The Death Penalty or the Penalty of Death

I recently read an article by Shane Claiborne entitled “If it Weren’t for Jesus, I Might be Pro-Death Too”.  I must say the position in the article is not one that I totally disagree with.  I am not some avid death penalty proponent.  If it were outlawed tomorrow I’m not sure I would lose any sleep over it.  But then neither am I an advocate for its abolishment and I cite the death of Jesus on the cross as my reason.

If not for the wage of sin being death and the fact that Jesus took my sin upon Himself and submitted to God’s eternal law requiring death for sin – then I would be still standing accused and guilty with the only eventuality being my eternal death.

If I were so inclined, which I am not, I could easily write an equally long article entitled “If it weren’t for Jesus, I would be dead”.  I think it is often all too easy to get on some band wagon because something sounds “kinder and gentler” on the surface but when evaluated on a deeper level it’s not quite so cut and dried and in fact may be counterproductive to our lives and eternity.

Frankly I wish my rescue could have been accomplished without the death penalty being carried out on Jesus.  And just so we are clear, it was not the Romans or the Jews who passed that judgment, it was God and Jesus’ plan for that death which was required to maintain the integrity of the laws of a Holy Creator.  But in the end I am so fortunate and the recipient of eternal blessings because God maintained that death penalty integrity – even though carried out against His own Son.

Ultimately, with eternity in mind, Jesus’ death was Pro-Life!  Can anyone say divine tension?  So feel free to protest the death penalty, either side, but don’t be too quick to put God in either of those boxes.


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