Read Exodus 21:12-36
God is a fair and just God. Many non-believers look to His Old Testament justice as proof God is evil and claim they would rather believe in no god than an evil god.
Today’s passage does indeed paint God as a very strict judge. He’s almost cruel by society’s standards. Of course the famous “eye for an eye” scripture is there. What I never realized and most do not either, is that rule pertains to someone who strikes a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely.
One verse no one quotes within the same passage pertains to cursing your parents, something most of us in today’s society have done in person or under our breath from a distance.
“Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.” – Exodus 21:17
Death for cursing your parents! Imagine if we lived by these standards today. But if these laws are written in The Bible, how do we not follow these laws and still claim to follow God?
The Old Testament was God’s Word to His people, the Hebrews. It was the guidelines they were to follow. When their people strayed too far, God would kill them (and everyone really) in a flood, He would make them wander the desert, He delivered them to captivity and foreign rule numerous times. No punishment ever kept His people within His laws.
So in the New Testament, God makes a new covenant by sending Jesus to atone for all sins.
“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of ? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:20-23
To God, and sin deserves death. The death here isn’t just an earthly sentence, but an eternal death. Think about that, ANY SIN DESERVES DEATH. I’m not talking just criminal offenses. So in accordance with this passage a liar is just as bad as a sex offender.
Let that sink in. An everyday sin, one you may have committed before leaving your bed this morning, is just as bad as the worst sin imaginable to society. Both deserve eternal separation from God.
The last verse has a ‘but’ though. Anything after ‘but’ is your “get out of hell free” card. It says the gift of God is eternal life. A gift is something neither deserved or earned. You can’t do anything on your own to get to Heaven. You need a bridge to cross the chasm from earth to Heaven. Jesus is that bridge. No government official is going to do background checks on believers before they can cross. The weight of the sin nor the amount will matter. Jesus died for all of that to allow us to live for Him.
That’s the God I want to follow. A strict, but fair God. A benevolent God, whose gift of life came at the highest cost for Him, His one and only son.