Anarchy, Morality, and Today

Think anarchy is the best answer for how men should live?

I am not sure if Israel having no king led to every man doing what was right in his own eyes, or if it was every man doing what was right in his own eyes that led to Israel having no king, or if the two simply were true without causation between them.

But one thing is sure, our morality is much like what was happening then. We may not yet be where our government is gone, but its breaking down as is morality.

Judges 17:6
In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Judges 21:25
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Voting for the lesser of two evils

Well.. I am eating humble pie. I wrote an article entitled “A vote is a mark of approval”, where I  wrote about the need to not vote for the lesser of two evils (in reference to voting for either Clinton or Trump in the US Presidential 2016 elections). In it, I wrote, “So before we give our approval to someone, we ought to realize we are GOD’s children and must reflect the choice GOD would have us make. When did Christ compromise so the lesser of two evils would be the outcome? I don’t find a single example of that in scripture.”

So its safe to say that I have felt much like John Piper and Max Lucado – to not vote for the lesser evil. But then God showed me that everyone is evil – the apostle Paul was the chief of sinners. God chose David – knowing he would steal a man’s wife and have her husband murdered.

While we cannot know ahead of time what someone will do in any given situation, we can go on their history when making choices. We have anecdotal stories of nice things Trump has done over the decades. And we have similar anecdotes of things Hillary Clinton has done – few if any of them being nice.

I cant imagine voting for Clinton. She a liar, having been fired from the Watergate investigation for ethics problems. The same has haunted her all her life – to say nothing of the list of people who have died under mysterious circumstances around her and her husband. She has hurt people, lied, stolen, and ignored people under her protection who had begged for support and help and caused people to die.

I had almost as hard a time deciding between Donald Trump and Darrell Castle. Castle is a Conservative Christian. He holds to the constitution, without it being considered a living document that is open to changing interpretations. He seems to embody all my ideals in a presidential candidate. But he simply can not be elected.

Does this matter? I think in a race where one electable candidate is a liberal socialist, who is corrupt and unethical, who is wants to bring into the USA unvetted immigrants from groups of people and from places which have promised to kill Americans and destroy the USA, someone who who treats people poorly and the other electable candidate is some one who MIGHT be just as liberal and might treat people just as poorly, but claims to be a conservative and claims will select conservative judges and justices, then yes. It matters.

Trump is almost as despicable as Clinton. Plenty of people have come forward and said Trump has spoken of and treated women poorly. Its claimed he is racist. Maybe he is – I dont know him, but I know he has fought local city government to have an inclusive country club.
http://www.impulsetoday.com/donald-trump-fought-to-include…/

I know he has directed the party platform to be decidedly conservative and made political promises which seem to show a more conservative side of him. Who knows if he will keep his promises.

So we have to choose to do what will effect the most good that we possibly can.

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Every election has always been between choices of sinners. If God didnt use sinners, He would have nothing to work with. So we choose between sinners (for the lesser of two evils), as has always been the case.

Or you can choose not to vote and so remove your vote from consideration in this election – which could effectively put into office someone who would do more damage than the other. Plus, I think one of the responsibilities of a citizen of a country which uses elections to select leaders is to vote – just as we should pledge allegiance to the country.

Or you can choose to vote for third party candidate – which does both: votes for a sinner AND removes your vote from consideration between the only two candidates who have any chance of being elected, again effectively allowing your vote to not swing an election to the lesser of two evils.

Either way – vote as God directs you.

Pledge of Allegiance

I saw where some have said we should not pledge allegiance to this nation, or its flag, or stand for the national anthem. The idea is that somehow there is no way this country could be under God, but instead is of the devil.  I thought I would address this.

1) No where in the Bible is a country equated to the devil.

2) Every country is established by God, so the idea of this nation being under God is just saying God is in control – even if the leaders deny Christ
Romans 13:1
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

Acts 17:26-27
26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

3) If God provides government, should Christians not be loyal to it? Peter commended us to submit to the government:
1 Peter 2:13-14
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

4) When asked whether to pay a tax to the government, Jesus said to render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s.

Mark 12:13-17

13 Then they *sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap Him in a statement. 14 They *came and *said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at.” 16 They brought one. And He *said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17 And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.

Paul said essentially the same thing  – this means to meet your responsibility to the government.

Romans 13:1-7

1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

5) Part of our responsibility is to be loyal to this country (although not to the exclusion of our loyalty to our family or Christ). This is exemplified through a promise of allegiance, the showing of respect for the country by standing at attention and singing the national anthem.

