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Capital Punishment

Law and Punishment – God Ordained

  1. I am not an expert in criminology. I do not want to offer simple solutions to complex problems.
  2. The Bible does speak to the subject of law and punishment.
  3. There is a danger that our emotions will over ride our commitment to the Bible.
  4. God has ordained that a reasonable system of law and punishment be established.
    1. Because His Holy nature demands it.
    2. 1 1 John 1:5 "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."

      2 God is Holy – He could never condone cruelty, murder, theft, etc.

      3 The primary purpose of law enforcement and punishment for crime is to vindicate the authority of law as an expression of God’s holy nature.

    3. Because it benefits mankind
      1 Deter crime
      2 Protect the public
      3 Exert an uplifting influence

Principles of Punishment

  1. Only governmental authorities given the legal right to administer punishment.
    A. Lynch mobs are wrong. Personal vengeance, "law in our own hands."
    B. Compare Romans 12:17-21 and 13:1-8
    C. There is no contradiction. Personal vengeance is wrong (12:17-21)
    D. God will punish through civil governments (13:1-8)
  2. The punishment must be in direct proportion to the nature and degree of the wrong.
    A. Exodus 21:24-25 "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth." This is not harsh. It is a demand for perfect justice. Make sure the punishment fits the crime.
    B. Too harsh a penalty results in bitter, anger and rebellion.
    C. Too lax a penalty results in lawlessness, chaos and anarchy.
  3. The Lord demands a fair and equitable justice for all levels of society.
    A. Rich or poor, black or white – makes no difference to justice.
    B. Statue of "Justice" with a blindfold on. Justice is not blind to facts and evidence. But, Justice must be blind to who the person is – race, sex, color, education, position, wealth, etc.
    C. Leviticus 19:15 "Do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great."
    D. Amos 5:12 "You oppress the righteous and take bribes and deprive the poor."
  4. Punishment must be administered with a sense of compassion.
    A. Justice must use compassion – on the criminal and on society.
    B. Justice may even demand death – but never with pleasure.

Arguments for Capital Punishment

  1. Some arguments AGAINST capital punishment.
    A. Examples of injustice – the rich get off, poor are punished.
    B. There is inequity in the system. We must seek to remove it.
    C. When a man is executed, society becomes guilty of MURDER.
    D. Jail (being held against one’s will) – Is this kidnapping?
    E. Fined for speeding (taking money against one’s will) – It this stealing?
    F. We can not "Play God" and decide who should live or die.
    G. "Playing God" would be to decide if one could be saved in heaven or not.
    H. Killing is wrong. (Exodus 20:13)
    I. The Hebrew word is for murder. Not all killing is wrong – accidental, self-defense, war, animals (for food), policemen (protect society).
  2. It was demanded in the Bible.
    A. Genesis 2:17 "In the day you eat of it, you shall surely die."
    B. Genesis 9:6 "Whoso sheds mans blood, my man shall his blood be shed."
    C. The death penalty was demanded for many offenses: Adultery – Leviticus 20:10; Incest and sexual perversion – Leviticus 20:11-14; Premarital sex – Deuteronomy 22:21; Rape – Deuteronomy 22:25-26; Bestiality – Leviticus 20:15-16; Kidnapping – Exodus 21:16; Cursing / Hitting one’s parents – Exodus 21:15-17; Witchcraft, occult, sorcery – Exodus 22:18; False teachings / Prophesying – Deuteronomy 13:1-10; Blasphemy – Leviticus 24:16; Sabbath violations – Exodus 35:2; Murder – Exodus 21; Worship of other gods / Idolatry – Exodus 22:20; Sodomy (Homosexuality) – Leviticus 20:13.
    D. God, Himself, was either directly or indirectly involved in the death penalty.
    The flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Egyptians’ first born, Kadesh-Barnea, Korah’s rebellion, Nabal, Uzzah, 185,000 Assyrians, Jews in wilderness, Lot’s wife, Ananias and Sapphira, King Herod.
  3. It is reasonable.
    A. Capital punishment satisfies the human sense of justice.
    B. Life is sacred and precious.
    C. The death penalty is not cruel or barbaric. It is perfectly fair. Many have admitted their guilt and the justice of their punishment.
    D. Luke 23:41 – Thief admits that it is reasonable the he should die.
  4. It is an effective deterrent.
    A. Many statistics bear this out.
    B. When not administered fairly, swiftly, and consistently – less of a deterrent.
    C. Today – 10% of those sentenced to death will be executed.
    D. When the Supreme Court struck down the death penalty – murders rose quickly.
    E. Murder has increased 96% since 1971 court decision. (9,000 to 17, 630)
    F. Out of the 17,630 murders – only 25-30 are executed for their crime.
    G. Some try to claim that capital punishment is not a deterrent. The purpose is punishment, not deterrent to crime.
    H. Should we do away with all laws? Prison does not insure that no more cars will be stolen or drugs sold on the streets.
  5. It protects the innocent.
    A. A criminal put to death will harm no more.
    B. From 1960 to 1970 – 19 men who killed a policeman had previously been convicted of first-degree murder.
    C. Some states now have a "three strikes – you’re out" policy. Often this is two strikes too late.

The Christian’s Responsibility

  1. Pray for the leaders of our government.
    A. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
    B. 1 Peter 2:13-16
    C. You may disagree with them politically on some issue, but still pray for them to use wisdom and courage to do what is morally right.
    D. The purpose – That you may lead a quiet and peaceful life.
  2. Submit willingly to authority.
    A. Romans 13:1 – "Submit himself to the governing authorities"
    B. We ought to obey God rather than men – Acts 5:29
    C. NOT – when I disagree, don’t like it.
    D. 1 Peter 2:13-14
  3. Be a witness to the nature of God as it relates to man and morals.
    A. 1 Peter 3:15 Be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have.
    B. Help people learn the distinction between right and wrong.
    C. If right and wrong become matters of personal opinion there is no supreme moral lawgiver and ruler.
    D. Christians must also speak out for human rights (around the world) as well as here in the USA.

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