Honor | Part 11 | #6: Capital Punishment 17 Mar

The 6th Commandment says, “Do not commit murder.” How should this impact our justice system? Does it mean that capital punishment is prohibited? Or is there something more to the picture? #gcHonor

Murder = “Ratsakh”:
The unlawful taking of a human life.


The importance of Genesis 9:

  • Timing: pre-Mosaic Covenant
  • The value of human life: God’s image
  • The agent of capital punishment: humans


“If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands.” – Genesis 9:6


But what about?

  • Jesus taught us not to retaliate.
  • There’s “no proof” that it’s a deterrent to crime.


Start reading.

Key Scripture:

Exodus 20:13 (NLT)

13 “You must not murder.

Genesis 9:5–7 (NLT)

5 “And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. 6 If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image. 7 Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth.”

Proverbs 21:15 (NLT)

15 Justice is a joy to the godly,

      but it terrifies evildoers.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NLT)

11 When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong.

Romans 3:21–26 (NLT)

21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Start talking. Find a conversation starter for your group.

  • Have you ever been the victim of a crime?  If so, did you want the criminal to be punished?  Why or why not?

Start sharing. These questions are to help get your group thinking and to create openness.

  • If you served on a jury in NC, would you vote to approve the death penalty for a criminal when the evidence indicates the defendant is guilty of premeditated murder?
  • Read Exodus 20:13.  Pastor Troy mentioned that the Hebrew word for murder in this verse is different from the words used in other verses that discuss capital punishment or death in war.  Do you consider killing someone in premeditated revenge as different from killing someone in self defense or in war?  Or is the taking of human life the same in all instances?
  • Read Genesis 9:5-7.  Discuss the timing of this verse in relation to the Mosaic Covenant.  Why is that important?
  • What’s the importance of God referencing humans made in his image?  How does that impact capital punishment?
  • If you believe in the death penalty, what crimes should be considered capital crimes that are punishable by death?  What crimes are capital offenses in the USA?  Are there any you think should be added or deducted from that list?
  • Read Proverbs 21:15 and Ecclesiastes 8:11.  What happens when criminals are not punished for their crimes?  What happens when there are no consequences for our sins?
  • Read Romans 3:21-26. How is God both just and the justifier? What would the world and your life look like if God’s justice were arbitrary or non-existent?

Start doing. Commit to a step and live it out this week.

  • Consider participating with a local ministry that works with the incarcerated, or with families of the incarcerated or their victims.

Start praying. Be bold and pray with power.

  • Pray over our criminal justice system, that it reflects and enacts a Biblical view of justice. Ask God for His redemption and regeneration to permeate not only the incarcerated, but also the executors of our systems, and that we all steadfastly remain focused on His perfection, as we pursue justice with grace and truth.

Start digging. For further study.


Troy Knight

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