The Death Penalty 2 (Government, Love Your Enemies, Adultery Examples) | Victor Tey


Part two of my series on capital punishment. This sermon covers the responsibility and authority of government and how to correctly interpret “resist not evil” and “love your enemies”. Then I apply this understanding to two scenarios in the NT scriptures, the woman caught in adultery and the fornicator at the church in Corinth.

The death penalty is the responsibility and authority of government, not individuals – Romans 13:1-6

  1. v1 – God has ordained human authorities to execute judgment
    1. He created the office, not necessarily the one who is filling the office
    2. Just as God ordained the offices of bishop and deacon to govern a church. But not everyone fulfilling those offices were the will of God.
    3. They ought to be looking to God for direction on how to rule, just as bishops look to God on how to rule the church of God.
  2. v4 minister of God – We want God to judge sin, and one way he does is via the execution from government. The government is a servant of God.
  3. v6 pay ye tribute – This is one thing our taxes should be paying for.
  4. v6 attending continually – Criminal punishment is not only an OT law.
  5. “How can Christians be against murder and yet be for capital punishment?”
    1. Exodus 20:13 – “thou shalt not kill” is the individual, not government. Otherwise this would be a contradiction with the capital punishment laws in Exodus 21
    2. Matthew 19:18 do no murder
    3. Exodus 23:6-9 – The death penalty is not murder. Murder is the killing of an innocent person, not executing a guilty criminal.
    4. Orlando shooting was technically murder, which is why we don’t praise the method. But we would praise the end for those that are guilty of homosexuality, they got what they deserved.

The correct interpretation of “resist not evil” and “love your enemies” – Matthew 5:38-48

  1. Matthew 5:38-42 that ye resist not evil
    1. ill. Once I was having lunch with a member from my old church who disagreed with me when I said I supported capital punishment. They quoted these verses.
    2. Jesus is not teaching that there should be no criminal justice, he is the one that ordained it
    3. What is being taught here is that you ought not take the law into your own hands as an individual.
    4. v39 – do not retaliate when assaulted
    5. v40 – if you lose at court you comply as long as it isn’t sin (Rom 13:1 – higher powers)
    6. v41-42 – when you are asked for help, do above and beyond what is expected
    7. Seems that people were using “eye for an eye” as a justification for personal revenge
      1. Romans 13:4 – government is the “revenger” that executed “eye for an eye”
      2. Romans 12:14-21
        1. v14 – seeking God ordained justice is not cursing someone
        2. v17 – evil for evil – justice is not evil
        3. v19 – avenge not yourselves, give place unto wrath – the place is God and the powers that are ordained of God, government, church
        4. v21 – overcome evil with good, a just avenue for crimes is the law, this is right and good.
        5. Interesting that these passages precede Romans 13 concerning government authority to punish evil doers. Concluding that love is the fulfilling of the law.
      3. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 – see that none render evil for evil… follow that which is good.
      4. Example of going outside the legal system:
        1. Exodus 21:22-25 – mischief follow
        2. There was a just punishment for the crime, but “eye for an eye” is the penalty for taking revenge into your own hands.
        3. I believe this is there to encourage due process and discourage lawlessness
  2. Matthew 5:43-48 love your enemies
    1. Christ is teaching that you ought to do right whether they are your enemy or not
      1. Don’t equate love with lawlessness and injustice
      2. 1 John 5:3 that we keep his commandments – you’re not loving your enemies when you are breaking God’s commandments.
    2. Luke 6:31-35 – nothing special if you only do right to those who treat you well
      1. 1 Peter 2:18-21 suffering wrongfully
    3. Christ is not teaching that government should not be doing its responsibility
    4. Romans 13:7-10
      1. v7 – tribute to whom tribute is due – refer back to Romans 13:6 on the reason we pay tribute
      2. v10 – love worketh no ill to his neighbour
      3. Desiring justice is not desiring evil to your neighbour.
      4. If someone stole money from you and you have appealed to them and amongst witnesses and you bring it to the church, is that wrong? So why would it be wrong to get justice via the God ordained law?
    5. Matthew 22:34-40 – hang all the law – wouldn’t this include the execution of punishments including capital punishment
      1. “Love God” – I love his laws and want them put in place and carried out
      2. “Love thy neighbour as thyself”
        1. If I commit murder I would expect the government to put me to death too.
        2. If I am wronged, I would want society to support the just punishment of the criminal. I want justice, I also want justice for my neighbours.
      3. There’s more than just the criminal to consider
        1. We need to love the victim also.
        2. The less evil that is put away, the more corrupt a society gets, which then can risk more people going to hell due to the perversion taught in a society.
        3. We have allowed sexual orientation to be equated with race, we have given rights to all religions and every day our society becomes less and less christian.
        4. Now we have ungodliness, a media run by sexual perverts who are now slowly taking over our government, schools, health, etc.
        5. Increased confusion when it comes to spiritual truths and droves of children leaving the faith and the increase in false religions like islam.

