googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Answering the 10 Questions Every Christian Must Answer: Part 4

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Answering the 10 Questions Every Christian Must Answer: Part 4

#3) Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible?

#5) Why is God such a huge proponent of slavery in the Bible?

Here again we have two questions that seem to make duplicate points. Therefore, as in my last post, I will respond to both in a single post. In a nutshell, the video is attempting to make the point that many Old Testament laws do not reflect how we think a just and loving God should act. The video cites Exodus 35:2, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Leviticus 20:13, and Deuteronomy 22:13-21 as examples of God condemning people to death for “trivial” crimes. Concerning slavery, the video cites Exodus 21:20-21, Colossians 3:22-24, Ephesians 6:5, and 1 Peter 2:18 (interestingly, the latter 3 are from the New Testament).

I'd like to clarify one very fundamental point that the video seems to not be aware of: there is exactly one penalty for sin – death (Romans 6:23). No matter what the crime, ultimately, the punishment is the same. The video seems to want to make hay that the OT condemns to death people who work on the sabbath. However, people who lie are also condemned to death as are people who lust, covet, gossip, and hate. The Bible makes it clear that all men are appointed to die and then they are judged (Hebrews 9:27). Some people die very old and some die very young. Some die peacefully and some die violently. When and how they die might vary but just as all have sinned, so all die (Romans 5:12). The mortality rate among humans is 100%. When you think about it, it's sort of silly to say that there's anyone who doesn't deserve to die. If everyone dies, then how can we say that a rebellious son or an adulterer isn't worthy of death?

I really shouldn't need to give much ink to proving that everyone dies. It's rather obvious. With that understood, one might ask why some OT laws called for immediate death in certain circumstances. A thorough treatment of this is beyond the scope of this post but let me give a thumbnail version. The various laws can be divided into a few categories: there are laws concerning worship, morality, civility, and health. The law governs our relationship with God and our relationship with others. In many cases, our relationship with God is reflected in our relationship with others. Marriage, for example, is a picture of Christ's relationship with His church (believers are collectively known as the “bride” of Christ). Sexual sins, therefore, are especially egregious on the same level as idolatry. Our relationship with our parents is a model of our relationship with God. A rebellious child, then, is akin to apostasy.

Furthermore, the Law was given specifically to govern God's people. They were a unique nation in history in that they had no earthly ruler. God was their King and He appointed judges who would interpret the Law whenever a situation arose. Sexual immorality, rebellion, idolatry, and other sins which the video might label as “trivial” were a poison to society. In that place at that time, God did not allow certain sins to continue for His people. We live in a different time now. God's people foolishly demanded a king who could rule over them like other nations and God gave them Saul. Ultimately, God still holds us accountable for our sins but He allows our earthly punishment to be doled out by our earthly rulers.

Which brings us to another point. Many of the laws were not given to reflect God's perfect will but rather to tolerate our own sinful nature. Jesus made this very point to the Pharisees when they asked about divorce (Matthew 19:7-9), “They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Divorce, then, wasn't intended as God's perfect will but rather God made provisions that accommodated divorce in a fallen world. Such were the laws concerning slavery. This was not the kind of slavery that existed once in the US, by the way, but God gave laws that covered indentured servants or prisoners of war. This was not because God intended slavery but rather made provisions for it in a fallen world.

No sin is “trivial.” The video might dismiss blasphemy, sexual immorality, and rebellion as harmless but any transgression of the law earns God's judgment and the wages of our sin is death. Nobody is stoned anymore but we all have the same destiny - a grave. We all also have the same opportunity - salvation through His Son. When we stand before God in judgment (and we all will), I'm going to receive mercy because I have believed in His Son. Others are welcome to tell God He's being unfair.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

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