OYB March 1

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Leviticus 24, Leviticus 25:1-46
NT: Mark 10:13-31
Ps: Psalm 44:9-26
Pr: Proverbs 10:20-21

Today´s notable verse:

Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 25:17 (NIV)

I think one of the saddest things to see is one Christian taking advantage of another - especially another Christian. (Not that taking advantage of a non-believer is any more justified; but those of the world tend to live by its rules. To take advantage of a fellow Christian is to mock the trust and faith that brother has that he is dealing with one trustworthy through Christ.) What a horrendous witness! Paul admonishes the Corinthians for bringing lawsuits against one another, and so making themselves a mockery to unbelievers (I Corinthians 6:1-8).

29 "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.

Mark 10:29-30 (NIV)

As I was discussing with one of my very close friends last night, promises such as this one are incredibly comforting to me, especially right now. While I still fully believe that God will fulfill what is one of the two greatest desires of my heart - to have a wife and children - I have likewise fully accepted that I am willing to sacrifice even that desire to Him, if to do so is what He wills. I know that He has placed this desire - I daresay, burden - on my heart for a family, but I also know that He will reward my faithfulness in being obedient to His call on my life, no matter what the cost. And in the meantime, I know that He will be faithful to satisfy my every need and desire in Himself.

The One Year Bible Blog asks:

Comments from You & Question of the Day - I know this will be a controversial question... so please post up gracefully and respond to others comments gracefully. I am very interested in hearing everyone's views on Leviticus 24:17 in today's readings - "Anyone who takes another person's life must be put to death." Do you think Jesus' higher law of love changed this at all? ...Theologically / Biblically, what are your views on the death penalty?

I admit, I struggle with this question. I've been debating it for several years. I think where I am right now - having come from a staunchly pro-death penalty viewpoint - is this position: I am not against the death penalty for murderers, but if I am forced to choose, I will err on the side of life. I am passionately pro-life with respect to abortion, human cloning/embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia - if I am to be wrong, I would rather err in letting a condemned man live, than killing someone whom we do not have the right to kill.

God first established the law or principle of death as the punishment for murder long before the establishment of the Law and Commandments (Genesis 9:6). It is one of the earliest laws established by God, and is indicative of the sanctity of human life: "for in the image of God has God made man." But death is permanent: decisions of salvation must be made in this life; death ends any opportunity of accepting Christ. Is it our place to end forever any opportunity for redemption? Perhaps it is, according to those verses referenced.

On the other hand, God also says that He is responsible for vengance and judgement (Romans 12:19, Hebrews 10:30). Also, if Christ died once, for all, did His sacrifice not atone for the sin of murder? If no sin is unforgiveable, would not murder also be forgiveable, and forgiven? If then Christ's sacrifice atoned even for murder, then the old law that murder must be atoned for by the life of the murderer is fulfilled in the Cross along with all the rest of the sins of the world. In that case, the life has already been taken to atone for the murder, and even the murderer has been redeemed.

So, I am not yet fully decided. In the meantime, the most tenable and consistent position I can take is always to err on the side of life - even the life of a murderer, bearing in mind that, in my sin, I am no more worthy before God than he is, and I am equally responsible for Christ's death on the cross.