What does the Bible say about Capital Punishment? Does a government have the right to administer the death penalty? And as a Christian, should we be for or against it?
No government is perfect. History has proven that governments often become tyrannical and abusive. However, there have been governments that have gone down in history as a blessing to their nation. Usually, this is due to the leadership of a man who oversees the government with godly morals, integrity, and strength -such as Nelson Mandela or Abraham Lincoln.
The first human government was instituted by God to Noah. After the Lord flooded the earth, He commanded Noah, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Gen.9:6). As Noah and his sons began repopulating the earth, God commanded them to execute the death penalty upon individuals guilty of premeditated murder. God’s reason for this is profound: “for God made man in His own image.” We are made in the image of God.
Yes, sin has totally corrupted our nature. The image of God in our life has been marred, but it has not been lost. We are still spiritual creators, with an eternal soul that has the capacity of knowing God; and, through the new birth, to be like God. Each human life is precious. Therefore, the responsibility of governments to execute capital punishment is not primarily an act of retribution; it is primarily an act of preservation. Since we are created in God’s image, human life is sacred. It is God’s will for the government to protect each human life.
God is for the death penalty. He’s the one who instituted it. But this does not mean that we each have the right to execute personal vengeance: “vengeance is mine says the Lord; I will repay” (Rom.12:19). In Romans 13, Paul addresses our responsibility to submit to human governments and authorities. Concerning them, he says, “for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Rom.13:4). God has given the power of legal justice and retribution into their hands. He uses governments as instruments of His own justice and wrath.
Sadly, by sanctioning abortion, our government has forsaken its primary purpose. They have not only failed to keep God’s mandate, they are in direct opposition to it. They have completely rejected the God of the Bible. Unborn “children” are being murdered every day. They are not a lifeless fetus. According to God, the unborn child is made in His image. Whoever kills him or her, deserves to die.
This does not mean that we should become hatemongers of women, husbands, and doctors that are guilty of this crime. In love, we must warn them. In His patience and kindness, God has permitted them to live. The doctors that perform this death procedure are standing over a mass grave of children. If they do not repent and turn to Christ, they will reap God’s wrath on the day of judgement.
Yes, when appropriate, it is the responsibility for the government to execute the death penalty. This is not murder. It is justice. But it is never appropriate for a government to kill babies. This is murder. And a government that allows such practices, God will judge.