Sunday, September 13, 2020

Christian Politics – Part 5: Crime and Punishment

 

Christian Politics –

Part 5: Crime and Punishment

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

Online Audio Files | HOF Church Facebook | Truth Digest Facebook

 

This Document is a Sermon Outline, you may hear the full audio of the actual sermon by following the link Online Audio Files located above for this, and other Full Sermon Audios.  For a complete list of Sermon Outlines, visit TruthDigest.org or Truth Digest on facebook; for our Official Church website, visit PS127.org, or find us on Facebook at House of Faith Church

 


SERMON INTRODUCTION

 

Over the last few weeks we have discussed the following issues and shown where the bible stands.

Ø  Jesus, if a U.S. Citizen, would vote in elections to fulfill citizenship duties

 

Ø  What about the matters of life and death?

o   Healthcare – Miracles, modern medicine & personal control over decisions (not government/insurance/doctor control)

 

o   Suicide & Euthanasia – for reasons other than defense of self, family, property or country, the intentional killing of ones self, or another is murder, and wrong according to God.

 

o   Abortion & Stem Cells – Abortion too is the intentional killing of an innocent, and considered murder since scripture show that life truly begins at the moment of conception when God begins to knit you in the womb where He also names you.

 

Ø  Crime and punishment

Ø  War, defense, and national security

Ø  Guns and matters of defense

Ø  Immigration and matters of national security

Ø  Marriage

Ø  Education

Ø  Economy, budget, trade, campaign finances

Ø  Green Values

 

 SCRIPTURE READING

Romans 13:1-7

 

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

 

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

 

ILLUSTRATION

At the foot of the gallows, the condemned man recited Psalm 51 and added a word of personal repentance. A shroud was placed over his head, and he climbed the ladder, which the executioner then pulled away, leaving him to “dance upon nothing,” as the vernacular put it. Thousands looked on as the hangman did his gruesome work. What then was the offense of the condemned?

 

Poaching a rabbit.

 

This was one of over 200 capital offenses in early 19th century England. The list of capital offenses included “impersonating an Egyptian,” forgery, “steal[ing] an heiress,” burning a hut or a pile of straw, cutting down an ornamental shrub, or appearing on a highway with a sooty face (the mark of a robber).

 

Such offenses, most of which concerned the protection of property, could send even a 10-year-old to the gallows.

 

Since the first sin in the garden, there has been consequence to sin. However, where do we draw the line between sin and obscenity?

 

Do the “offenses” designated by the moral compass of a society truly fit in with God’s defined morality, and are the man-made punishments truly fitting of the proposed crimes?

 

Question: Is it truly moral of a society to put a 10-year-old to death by hanging for cutting down an ornamental shrub, as was done in the 19th Century?

 

As discussed in previous sermons, it is my firm belief that morality must NOT fall into the hands of a society where it evolves and is redefined as sin becomes more accepted through the teaching of tolerance and disbelief in God and the Holy Bible.

 

If morality is left to an ever-changing society, does morality itself lost its meaning?

 

God, never changing, and the Holy Bible as our true moral compass is where all laws and appropriate punishments should derive if a society is to live and prosper under a godly and right rule.

 

I propose the following.

1.    What does the Bible say about crime?

2.    What does the bible say about punishment?

3.    What does the Bible say about capital punishment?

 

             I.        THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN SIN AND CRIME

a.    Sin and crime should be the same thing, but they are not

                                                 i.    If sin were the base of crime definition, we would have far more freedoms, and far less repeat-offenders in our society.

 

                                               ii.    Crime is defined as “an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden, or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law, and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law.” Thus, crime is an infraction of a government law.

 

                                              iii.    Many sins are recognized as crimes; however, some are not.

 

                                              iv.    There are also crimes defined by governments which should never have been considered crimes, or punished in such a harsh manner, and do not line up with what God considers sin.

1.    In Arizona it is illegal to feed garbage to pigs without first purchasing a permit.

2.    In Arkansas it is illegal for a pinball machine to give away more than 25 free games to someone who keeps winning.

3.    In Idaho cannibalism is strictly prohibited and punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

                                               v.    Do we need laws that are not sin? Maybe. However, it is my belief that if society-based laws on God’s word, and truly lived by it, other laws, such as not eating humans, would not be needed.

 

1.    And who cares if a farmer feeds his pigs his table scraps? Does paying the state for a piece of paper make the garbage better for the pig?

 

2.    Who cares how many free games a pinball machine gives to someone who keeps winning at the game?

 

 

b.   So, the difference between sin and crime is?

                                                 i.    Sin is offense against God defined by His Word.

                                               ii.    Crime is an offense against Government, defined by its laws.

                                              iii.    And both have punishments when violated.

 

 

c.    What does the bible say about punishment?

                                                 i.    Punishment is “the act of penalizing an offender for a sin or a crime, and it is a payment for wrongdoing.”

 

                                               ii.    Some believe that punishment is strictly for “rehabilitation”

1.    However, the statistics from 1994 show that out of the criminals released from prison;

2.    44% were arrested within the first year

3.    67.5% were arrested within 3 years

4.    And 82.1% with 16 or more arrests were also arrested within 3 years of release.

5.    Statistics show, incarceration does not rehabilitate.

 

                                              iii.    Some believe punishment is a “deterrent” from continuing crime.

1.    Though it may keep the criminal from committing crime on the streets, statistics show that they just continue to commit crimes while incarcerated in most cases.

 

2.    In fact, many say that being locked up is where they learned new skills, and even refer to it as a university.

 

 

           II.        If punishment does not rehabilitate us, and it is not a deterrent, then what is it for?

a.    The primary purpose of punishment is retribution

                                                 i.    Those who break laws are responsible for paying a price for breaking the laws. (Exodus 21:23-25)

 

                                               ii.    More importantly that paying a price for doing wrong, the price paid (the punishment) MUST fit the crime!

