Posts Tagged ‘criminology’

10
May

Just Punishment

   Posted by: Caleb Motupalli    in Global Polity, International Justice, Justice

God’s face (Justice) and not His back (Goodness), is the best of Love (Exodus 33:17-19; John 1:14; cf. 1Jn4:8). God taught His children, even as early as Abel, to kill, to keep us from being a wimp in doing justice.

Jesus “affirmed retributive justice by His own death on the cross” ~ Dr. Mark Creech of the Christian Action League.

A dead man comes back to life to show that a man need not die if he is clean (Rom1:3-4; cf. Rom6:23; Gen2:17). That a totally innocent man needs to be put to death so that “his blood would be upon us and our children” and then for him to rise again from the dead to show that our sins have indeed been forgiven IN him, is self-evident, requiring no evidence to defend it.

That God loves us, is true. But there is a limit to His tolerance, beyond which we can find ourselves in hell. When we live by the Golden Rule and don’t cross His line, He will not cross ours. God has provisioned a framework (church) for self-correction. No use feeling sorry after you are caught.

Here is the basic problem of lawlessness in the leading edge of society today that is driving the whole earth to its demise: “To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience” (AW Tozer). In the name of liberty and freedom, everything goes. The result: 42nd Street in New York City, Abortion-on-Demand, Same Sex marriage, etc, etc. At this rate, 10 years from now, I would not be surprised if sex/marriage with animals too will be legalized. Next thing you know, we are the late great planet earth.

When the Bible says that Jesus atoned for our sins, it does not mean that even our future sins were washed away in the Waters of Baptism, obviating the need for any subsequent obedience per se. In Romans3:25 and 2Peter1:9, the Apostles clearly teach that only sins previously committed were atoned for by the sacrifice of Christ. This means that the inadvertent sins that are committed after the washing of Baptism, if they are not confessed and “feet-washed” (forgiven through the ordinance, which is in the order of John20:21-23), will remain as charges in God’s books, pending payment of a penalty.

The second kind of sins (omissions and commissions) that can get accumulated are the wilful sins or the presumptuous sins, which David dreaded. Hebrews 10:26ff reads: “For if we go on sinning  wilfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no more sacrifice [of Jesus Christ] is left but only a fearful expectation of judgment and the fury of fire…” In Luke12:47-48, Jesus Himself speaks of greater punishment for those who know the will of God and don’t do it, when compared to those who sin not knowing the will of God, to begin with. Listen! Abused grace/mercy deserves double or even treble punishment.

Woe unto those who soft-pedal God’s justice and have turned Christianity into a yes-man!

In view of the above two types of unpaid sins, a people who practice Christianity, if they want to see Justice, Peace and Wealth—the three metrics of good governance—to exist, they must put in place some sort of retribution, including the Death Penalty for those deserving it. Individuals do not have the right to kill another, but a Christian state (two or three Christians gathered in Jesus’ name to bind or loose anything on earth as per Matthew18:15-20) has that prerogative to do so. Bro. Nicky Gumbel writes in an article on “How to love”:

The New Testament makes a distinction between the dealings of the state and personal morality. Governing authorities are established by God and ‘the one in authority is God’s servant to do you good… They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer’ (Romans 13:4). The state is concerned with the protection of others. To stand by and allow injustice would actually be unloving and unchristian. It would be to allow evil to go unchecked, and to ignore the pain of the victims. Yet, in personal morality we are told, both by Jesus and the apostle Paul, not to take revenge (Matthew 5:38–42; Romans 12:17–19). This attitude of love and forgiveness is not to deny justice, but rather it is an expression of trust in God’s ultimate justice (see Romans 12:19). As we trust in God’s justice, we are empowered to imitate his love.

Here, the raison d’être of Just punishment is not for the sake of deterrence, since the indwelling Holy Spirit is sufficient as a Restrainer for Christian individuals, in so far as the conscience is sensitized for any given sin. But if victims are to be healed, and perpetrators to be reformed, then Just punishment, even though it is a basic provision, is necessary. It is also consistent with a just and loving God, who declares: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed,  for God made man in his own image.”

Apostle Paul takes issue with those who turn the grace of God into a license to sin: “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law” (Romans3:31). As to how God establishes the Law through Jesus Christ, we read in Romans8:3: “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and offering Him for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.” That is, Jesus’ death on the cross vindicated the Father of His wrath on any transgressed law. While it is not for an individual to kill a person for any reason, it is the state’s prerogative here, not merely for the sake of deterrence, but also, in the name of Christ, to judge and execute those deserving retribution & capital punishment. “The just use of executions, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this (Fifth) Commandment, which prohibits murder” ~ Pope Pius V, The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566). If being pro-life does not mean death for those who do not value it, what does?

