Capital punishment – opening the door to salvation

After the flood God gave Noah a new command.

Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image
.” (Genesis 9:6)

Despite the fact that capital punishment was commanded by God many Christians believe it should be abolished. One argument they use is that killing a person closes the door to any hope that he will repent of his sins and be saved. Yet the Bible tells of a case where capital punishment opened the door to salvation for one man.

When Jesus was crucified two others were crucified with him.

Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.” (Matthew 27:38-44)

But one of the robbers changed his mind about Jesus.

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”” (Luke 23:39-44)

Even though he was dying he put his faith in Jesus and received the assurance that would be in Paradise that same day.

Have you ever thought about what his fate would have been if he had not been captured and executed by the Romans? He clearly didn’t believe in Jesus before he was sentenced. Perhaps he would have lived out his life and died without having his sins forgiven and been condemned to eternity in the lake of fire. The Romans took his physical life but opened the door for him to receive eternal life.

Posted on October 19, 2021, in Bible study, salvation and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. My mother shared this perspective with me when I was a very young, very naïve Christian. It makes sense to me, but I had never thought of the thief on the cross as Exhibit A. And the “what if?” exercise is a good way to drive the point home. Good post, Clyde.

    Liked by 1 person

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