 

                                              iii.    It IS WRONG to give the death penalty to a poacher, or for cutting down a shrub.

 

 

b.   Eye for eye, tooth for tooth

                                                 i.    Exodus 21:23-25 “if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

 

                                               ii.    This may sound harsh, but in actuality, it was setting the standard for moderation.

1.    If a victim wanted murderous revenge for an offense to his person or property, the state must not indulge his inflated sense of offense.

2.    Punishment must NOT be disproportionate.

3.    Punishment MUST fit the crime.

 

 

c.    Law, sin and punishment should start at home and at an early age

                                                 i.    According to the Bible, parents have a duly constituted legal authority to punish their children. Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”

 

                                               ii.    When we see lawlessness in the streets, it may be in part because families are broken up, or not disciplining as they ought.

 

                                              iii.    If a child is never taught morality, or punished for wrongdoing, they will never fully understand that there are consequences to their action, and they will never appreciate how FREE they can truly be living within God’s moral code!

 

                                              iv.    God’s laws are not burdensome, though man’s can be encumbering!

1.    “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3)

 

2.    In Psalms 19 and 119, David says he delights in God’s law, finds it “sweet,” comforting, and even reviving to the soul. The commands of God amount to a joyful song (Ps. 119:54).

 

3.    The law of God is a burden to everyone under its curse, but it is a blessing to the people of God.

 

 

          III.        THIS COUNTRY AND ITS LAWS ARE A BURDEN

a.    Since God’s morality and man’s laws do not always agree, what do we do?

                                                 i.    First, we study and live by God’s Word above all else.

 

                                               ii.    Second, as commanded, we obey the law of the land unless it directly opposes God and His moral law.

 

                                              iii.    Thirdly, we do what we can as servants and lights in this dark world to try and make the “laws of the land” coincide with God’s law

 

 

1.    This has many great and positive effects!

a.    It would greatly reduce the number of laws on the books, including ridiculous and cumbersome laws which do not add any value to our society

 

b.   This, in turn, would free up our legal system from frivolous cases that bog down our legal system, robbing real victims of their justice.

 

c.    It would also reduce the number of people incarcerated into our overpopulated and crowded jail systems.

 

2.    It would also make clear to citizens what God see is sin, making a nation “capable” of being a godly nation as so many claims, but do not actually fulfill.

 

a.    When we turn from those sins, God promises to heal our land.

 

b.   We are currently in desperate need of healing in this country.

 

c.    But our unconfessed/repented sins as a nation stand between us and God, and so we continue to need healing!

 

 

3.    If laws were based on God’s morality, then punishments too would “fit the crime”

 

 

b.   We are subject to authorities according to Romans 13

                                                 i.    We are instructed by God’s word that we are subject to the authorities, and the laws they have placed, so, if we are not happy with our leaders, or the laws they create (i.e. illegal to feed your pigs without a permit), then we, as responsible citizens need to exercise our rights to VOTE.

1.    Vote for those who understand God’s moral laws

 

2.    Vote for those who want to relieve the burden of man-made laws from the people

 

3.    If you want a godly nation, you MUST vote for godly people to run it!

 

 

c.    What about capital punishment?

                                                 i.    On May 18, 1992, Time magazine put Roger Keith Coleman on its cover with the caption: “This man might be innocent. This man is due to die.” Reporter Jill Smolowe began her story by asking, “Must this man die? . . . That could be a tragic mistake.”

 

Two days later Mr. Coleman was executed for raping, stabbing, partially beheading, and ultimately murdering his wife’s sister, Wanda McCoy.

 

 From the time of his arrest until the day of his death, Coleman pled innocent. He became the darling of the media and the poster boy for several anti-death penalty groups. But all doubt about his innocence was laid to rest in January 2006 when new DNA tests proved that Coleman was the murderer (and a liar).

 

                                               ii.    The first recorded murder is found in Genesis 4:8 when Cain murdered his brother Able.

1.    This was unprovoked, hostile, and intentional.

 

                                              iii.    A few chapters later in Genesis 9:5-6 God says that He required as a reckoning, if a man murder, he too would lose his life.

1.    Remember over the last couple of weeks we discussed the law, which states, “thou shalt not murder,” and the difference between killing and murder.

 

                                              iv.    To have one’s “lifeblood” (Genesis 9:5) taken away was a capital offense, and twice in verse 5 God asserted that he required a just reckoning. Verse 6 says this just reckoning is death. The context suggests this text is a prescription for capital punishment.

 

                                               v.    Notice in verse 6, Murder is, at root, an assault on God in whose image every man is made (Genesis 1:26). Murder is immoral not simply because a human life has been taken, as horrible and tragic as that may be, but because in the taking of this human life war has been waged on the Almighty himself. Furthermore, God’s new creation will not be destroyed by man’s inhumanity to man. God will preserve civilization through just punishment.

However, the punishments MUST fit the crimes.

We have the power to vote for those who will help make this a godly nation, remove ignorant laws from the books, make crimes based on God’s moral laws instead of mans whims, and create a legal system where the punishments rightly and justly fit the crimes.

 

CONCLUSION – So, how would Jesus vote about the death penalty?

 

The bible is truly clear on this matter.

 

Jesus would vote for a candidate who supported retributive punishment. That is “eye for eye, tooth for tooth,” and so on all the way to “life for life.” He would favor a candidate who supported capital punishment for murder.

 

 

 

NEXT WEEK: Part 6 – War, defense and national security

 

 

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