You may ask: “what about the woman caught in adultery in Jesus’ time?” Jonathan Merritt writes, “Jesus served as a one-man jury on this death-penalty case. The woman was guilty of the capital offense and had been caught in the act by at least one witness. The law mandated her death but Jesus prescribed a different response: “Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone.” He was teaching that only a perfect being—only God—should have power over death and life. Yes, it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE” (Hebrews 10:30). My answer is that she would be saved by Christ Himself, in the future, on the cross. Jesus is the saviour for all people past, present and future. While we in the present look back in time for a saviour, those in the Old Testament time looked into the future for a saviour, including the woman caught in adultery. Jesus did not throw the first stone because He chose mercy in HER case. Laying down a pattern for us, who are to carry the cross, He was Himself paying the penalty in her case. Jesus was certain that she would respond positively to the Gospel if it were presented to her (cf. Romans2:11-16). Jesus had confidence in this woman in particular because she was not in league with teachers of the Law, or some other lofty status in life, for one thing. Conceivably, she possessed the requisite humility for receiving the Good News (Gospel) in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. C.S. Lewis so eloquently put it this way:

“Prostitutes are in no danger of finding life so satisfactory that they can’t turn to God: the proud & self-righteous are in that danger.”

The fact that He sacrificed Himself to death, affirms, first and foremost, the principle that a sin has to be paid for.  Just as a teacher of the Law is more accountable for sins committed than a layperson (James3:1), a nation who KNOW fully well the full import of why Jesus had to die such a cruel death, which is never to be repeated again for any sins of theirs, should have in place the strictest, most severe, capital punishment; even torture, followed by death. But for cases that are “too hard” for us, to send them to God per Deut1:17 using a painless lethal injection is justifiable, even virtuous. Jesus declares that this truth is self-evident by saying: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more” (Luke12:48b). For this same reason, Prophet Muhammad (exclusively judged here) and all those who:

  • Presumptuously believe Allah will provide Christians as substitutionary sacrifices in place of Muslims in order to enter paradise per Hadith Sahih Muslim 37:6665, 37:6666, 37:6668
  • After having acknowledged most of the truths in the Torah, Tanakh, and Injeel, now believe in diversions from the truth (i.e. interspersing truth with lies/diversions/mischief such as Koran 2:111 and Koran 2:135)

are condemned to be tortured, followed by death. Unless of course, they, as an Ummah (Muslim community) seek mercy.

You see, forgiveness is available only for those who do not know what they are doing (Injeel Luke 23:34).

However, those convicted to death, must be given ample time to set themselves right before God, before the execution is actually administered. The convicted can then give himself the benefit of having received Christ into his heart and in so doing, be satisfied of having already crossed over from death to life (Jn5:24) before his execution. For he knows that the resurrection of Jesus Christ had to have happened to show that death is only for sinners and not for him, who got all his sins washed away in the waters of Resurrection Baptism. He can rejoice with hope that his name is written in the Lamb’s book of life and join with Apostle Paul, who defiantly told death: “O death, where is thy sting?” For, it is the second death a Christian is more concerned about. As to whether this is sufficient relief for a Christian on death row, we must assert that willful sin must be paid for!

But it is a whole different scenario where a nation have not yet got the full import of why Jesus had to die such a cruel death, which we Christians fully know is for those very inadvertent sins we commit daily, sins for which we come again and again to wash our feet, so to speak. Here, the state cannot take upon itself the duty of cutting short the grace period of anyone before they can enter into eternal life. Within a nation where the Gospel is not fully preached, Capital Punishment robs a person from repenting—a process that is gradual—and being born-again. Such states are commanded to allow the work of missionaries, who follow Jesus, taking upon themselves His incarnational mission by being living sacrifices, and save that soul from eternal damnation; not snuff it out deliberately and even corporately before God’s appointed day for him/her.

I am not suggesting that execution need to be postponed until they accept the Gospel. Neither am i saying that they should be executed soon after they do. The execution and disciplining need to be handled separately. As to how much time is enough time, can be arrived at through consensus in your legislative assemblies. That a fixed time be given for repentance, is consistent with our own lease of life that God allots to us–70 years or at the most 80 years (Psalms90:10). God will not strive with man forever; neither should the state.

And yet again, there is a whole different scenario for those who are under the Law of Moses, having been circumcised, just as Jews and Muslims are. For these, deterrence is the issue; the state should take an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, until the state itself gets macroscopically evangelized to Christianity, which is of a higher order. In an upcoming post, i hope to deal with the issue of Dual-Covenant Theology, which is close on the heels of this article.

No one can say that they have not heard the Gospel. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Rom1:20). Today, all nations more or less, have this great cloud of witnesses as well, surrounding them. No one can afford to neglect so great a salvation–a provision of God, who liberally gave us His Son, even to die for us on the cruel cross of Calvary. It is blasphemous on the part of any nation’s leadership to reject the very remedy for sin, which causes death in people. It is an unpardonable sin for which not even prayers can be offered.

Every nation is obliged to legislate this self-evident Just Punishment, which is based on the Gospel truth.

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