Intro: Gen. 9:5-7
A. Important issue for people who are self-governed.
B. Important issue for rulers, where elected or not.
C. Important issue for victims of criminals.
D. Important issue for the criminals.
* A lesson on social responsibilities.
I. GOD IN THIS PASSAGE CERTAINLY GIVES MAN THE OPTION.
A. Verse 6 in particular. But note: the option does not mean that it is necessary.
B. Directly from God, this is uncontrovertable.
1. It is true that many of our fellow citizens cast the Bible away as archaic and irrelavant.
2. But many still respect the moral lessons and precepts which have been proven as not only wise, but essential in dealing with societys problems through the centuries.
3. Nevertheless, the Christian will respect what God says on such significant and pressing issues.
C. Perhaps a change from Gods rulings before the flood.
1. Gen. 4:10-15
2. Even though they did not walk in Gods ways, men were conscious of their guilt before God. Gen. 4:23-24.
3. If a change, why?
a. First, to govern man with a firmer hand. Gen. 8:21
b. Second, to give man a hand in judging such matters for himself, thus, letting man learn for himself the burden of sin. --And Solomon said to God: "You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place. "Now, O LORD God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. "Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?" (2 Chron. 1:8-10) --I Cor. 6:1-3----
II. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT UNDER MOSES.
A. Captial offenses:
1. Murder: "He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. (Ex. 21:12)
2. Striking or cursing mother or father. "And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. (Ex. 21:15) "And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. (Ex. 21:17)
3. Kidnapping. "He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death. (Ex. 21:16)
4. Reckless endangerment: "But if the ox tended to thrust with its horn in times past, and it has been made known to his owner, and he has not kept it confined, so that it has killed a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death. (Ex. 21:29)
5. Beastiality: "Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death. (Ex. 22:19)
6. Breaking the Sabbath: `You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. (Ex. 31:14)
7. Idolatrous human sacrifice. Lev. 20:2
8. Witchcraft: `A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones. Their blood shall be upon them.'" (Lev. 20:27)
9. Blasphemy: `And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall be put to death. (Lev. 24:16)
10. Adultery: `The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. (Lev. 20:10)
11. Homosexuality: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Lev. 20:13)
B. Purpose? "then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father's house. So you shall put away the evil from among you. (Deut. 22:21)
1. In this instance, God certainly thought capital punishment was a deterant to crime.
2. At least, those who were put to death for their error would cease and disist.
C. You remember that Jesus was judged worthy of death by the Pharisees, but the Jews did not have authority to exercise the death penalty.
1. Jesus was judged guilty as a Sabbath breaker on several instances.
2. And, He was condemned by the Great Sanhedrin for Blasphemy.
3. Mt. 26:57-66
III. HOWEVER, TODAY WE DO NOT LIVE UNDER THE LAW OF MOSES.
A. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Col. 2:13-14)
B. Who is to do the judging of sinners and criminals?
1. The Civil authorities. Not by virtue of their might, but because thats what God says today.
2. Rom. 13
3. Christ, not the powers of the world, is the one who first suggested the separation of church and state.
4. Mt. 22:15-22
C. So, God has left capital punishment matters in the hands of legislators and judges.
1. Such is appropriate.
2. Not for the weak of heart, but for those who are serious about dealing with societys problems.
3. Not for those whose judgment might be swayed by pride or prejudice, but for the sober.
4. Legislators, governors, and judges lose sleep over such matters.
5. On the one hand you might be endangering society by allowing an offender too much leniency, and on the other hand you might be too quick to punish an offender.
6. No wonder Solomon prayed for wisdom to judge his people.
IV. THE REAL PROBLEM COMES FROM DEALING WITH THE HUMAN HEART.
A. Of course, no one would want the death penalty for an offender if we could change his heart.
1. The Bible teaches forgiveness.
2. "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Mt. 6:14-15)
3. Jesus said to the adulterous woman, Go thou, and sin no more.
4. Thats what wed like to say to all transgressors.
B. However, there are other things to consider.
1. Punishment deters bad behavior.
a. Thats why we have time-out for children, spank them, or ground them to their rooms.
b. Thats why fines are issued to speeders.
c. Thats why we frown at people who say offensive things.
d. Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard. (Prov. 13:15)
2. And some are repeat offenders.
a. Some people simply need more attitude adjustment or corrective discipline than others.
b. Some learn slowly, but some seem to not learn at all.
c. A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool. (Prov. 17:10)
d. Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools. (Prov. 19:29)
e. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. (Prov. 9:8)
f. Natural personality traits, upbringing, personal hardships, inequities in society, work together to bring out the bad in some people. Also work to bring out the good. It's up to each one.
3. However, some behavior is simply unthinkable.
a. If a person knows that murder, kidnapping, assault, or treason might mean the end of his life, surely he will never even consider such acts.
b. If not for self, then for the family! How can one even consider leaving the children fatherless, the wife without provision, destroying the family name, or to bring reproach on the Lords church.
c. Adultery, blasphemy (some of the words we hear today), homosexuality, witchcraft, Sabbath-breaking, cursing/ striking mother or father. All these are UNTHINKABLE acts.
C. These prohibitions, and the things encouraged by Gods word, are the ways God strives with man to make him as he ought to be.
1. If you want to be right with God, look into His word, and walk wih those who are like-minded.
2. If you are not concerned, you might end up with a world much like Noahs: a world filled with treachery, ungodliness, and violence.
3. And worse, you will spend eternity with that kind of people.
GOD GIVES MAN THE OPTION OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.
A. We see it after the flood.
B. We see it specically in the Law of Moses.
C. And God certainly gives mankind that option today.
By George Hutto
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