Who Deserves Death by Divine Judgment?

Who Deserves Death by Divine Judgment? by Michael L. Brown for Stream

Is it true that the Bible singles out certain sinners as being worthy of death? Absolutely. But the list is a lot longer than we realize. In fact, the Bible even says this: “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (Romans 2:1) The sharp sword of God’s Word certainly cuts both ways.

I alluded to the danger of self-righteousness in a recent article on the spread of monkeypox.

Here, I want to look more deeply at the greatness of our guilt before a holy God. Understanding this only underscores the greatness of His mercy offered through the cross.

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Let’s take a look at Romans 1, a passage often adduced when pointing to the sinful nature of homosexual behavior, both male and female.

We live by the Lord’s mercy far more than we know.

Are we right in understanding that Paul, writing under divine inspiration, denounced the sexual union of males with males and females with females as something contrary to God’s design and order? Absolutely. There is really no way around the plain meaning of the text.

Are we also right in understanding that Paul, writing under divine inspiration, said that people who practice such things deserve death? Certainly.

Also Gossips, the Proud, the Faithless

But that’s not all Paul said. These were his very next words in the same passage:

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:28–32)

Who is the “they” Paul keeps speaking of? To put it bluntly, the “they” is “us” — meaning, “us” outside of God’s grace and help. Paul is speaking about the human race. Our race.

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