In many countries of the world, the death penalty is carried out almost immediately. In China more than 5,000 people are executed for their crimes every year. That is an average of 14 people a day. They execute more people per year than all of the other countries in the world combined (and this is even after an automatic appeal process before a different court). And the execution is carried out almost immediately. In their mind, if you’ve been condemned to death, then you’re not even fit to live. And if you’re not fit to live, why in the world would they want to feed you, clothe you, and house you?
I find it very interesting that these countries that have these laws in effect have a very low crime rate. Why is that, do you think? Could it be because in the minds of the people (criminally minded) they know that if they get caught, the ramifications, repercussions, and consequences are deadly…pun intended.
This is a healthy fear for the people to have. It does two main things to the populace: 1) it makes the majority of law-abiding citizens feel safer, and 2) it causes the wicked ones to have second thoughts as to whether or not it’s worth it.
In several countries, if you are caught stealing something, they chop off your right hand (with no pain-killers or anesthesia). If you do it again…it’s your left hand. Hmmmmm…I wonder why they have the lowest theft rate in the world? Could it be because people are afraid of the consequences if they are caught? Yes…exactly.
In America, a serial killer can do the most cruel, demonic, and ungodly things to their victims. And their reward is three hot meals a day, warm clothing, a TV and radio, all the books they want, telephone privileges, and family visitation privileges…for the rest of their life. Talk about room service. Everything is catered to them on a butler’s plate. And they get to live their life, and laugh about our treatment of them every day.
There is no fear in their hearts, or in their minds. In Chicago (I think it was) a man killed someone else and allowed himself to get caught. When asked why he did it, and why he wanted to get caught, he said, “I needed to get my teeth fixed, and eat some grub.” And guess what? You and I paid to have his teeth fixed and feed him three times a day. And he walked up to some innocent random stranger and killed him in cold blood to “get his teeth fixed, and get some grub.”
Stay with me please, because we’re taking this all somewhere. The things I have just described sound heinous and cold-blooded…because they are. You see the folly and the failure of our American justice system. It actually encourages crime…because in the criminals mind, their crimes will be rewarded with their needs being met.
And yet everyday, around the world, “Christians” are committing spiritual death-penalty sins, and thinking that they’re going to be rewarded in the end. They’re living in a dream world. They may not come right out and say it…but their actions and their living show what they actually believe. They actually believe that they can live their lives unto themselves and make it in the end. They’ve been deceived by a feel-good cross-less gospel, that has turned the grace of God into a license to sin. Jude v.4
They do not want the spiritual death-penalty for crimes against God to be reinstated. They actually think that the spiritual death-penalty clause has been banned in their state (their state of sin, I mean). They will do anything to not believe it’s true. They will lobby against it, teach against it, and even write books as to why it couldn’t be true. And the Lord Jesus said that it was all based upon a love for their sin.
In the Old Testament there are 42 death-penalty sins listed. For the sake of space I cannot list them all here. Just read the first five books of the bible and do a count and you will come up with 42 of them (the list begins at Gen. 9:6 and ends at Deut. 22:22-30). But we will zero in on one of these death-penalty sins that are listed…and then we will turn our attention to the New Testament and see some things about the New Testament spiritual death-penalty sins that may actually surprise you.
The one Old Testament spiritual death-penalty sin I would like to highlight here can be found in Numbers 15:30-31 which reads, “But the soul that does anything presumptuously, whether he is born in the land, or is a stranger, the same reproaches the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the Lord, and has broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.”
Let’s notice a few things here concerning this passage. The part of the above verse that I have bolded, which says, “despised the word of the Lord” carries a really strong consequence with it. Do you remember what happened to Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10:2? They acted “presumptuously” before the Lord. And they died in one moment for their presumptuousness. What was the root of their presumption? That they could do and act however they wanted before the Lord and they would be okay.
Some commentators have suggested (and I agree with them) that these two men were drunk. Because why would God, immediately following their death, tell Moses to tell Aaron and his remaining two sons to never touch wine or strong drink. Aaron’s two sons got picked up and carried out of the camp just like Ananias and Sapphira died before the Lord in Acts 5:1-10 and were picked up and carried away and buried.
Please don’t forget that these two men (Nadab and Abihu) were “priests.” Hmmmm…surely it can’t be a coincidence that five times in the New Testament we are called “priests” (1 Peter 2:5, 2:9, Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 20:6).
Nadab and Abihu were priests of God who were in the very employ of God to minister to God and to the people…and they died in their sin. These two priests did not make it. But wait…they were priests!! They were the very sons of the High Priest himself!! Are you starting to see the similarities? Jesus is called a High Priest 12 times in the book of Hebrews, and we are His very sons.
But do not for one moment think that just because you are a son of the High Priest (just as Nadab and Abihu were) that you can sin before Him and offer strange fire (“strange fire” means that you are offering to him what you think He deserves, and not what He has commanded that He deserves), and not suffer the consequences of it.
Yes, we live in a day of grace. But do not misconstrue what that means. Because all it means is that instead of consuming a person on the spot for their sin, He gives them a span of time to repent of it…and if they don’t, then He will consume them. Proof of this can be found in Revelation 2:21. Here we have a New Testament reference saying that if there is not true repentance of sin, then the Lord will bring death upon them in a moment.