6) Some have asked about pledges. A pledge is not quite the same thing as an oath, as we see in Numbers 30:2
If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

In context, we are not to make to an oath by God or by ourselves. This does not mean to promise something, such as swearing allegiance to the country, but to make your yes mean yes – ALWAYS. Not to have to have to say “yes, I promise” when it should be good enough to say “yes”. Or instead of having to say something like “No, I swear on my mother’s grave”, we should say, “no”.

Matthew 5:33-37
33 “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.

7) Of course, this does not say this country is perfect. It is not, And neither does this say we are not to fight against injustice. We are to not be friends of the world (James 4:1-5). This does not mean to not be involved in the world, but to not covet and not be focused on our own pleasures. We are to escape the corruption of the world (2 Peter 2:20). This means we are to be pure in our hearts, holy, not that we are to avoid the world. We are not to love the world or anything in it (1 John 2:15), but this does not mean we are to not stop injustice or not help people in need. We are to be aliens and strangers in the world and abstain from evil desires (1 Peter 2:10-12), as if we are strangers to the world and dont know about the allures to be enticed. This does not mean to ignore injustice or hurting people – in fact we are to be ready to do what ever is good (Titus 3:1). We are to not be conformed to the pattern of the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). This does not mean we are to ignore injustice and not work to stop institutionalized injustice; it means we are to become more Christ-like in our inner selves and this should be reflected in our outter selves.

So we should feel free to say a promise of allegiance to this nation, as the nation was created by God, and its leaders are there because of God, and we should give to the government what it is due – this includes a pledge of allegiance or the respect of standing at attention and singing the national anthem.

A vote marks an approval

I am repeatedly asked for whom will I vote this presidential election.

I am a conservative person, in almost every way.

I am a registered republican, but I am not republican – I am a Christian. I do not believe i should vote for the lesser of two evils. I believe I should vote for the best, most godly, person. Hilary and Trump are both liars and dangerous and say what ever is convenient. Trump keeps changing his stated positions. Hillary Clinton has done much the same.

I will likely vote for the constitution party candidate. Am I worried that Hillary will be elected? No more than I am worried that Trump will be elected. I think both of them are equally bad for this country, in different ways. But not one will be in authority that GOD does not put there.

Romans 13:1
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

For me to vote for either Hillary or Trump is for me to approve of her or him – I do not approve of either one. I must vote my conscience – and my conscience says they are evil and I can not give my approval to evil.

We in this country have collectively turned away from God to sinful desires and/or to approving of those who sin or those sins. As such, I think God has made sure that we will get what we want and what we approve of – evil. I think God is turning this country over to their own desires.

Romans 1:28-32
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

I think there is a difference between not being good and being evil.
Mark 10:18
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

But God warns those who call what God calls evil good, and vice-versa.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Trump and Clinton are both known liars. Both are pro-abortion. Trump owns at least one strip club. People involved with Clinton end up dead.

I dont think any of us are perfect – we all sin. But I think this describes the people we are to put into office:
1 Peter 3:8-12
8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. 11 “He must turn away from evil and do good; He must seek peace and pursue it. 12 “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, And His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

So before we give our approval to someone, we ought to realize we are GOD’s children and must reflect the choice GOD would have us make. When did Christ compromise so the lesser of two evils would be the outcome? I don’t find a single example of that in scripture.

 

1 Peter 5:1-14

1 Peter 5:1-14

“Do it God’s way!”

 

1To the elders among you,

Peter is now writing directly to the leaders of the churches. But this applies to leaders everywhere.

 

I appeal as a fellow elder,

Acts 1:12-14. Peter was there when the church began. And by the time he wrote this letter, he would have been getting up there in age as well. Peter is reminding the elders that they have reason to listen to him – he’s earned that.

 

a witness of Christ’s sufferings and

Acts 3:15. Peter not only was there when the church began, but also when Christ suffered. This is more ammo to bring against people who might not have wanted to listen to him.

 

one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:

1 Peter 4:13. Peter loads more ammo into the gun he is about to fire. Peter is saying He is a believer, was there when Christ suffered and was there when the church began. He has every right to speak as he is going to speak.

 

2 Be shepherds of God’s flock

Peter is reminding the church leaders that the people they are supposed to care for are GOD’S people. And he’s reminding them that GOD put them in positions of influence. He’s also reminding them that they are to be shepherds – people who guide and protect those under their care. Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:16 – If you are in a position of influence, it is because God put you there. And that’s the case whether you are own a company, or are a manager, or a teacher, or a mother, or a father, or a big brother or sister. GOD put you there. This is true for any of us in positions of influence! And since GOD put you where you are, you need to be the leader God has called you to be.

