The Boston Bombing: What Christians should think about the Death Penalty

Genesis 9:6  “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” 

I am always amazed at just how upside down the reason of social architects and liberal thinkers can be.  At some point I have to think if this world gets any more upside down someone is bound to fall off.  The Bible tells us that in a sense there is a degree of insanity in the mind of a man who doesn’t have the mind of Christ, (see Romans 1), and the insanity of the lost world is so prevalent that it is the societal norm.

Specifically what is astounding to me is the irrationality of those people who are against the death penalty, but for abortion.  In other words, they want to spare the guilty and kill the innocent.  With the verdict in the case of the Boston bombing surviving terrorist being rendered, it remains to be seen what the social thought is going to be about his deserved sentence.

While every case has its own set of circumstances, and every scenario its own nuances, people who call themselves Christians often still find themselves divided over the very idea or principle of even having a death penalty.  What is a Christian to think about this ever-present issue?  A Christian is to think whatever the Word of God instructs us to think.  Never think outside the book.  Every Christian is to always get their thinking from the scripture, not the culture, from the Word of God and not the world of man.

Biblically thinking, in short, as long as there is a rainbow in the sky there is a divine ordinance establishing the penalty of death upon every verified murderer.  In Genesis 9:6, the Lord inscribed in the same promise never to judge the earth with water again, the premise that murderers are in fact candidates for the death penalty.  It is not an issue of the “Old law”, nor nullified in the New Covenant, it is tied to the rainbow in the sky, meaning that it transcends all of time from then until the Kingdom comes.

Now all of that being said, it is not necessarily a “mandate.”  Moses, David, and Paul, are three murderers that come to mind, that the Lord dealt mercifully and differently with.  Every verified murderer is a candidate for the death penalty, and every authority is under the mandate to administer wise and proper justice.  What cannot and should not be is just an outright abandonment of the divine ordinance.

The great irony is that all murderers should be forgiven regardless of their punishment.  Sometimes when a murderer is being put to death there will be people waving signs, singing songs, and chanting sayings about “forgiveness.”  Someone will be interviewed who says, “God told us to forgive, and we think they should be forgiven.”  To which, I can say a hearty amen.  I think they should be forgiven before they die.  There is something right about a verified murderer dying forgiven.  Forgiveness does not now, nor has it ever meant no consequences.  Every saved man will die forgiven, but he will still die!  Death came about only because of sin, but just because I’ve been “forgiven” doesn’t mean I am no longer living under the death sentence of Adam.

As my favorite preacher, Adrian Rogers used to say, “All murder is killing, but not all killing is murder.”  That being said every case is in fact its own case.  Even as God began to lay out the old covenant, He gave different guidelines for different cases of people being killed by others; but He never removed the death penalty for cold-blooded murder, and even underscored it in Romans 13 for us.

Anytime a Christian is called upon to have an opinion about some social issue or thought, it is incumbent on them to get their thinking from the scripture.  As the dialogue over this Boston bombing case takes place over the next few days and weeks, getting our thinking from the scripture is a most needed change worth making.


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