Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it, you shalt surely die.”
God, who gave life to Adam, was the first to impose the death penalty. He did this when He told Adam that he would take away from Adam the life He had given to him if Adam transgressed His commandments. After creating Adam and taking him into the garden in a place called Eden, God said to that first of mankind, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).
Now, it was not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that would kill Adam if he ate its fruit. It was God. To Moses, God would later say, “See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with me. I kill and I make alive. I wound and I heal. Neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand” (Dt. 32:39).
Men have debated this and other nations for centuries as to whether or not the death penalty violates the basic rights of man. Here in the 1970’s in the United States, the Supreme Court of the nation determined that the death penalty constituted “cruel and unusual punishment” and thus was unlawful to impose. It was by the use of their God-given authority to make such judgments that those nine judges in Washington, DC determined that what the Creator did to Adam after he sinned, and to his wife Eve, and to their descendants, is cruel and unusual punishment.
God, not being a citizen of this country and subject to its laws, was exempt from the Supreme Court’s decision, and people continued to die as usual. God’s law remained as it was in the garden of Eden. Sin would bring death.
Paul wrote that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. Therefore, in God’s book of justice, all who have been born have either already been killed by God or are on death row now. For “it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that, the Judgment.”
Our only hope is Christ Jesus. In him, there is no more death, other than for this cursed, fleshly body of sin. It must return to dust, as God told Adam it would, after Adam and his wife Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit. “I am the resurrection and the life,” said Jesus to a woman named Martha who was grieving for her dead brother Lazarus. “He who believes in me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” And then he tenderly asked Martha, “Do you believe this?”
Jesus came to bring us hope because God never has changed His declared punishment for sin. With God, the death penalty is still in effect for all sinners, even if sinners decree that the death penalty is an unjust punishment for their crimes.