 

that is under your care,

Guide and protect those God has given you authority over. Don’t worry about people who are not under your leadership – don’t borrow trouble. You’ve got enough to worry about with the people God HAS put under your control. Acts 20:29-30. Be aware of what’s happening with YOUR people – you might have a wolf in sheep’s clothing among your flock. KNOW those whom God has given into your care.

 

serving as overseers—

            SERVE! Don’t lord it over them, be a servant leader. An overseer is a superintendent, a supervisor, someone who manages something for someone else. The people God has given you influence over are there because of God. Do what GOD wants you to do, not what the world says. Don’t try to lead using the world’s patterns, lead by the Word of God! To do that, you MUST KNOW the Word of God – you have to know Christ, and you have to know the Bible. To do THAT, you have to pray daily, minute by minute sometimes, you have to be OPEN with GOD. You have to READ the Bible. You have to study the Bible. THEN you can LEAD by the Word of God.

 

not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be;

And we are to lead with the right motivation. God wants us to be willing to be where we are. God wants us to be WILLING to be the leaders he has called us to be. God wants us to have the right heart for the job – don’t be doing it out of pride, or anger or compulsion, or because no one else will do the job (although sometimes God removes other choices for leadership to make it so we have no choice but to become a leader, but if that’s the case, be sure its what GOD wants, and not what others want). Do it because God wants you to.

 

not greedy for money, but eager to serve;

Don’t be a leader out of greed. Don’t worry about the money – if its too little, God will provide. But instead of greed, have the heart of a servant. In fact, Peter says to be EAGER to serve. We have to have the right attitude. God not only cares about WHAT you do, and HOW you do it, but also about the ATTITUDE you do it with. Do it because God wants you to. And if GOD wants you to do something, then he will definitely provide what you need to do the job – just rely on him, and not yourself!

 

3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

            Don’t be bossy. Don’t take advantage of the situation. Don’t try to run people over. Don’t be a dictator. Don’t try to act like you are really something special. Don’t try to do it the way the world would have you do it – do it the way GOD wants you to do it. Be the leader GOD has called you to be. Be an example to those around you.

 

4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Being the leader GOD has called you to be, leading in the way that CHRIST led, by being a SERVANT leader, will gain you a crown that will last forever!

 

5 Young men,

Now Peter turns to those who are not leading. It says “young men”, but He’s talking to everyone who is not a leader in the current context. Of course, he’s speaking to those who are not leaders in the church, but it applies to everyone who is under the authority of someone else – wives, children, employees, citizens.

 

in the same way be submissive to those who are older.

In the same way that the leaders are to lead, with the right attitude, with the right motivation, in the right way, the people who are not in leadership need to follow. When the leaders of the church, or a family, or a company, make a decision, it needs to be respected – not rebelled against. Not gossiped about. Not ignored. It needs to be followed! If you don’t understand, then ask. If you don’t like it, then pray! Pray for God to reveal what HE is doing. Remember, God has put these people in the positions they are in and HE will work all things out for the good of those who love HIM. Pray for God to give you the right attitude and the ability to follow humbly. That’s not saying to not speak up, but first pray for what to say. And then pray some more!

 

All of you,

Now Peter is speaking to leaders and followers. He is speaking to everyone in the church. You, me, everyone in the church.

 

clothe yourselves with humility toward one another,

Humility is the act or state of being humble. Humble defined as “not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive”. The idea Peter is trying to express is to wrap humility about yourself and tie it on – like a woman does with a sarong. You have to wrap it just right, and tie it just right – otherwise you aren’t covering what needs to be covered and it will just fall off. You have to work at it at first; it takes practice. But eventually, you will be able to do it without thinking. You need to be humble with one another. Don’t be proud. Don’t be arrogant. Don’t try to act like you know more or are better or are smarter or are prettier or are taller or are anything that someone else in the church is not – you might be all of those things, but don’t ACT like it.  Be humble, not proud.

because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” a

            Proverbs 3:34. God will bless the humble – God will show grace and mercy to those who recognize their need for Him. When you know that GOD is in control and you’re not, then you wont be so proud. Be careful, God WILL teach that to you if you aren’t willing to learn it on your own!

 

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Another definition for humble is “expressing a spirit of deference or submission.” Recognize where you belong in the hierarchy. As good as you may or may not be, God is at the top! So humble yourself, because you are no where NEAR as good as God.

When you submit to GOD, through faith in Jesus Christ, He will lift raise you to be in heaven when its time.