Applying this understanding to situations found in the bible:

  1. Woman caught in adultery – John 8:1-11
    1. Jesus often did not always give straight answers
      1. Mark 11:27-33 – Jesus not giving a straight answer
      2. Mark 10:17-27 – Jesus answering to make his questioner reflect inwardly
    2. Jesus could not condemn her as a judge without accusers (witnesses) John 8:10
      1. Even though he knows all, humanly speaking he is not a witness.
      2. The first stone (see Deu 17:6-7) refers to the witnesses
      3. But he put an extra condition (without sin) so no one could step forward
    3. Jesus did not have the authority to execute the death sentence because he was under the authority of the Roman government.
      1. John 19:10-11 – Jesus acknowledged this power when confronted by Pilate
      2. John 8:6 – the pharisees knew this, so they didn’t stone her for that reason (John 18:28-32)
      3. Jesus never said that she did not deserve the death penalty
      4. This is the trap they were trying to set. Either he would deny the law of Moses or break the Roman laws.
      5. ill. Imagine if this happened today? Unfortunately most preachers these days would be quick to deny the laws of Moses.
      6. If she was caught in the act, where was the man? They obviously were not overly concerned with carrying out the law of Moses correctly.
      7. Jesus could have just explained this but I guess he did things in a much more profound way because he’s God.
  2. Corinthian adulterer – 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
    1. v2 puffed up – so proud of their “love”
      1. Think back to Mat 5:38-48 when people equate love with not properly dealing with sin and crime.
    2. v5 destruction of the flesh – sounds like capital punishment to me
    3. v13 God judgeth – via the government or supernaturally
    4. 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 – Corinthian adulterer repents
      1. “We should just love them, not seek for them to be put to death”
      2. This is an example of someone who has repented and asked forgiveness
      3. Matthew 18:21-22 – till seventy times seven
      4. You can forgive someone and yet still desire that justice is carried out.
      5. eg. murderers sentenced to death and the victims families are able to say a final word to them before they are executed (Jeffrey Dahmer).
      6. Without repentance, it would have just stayed at, get out of the church and the government will deal with you as it should.
      7. I assume, like Australia, the Roman government did not punish adultery with death
      8. Were the homos in Orlando repentant? They certainly wouldn’t be allowed in our church and I like Paul have judged already that they are delivered unto Satan (already delivered perhaps) for the destruction of the flesh. And if for some reason one of the victims was saved, then the spirit would be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Cor 5:5)
    5. “Even if adultery was punishable by death, they only loved him, they didn’t seek his death.”
      1. ill. Would you apply that to a murderer? A rapist?
      2. Why are you going soft on adultery and homosexuality?
      3. Maybe you’ve been brainwashed by the media and Hollywood that it’s not so bad and you no longer equate these sins with murder. God does.
  3. “But we all deserve death” Romans 6:23
    1. Spiritually… but we all don’t deserve capital punishment
    2. That would have made the OT laws really simple. Capital punishment for ANYONE that sins.

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