clear that today one will surely not get a speedy trial, & justice may not happen either. Lots of convicted murderers get easier sentences than certain other offences. (And the death sentence may soon be banned by the Supreme Court, forcing taxpayers to support those murderers as they live a long life in expensive jails.)
Now in a legitimate theocracy, God is doing the thinking which at least makes a striking contrast with man’s best efforts. How about the Mosaic Law of maybe 4000 years ago? Does it compare with today’s “death sentence”? Here are some offences that would and did get folks terminated (swiftly at that): Murder-Genesis 9:6, Cursing one’s Mother or Father-Leviticus 20:9, Adultery & Incest- Lev. 20:10-12, Homosexuality-Lev. 20:13, Witchcraft-Lev. 20:27, Blasphemy-Lev. 24:16, Violating the Sabbath-Numbers 15:32-36. And the code of Moses stresses accountability in the 5th chapter of Leviticus, “If any one sins, doing any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, though he does not know it, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity.” v.17
The severe penalties of the above sins may be hard to understand, especially when compared with today’s liberal sentencing. Of course it was the age of Biblical LAW to get a brand new godly nation started on the “right track”. But mostly that LAW was revealed to Moses to show the world of all ages what a holy God thinks of SIN. Christ came along after centuries of grand scale failures of God’s people, to offer the world and all individuals a solution, or expiation for our sin. Only we have to BELIEVE in Christ to get that solution . . .
The first coming of Christ about 2000 years ago changed a lot of things, including “the death sentence”. The brainiest chosen writer of the New Testament said this “Now we are discharged from the Law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.” Romans 7:6 The New Covenant does deal with the death sentence, but more in a spiritual sense – the physical sense is left to civil authorities. Romans 13:1-4
So it appears that the Old Testament LAW gives us clear examples of a holy God’s attitude towards sin. The New Covenant (especially in the book of Romans) shows how sin can separate us from favor with God, then Divine displeasure, & wrath for eternity (spiritual death or hell). That New Covenant also speaks of grace which is the other side of LAW. “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” Ephesians 2:4-5 And Grace is not fair – we have all done some of the things in the “death sentence” list above which got Moses’ era sinners executed. By the rules of Old Covenant law we deserve nothing good either, only condemnation, because we are still dealing with the same God. Then today we have a callous attitude toward sin and wholesale quantities of it, “because sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the sons of men is fully set to do evil.” Ecclesiastes 8:11
The age of GRACE is so much easier for sinners. God has made provisions for us to beat sin & it’s penalties. It’s sad when folks turn away from God’s authorized salvation, preferring other (Christ rejecting) belief systems. The wiser approach is to accept Christ without delay or filibuster. Choose Jesus, He is alive. And let “the death sentence” of any kind take care of itself. See also “Death Bed Confessions” link 86.
Many other interesting titles: www.gospelnotes.net – Index is link 1. * * F. J. Stone * *