The Bible nowhere authorizes men to take the law into their own hands. God has set up the civil government to keep law and order. The government is to see to it that justice is measured out to one and all. All of us need to remember that the “powers that be are ordained (appointed) of God” (Rom. 13:1). Anarchy raises its ugly head when men do not use the proper channels of law and order.
But, does the civil government have the right to take life? There is no doubt in my mind that they do, if one has committed a crime worthy of death. Paul said, “For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die” (Acts 25:11). The Bible says, with reference to the power of the civil government, “for he beareth not the sword in vain” (Rom. 13:4). The sword is symbolic of the death penalty.
For those who think that God does not authorize the civil government to take life, I would cite cases in the Bible where He commanded that life be taken. God commanded King Saul to take the life of the Amalekites (I Sam. 15:1-24). God commanded that the life of Achan be taken from him (Josh. 7:1-26). God commanded Gideon to fight and even selected his men for him (Judges 7:1-25). When men get so mean and wicked that they are not fit for society, then God authorizes the civil government to measure out the proper portion of punishment to such beastly people.
But someone says, “But does not the Bible say ‘thou shalt not kill?’ ” Yes, it does. But a rule of interpretation of the Bible says that we are not to array one passage against another. If a thing is plainly taught in the Bible, then it will not be contradicted by another passage in the Bible. In interpreting the Bible we must remember this. I have shown from the Bible that God authorized the civil government to take life. We must therefore conclude that God meant something else when He said, “Thou shalt not kill.” One translation says, “Thou shalt do no murder.” So God does not authorize the murder of the innocent. The government does not have the authority from God to murder the innocent nor does the individual.
One reason we have so much crime in this country is due to the easy treatment of the criminal by our government. I get disturbed when I hear about the bad conditions of our prisons and how we must improve them to where they are nothing short of hotels and motels. Criminals should be treated like criminals! Nothing could be too bad for some criminals. I feel that the punishment should be measured out in keeping with the crime.
One record revealed that it takes thirty thousand dollars each year to keep one person in prison for that period of time. I am a strong believer in each man paying his own way, as far as is possible. Each prisoner should be made to do this. If the powers that be would work “the living daylights out of the prisoners” there would be fewer prisoners. If they would take the lives of those who deserve to have their lives taken, there would be fewer serious crimes. All the citizens of this nation should uphold righteousness and justice. We should demand it! When we put a man in office, let’s see that he does his job or get one that will. America has been a great nation because she has been a law abiding nation. But this has been on the decay for some time. We must turn it around and get back to the respect of law and order. If some do not want this, then let them suffer the consequences of their wrongdoing. Let’s mean business when it comes to criminals!
-Malcolm Hill