Let us now move on to the New Testament spiritual death-penalty sins. Keep in mind that all of the New Testament letters are written to the saints. Just read the opening verse of all the epistles starting with Romans all the way through Revelation chapter three.
Before I list the New Testament spiritual death-penalty sins, I want to share something that I am hearing everywhere I go now…and I mean everywhere. I was just at El Dorado SuperMax Penitentiary ministering on a Sunday evening a few weeks ago, and a man came up to me and said the following: “We have never heard anything like this before come out of this pulpit, I’ve been living the life of a hypocrite, and tonight my eyes have been opened for the first time in my life to see the truth.” And this comes from a man who has been locked up for years and attends this Sunday evening service every time. I said that statement to show how sad it is that more people are not sharing the New Testament truths of who will make it and who won’t. If you can’t tell people the truth, then you shouldn’t even be in the ministry. Because all you’re doing is harming people spiritually, and bringing a strict judgment upon yourself according to James 3:1.
But I’m hearing comments like this now on a weekly basis. A family member contacted me last week and said that their eyes have been opened to see the truth about sin(s)(ing). Praise God that people who have ears to hear are hearing the truth. And the truth is this…that if you call yourself a Christian and you live and think however you want, it is not a matter of losing out on rewards…it’s a matter of losing out on it all!! Rewards have nothing to do with your living; they are connected to your works of service unto the Lord and His people and the lost souls of the earth.
I said that because there are actually people out there who misinterpret the scriptures concerning rewards to mean that they (the rewards) deal with their living. In other words, they say, “Well, I’ll just miss out on some of my rewards because of how I lived.” Don’t laugh, because I’m serious here. People actually think that; and we know it’s only because they love their sin and they want to have their cake and eat it too. Because in the end, it will either be God’s way or the low-way…if you know what I’m intimating.
The New Testament spiritual death-penalty sins are found in several epistles. Here is a partial list of them (taken from Romans 1, 1 Cor. 6, Galatians 5, Rev. 21, and other places. And if you will take notice of the lists, you will see two important things: 1) all the lists are written to Christians (not one single New Testament letter is written to unbelievers), 2) the lists end with the words “these will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Why would Paul even make the comment, if it weren’t for the sake of the Christians? Everyone already knows that the unbelievers will not inherit the kingdom of God.
New Testament death-penalty sins (if you do not repent of them and turn from all unrighteousness) are: Fornicators, Idolaters, Adulterers (Jesus said lusting after someone in your heart is the same thing as the act itself), Homosexuals (lesbianism falls under this heading also) , Sodomites, Thieves, Covetous, Drunkards, Revilers, Extortioners, Uncleanness, Licentiousness (this means to be sexually unrestrained, lawless, no boundries), Sorcery (this word actually means drug users in the Greek), Contentions, Jealousies, Outbursts of wrath, Selvish ambitions, Dissensions (people who just like to argue and quarrel), Heresies (people who teach false teachings), Envy, Murder (hating your brother is murder according to 1st John), Revelries (parties), Maliciousness (spiteful people who enjoy paying people back for the wrong that was done to them), Strife, Deceit, Whisperers, Backbiters, Gossipers, Violent, Proud, Boasters, Disobedient to parents, Evil-mindedness, Untrustworthiness, Unforgiving, Unloving, Unmerciful, Cowardly, Unbelieving, Liars, Sexually immoral, Abominable, “and the like” meaning anything else that falls under these categories.
Just as there are 42 death-penalty sins listed in the Old Testament, I have listed 42 in the New Testament. I have said this once already, but it bears repeating. You will find the phrase “take heed” listed 29 times in Matthew, 29 times in Mark, 29 times in Luke, and 29 times in John. It seems the Holy Spirit is really trying to get a point across to us, wouldn’t you say? Those words “take heed” mean to pay very close attention to, to listen with the utmost carefulness.
God has done everything He can to reach you…just as He did the children of Israel in the wilderness. But at the end of the day we found out that only two people (out of millions) from the original group of adult men over the age of 20 made it in to the Promise Land. Only two!!
This is why Jesus was hated in His own hometown of Nazareth that day when He said in Luke 4:25-27, “But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
Please notice the words “many widows in Israel” and “many lepers in Israel.” Zero in on the word “many” and remember that these were Jewish widows and Jewish lepers. And none of them were saved or ministered to except two foreigners. Again we see the number is two. Hmmmm…maybe, just maybe Jesus really meant what He said when He said that only a few would make it.
Grace does not lower the standard – it raises the standard. And grace that forgives sin, but does not require a change in conduct makes God an accomplice to evil. And God will be no ones accomplice, and no ones puppet. He is to be feared in a mighty way. The New Testament has just as much to say about the fear, dread, terror, and judgment of God that the Old Testament does!!
“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil.” 1 John 3:4-8
Brothers and sisters, the gospel is a very simply gospel. If it wasn’t simple, I wouldn’t be able to understand it. Don’t complicate it with your own ideas of what it should mean. Just give God His due respect and believe that He said what He meant, and He meant what He said. And God will make good on it all. Because whatever your views on the death-penalty are (whether or not you agree or disagree with it), the Judge is the one who has the final say. And according to the New Testament that I read, it has in no way been abolished, but is in full force and effect. “Ladies and Gentlemen, court is now in session.”
“Whosever will, let him come…”