 

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

            God cares so much for you that he gave his only son that you might live. If GOD cares for you, what more do you need? You need trust in God. You need to know who God is, and what God has done, and what God is doing, and what God will do. To do that, you need to pray, read the Bible, and pray some more! You need to know that you can trust him with your car, your house, your finances, your family, your job, your church, your life. Once you can trust God fully, on every point, in every thing, you will have no need to worry, or for medication to help you deal with depression or anxiety or any other mental condition. It’s a process. Its not usually instantaneous. So don’t go throwing your medications out the window just yet! Instead, take that first step: trust him with your soul. Then once you do that, trust him with something else of importance. And then something else. And then something else. And then something else. Until you get to where trusting God is natural. THEN you can get rid of the medications.

 

8 Be self-controlled and alert.

Don’t let anything control you. Don’t let your emotions control you. Don’t let your body control you. Don’t let what the world says control you. Be in control of yourself! And be alert! Look at what is going on around you. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Be aware!

 

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

            If you’re not a Christian, then you probably have little to worry about – he’s already eaten you or could do so when ever he wanted and you’d never know the difference. If you are someone who trusts Christ, then the devil is gunning for you. And if you are walking in faith, he’s really out to get you. And the more you walk by faith in Christ, the more the enemy will try to derail you! He can’t take away your salvation, but he can definitely try to discourage you. He can make you doubt. He can make you not want to walk by faith. He can make you ineffective for Christ. Look out for the enemy and his works!

 

9 Resist him,

standing firm in the faith,

You don’t have to worry about what the devil is doing, just be aware of it and resist his attempts to shake your faith or to make you in effective for Christ. Keep  growing in your ability to trust Christ.

 

because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

            Like the people Peter wrote to, you are not the only one suffering. There are other people going through the same thing you are. In fact, some of us have already been there and done that and gotten the T-shirt. The thing to do is to talk about what’s going on in your life. Who knows, you might meet someone who knows someone who can help – or maybe you talking about it will help someone else.

 

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,

Remember, God called you to faith in Christ! It was HIS doing. And while you might suffer now, in the end, you will be with Christ and THAT is what REALLY matters.

 

after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

You’re going to suffer. Its guaranteed. But hang in there. It wont last forever. And when its done, God will make it, and you, right.

11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Always give God praise.

 

12 With the help of Silas,[1] whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. 13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. [2]

Peter is closing the letter with greetings from different people he is with or has recently visited. But notice something, Peter said Silas was helping him write the letter. If Peter could ask a brother in Christ for help, why can’t YOU? Rely on your family in Christ. What Peter said is true. Live a life worthy of name by which you are called – Christ. Live humbly, respectfully, self-controlled, not frightened, submit to those in authority. Love one another. Resist the devil. Stand firm on God’s grace. We all suffer, but God works all things for the good of those who love him – even our suffering. GOD will make it all right, and restore you is true. Believe what GOD is saying through Peter.


[1] Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas

[2]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Pe 5:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

What does God say about the death penalty

Many Christians are against the death penalty because

1. Jesus said to turn the other cheek in Matthew 5:38-39,

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

2.  Jesus taught us to forgive in Matthew 6:15,

But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

3. Jesus said to not judge lest you be judged in Matthew 7:1,

Do not judge so that you will not be judged.

4. Paul taught believers in Rom. 12:14-19,

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, butassociate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, Iwill repay,” says the Lord.

5. People have a hard time believing that God, who is love, can suggest people should kill people who murder.

But lets take a look at the death penalty in scripture.

First, we must realize that spiritual death was the penalty for sin in the garden of Eden – Genesis 2:16–17 (this has never been abrogated, but was met with the death of Christ for those who believe and accept Him as Lord and Savior – 1 Corinthians 15:3).

Then God forbade the physical death penalty because of Cain’s complaint – Gen. 4:13-15.

13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! 14 Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.

Then without the death penalty, sin reigned in all the earth Gen. 6:12-13.

12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

Then the physical death penalty was implemented  after the flood – Gen. 9:6.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.

All of what I written about before this point was before the Law of Moses was given.

The Law reiterated that people who murder shall be killed Lev. 24:17-22,

17 ‘If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death. 18 The one who takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life. 19 If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall beinflicted on him. 21 Thus the one who kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who kills a man shall be put to death. 22 There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God.’”

The death penalty was not optional Num. 35:31-33.

31 Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. 32 You shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land before the death of the priest.33 So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.

So at this point, people are usually willing to accept that in the Old Testament God commanded the death penalty. But they claim that the New Testament rejects it.

First we have to realize that God was not saying to not judge between right and wrong or whether someone has done something they should not, but to not be a judgemental hypocrite (as can be seen in Matthew 7:1-5, see Should Christians Judge?).

