Life for a Life: Blood
The primary reason why all sin, including the sin of murder,
does not require the death penalty that was required under The Law is that Jesus Christ, by the blood of the New Covenant has
made full atonement for sin. If he
hasn't, we are all liable for the noose.
If the new covenant must
carry the burden of the old Law, we
all of us must pay for our sins with our lives, because the wages
of sin is
through the blood of Jesus can we escape.
The blood atonement of Genesis 9.5-6 requires bloodshed for
bloodshed. That is also spelled out in
Numbers 35.33 So ye
shall not pollute the land wherein ye are, for blood defileth the land, and the
land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of
him that shed it. And so
Deuteronomy 19.21: life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth--which Jesus
sets aside in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5.38-39: You Have Heard it Said . . . But I Say . . . . The Old Law required blood atonement. For minor offenses, the sacrifice of a bird
or animal would do. For major offenses,
the blood of the human offender was required.
Under The Law, some 16
offenses mandate the death penalty.
The basic fact of the New Covenant is that God's Son made a
blood atonement to his Father which covers all of our sins, including the sin
of the murderer. Jesus says: this
is my blood of the new covenant, which
is shed for many for the remission of sins.
(Matthew 26.28) That is what
made The Law obsolete. Hebrews 9 &
10 describes the difference between the blood of Jesus Christ and the blood of
the sacrificial animals--the spiritual gulf between the new covenant and the old
covenant--For it is not possible that
the blood of bulls and of goats could take away sins. (Hebrews 10.4)
True Judgment versus
The Illusion of
most of the Old Testament times, before the time of the prophets, there is no
faith in a life beyond this one, no belief in a judgment after death which will
rectify the manifest injustice of this world.
So judgment and justice must take place in this world. They are left with the vain hope that some
day soon the wicked will be punished and the good rewarded. Their childish confidence that God will
immediately punish evil and reward good is replaced by questions they cannot
answer: Why do the wicked prosper ? Why
do good men suffer bad things ? The
Book of Job wrestles with that question.
Christians have a different understanding and a different hope. That is why we leave justice to the Judgment
Matthew 5.22 where Jesus makes angry name-calling the equivalent of murder, he
also specifies a penalty, the danger of hell fire, which means a
judgment beyond the arbitrary judgments of this world. He equates lust with adultery but he does
not allow the woman taken in adultery to be stoned to death. He goes far beyond The Law in his strict
definition of sins, but the penalty is spiritual--heaven and hell. It is no longer a criminal law to be enforced by the nearest rock pile.
Once in a while our
human injustice system manages to put a murderer to death, if he doesn't have a
million dollars to pay the lawyers. You can't hang a million dollars, as
O.J. Simpson proved once again. Out of
24,000 yearly homicides, a handful of men are put to death, 20 years later,
when they have gone as far as they can go with the lawyers paid by the
state. Out of 25 million serious crimes
committed every year, a fraction are punished, along with all those who are
relentlessly pursued for failure to pay the state what the state says it is
owed. The State itself wages war and
kills millions and no one is held to account for it. Is this God's Justice ? It is rather the Illusion of Justice. If we believe in a just and merciful God,
who will rightly judge all of us, we don't have to endorse the sorry
substitutes for justice that this
world has to offer.