Second, we must recognize that that God has forgiven adulteresses before and did not have them killed, ie. Gomer’s wife in Hosea 3:1,

Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.”

Yet, God still demanded people obey the Law, as we see in Hosea 4:6

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children

Third, we must realize that forgiveness is what an individual must do, but this does not remove the consequences of one’s actions – ie, if you break the law, the government will still prosecute. This is not an individual judgement of whether someone is good or bad, but a decision made upon whether one is guilty of breaking the law – these are entirely different things. Neither is prosecuting someone and being on a trial jury taking revenge – it is fulfilling part of the purpose of government (which we shall see below).

Now as to whether Jesus was against the death penalty, we can see that Jesus supported the death penalty in Mat. 15:3-4

And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’

and in Mark 7:8-11

Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; 11 but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you isCorban (that is to say, given to God),’

Now some will say that was Jesus recognizing what God had said in the Old Testament and it is not in effect for us today. But  capital punishment is reiterated elsewhere in the New Testament:

In Rev. 13:10, the apostle John wrote,

10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is theperseverance and the faith of the saints.

In 1 Tim. 1:8-9, the apostle Paul wrote,

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers

In Romans 13:1-5, we see at least part of the purpose and role of government, which is to bring wrath with the sword upon the one who does evil.

 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.

Paul supported capital punishment in Acts 25:11,

11 If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.

Some will ask, “Why does capital punishment not work in the USA?” God has an answer to that as well, in Eccl. 8:11,

11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

We have to find ways to implement accurate trials and execute punishment rapidly, rather than allow innocent people to be convicted and to allow years to pass while multiple appeals go through. Additionally, life sentences can never be executed quickly. So the length of time it takes for criminals to be punished works against the idea that punishment is a deterrent.

Our personal behavior must be one of forgiveness and turning the other cheek. But this is not the role of Government. Government must protect its people by punishing those who would not follow its laws. In this country, people on juries must ascertain the gilt or innocence of someone on trial.  God has said, in both the Old Testament (before the Law was given and in the Law itself) and in the New Testament, the punishment for murder is to be death.

Acts 26

Day 26, Acts 26.

This chapter begins with King Agrippa giving Paul permission to speak. This reminds me of the fact that God is our King and is the one we should go to when we seek permission to speak. So often we speak without thinking, without considering what we are saying, sometimes when we should hold our tongues. Do YOU ask God if you can speak, what you should say?

Paul was grateful that King Agrippa was present because he was an expert on the customs and questions concerning Jews. Paul laid out the briefest of personal histories, including the fact of why he was being accused – that he hold on to the promise which the Jews had been given long ago. He asked the question, “Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?” I think this is something we all need to ask ourselves! WHY is it so hard to embrace the fact that God raises the dead? Oh, we might say we believe it. We might agree with the facts. But our lives are empty of God’s power. Its because while we might agree with facts, we have no faith – that knowledge does not affect our lives. We need more than simple knowledge, we must trust in the facts and the promises inherent in those facts. God sent His Son to suffer and die for our sins, resurrected Him on the third day, so those who trust in what God did might have eternal life. Do you trust God? Do you have faith in Christ?

Paul went on to say how he persecuted those who followed Christ – even pursuing them to foreign cities.

12 “While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

 Paul and those with him were knocked to the ground. Jesus spoke to him in the Hebrew dialect (whether that was Hebrew or Aramaic is unknown), telling him he had been appointed a minister and witness to what he HAS seen and to the things in which Jesus would appear to Paul. Jesus sent Paul to the Gentiles so they could open their eyes, turn to God, so they could receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance.
Paul said that he had told Jews and Gentiles where ever he had gone to repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. And THAT was why the Jews seized him and tried to put him to death. But God helped him so he he could say what the Prophets and Moses had prophecied: “that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”
Festus claimed that Paul’s great learning had driven him crazy. Paul’s response? “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth.” Then he challenged King Agrippa with, “do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do.” Agrippa told Paul it would not take long to convert him. 
After Paul was finished, King Agrippa and Festus decided, “This man is not doing anything worthy of death or imprisonment.” And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
The chapter ended with Agrippa saying that had Paul not stood up for his rights, he might have been set free. But since he had appealed to Caesar, he had to go to Caesar, otherwise Festus would have been in trouble with the Roman authorities. They had a law that any Roman citizen on trial who appealed to Caesar had to be sent to Caesar, or those who denied that appeal would suffer severe consequences – death.
But while Paul might have been set free, God’s purpose would not have been met. Paul was to go to Rome to speak to the rulers there about Christ. Do you do what’s needed to speak to those who need to hear the truth?
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