Daily Devotional for Wednesday June 15, 2011

Casey Anthony and the Death Penalty

(Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:12; Leviticus 24:17; Numbers 35:16, Numbers 35:31; Deuteronomy 19:11; Proverbs 28:17)

For the past 3 years, the nation has been riveted by the sad and tragic story of Casey Anthony, the young Orlando, Florida mother whose daughter Caylee went missing in 2008 and was eventually found dead. The State of Florida has put Anthony on trial for the death of her child and is seeking the death penalty. I wanted to use this high profile case that has captivated the intrest of the nation, not to talk about the details of the case, but to share with you what the Bible says about capital punishment.

For those who have been reading my Devotionals over the last 142 months, know I refuse to shy away from the issues that we deal with in our day-to-day lives, issues many ministers refuse to address primarily because they do not want to offend anyone. The fact is, the Word of God is an offense to all that do not believe. As those God has called in this day to share His Word with the people, it is not our job to worry about offending someone, simply sharing the absolute truth of the Word, and than leaving it up to each who hears to accept of reject what God says.

Back in 2002, I dealt with the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. If all accounts of what he felt in his heart in his last days on earth are correct, he rejected God and is eternally separated from Him. NOT because of his heinous and horrific crime in killing 168 innocent people, but for rejecting Jesus Christ. I was saddened to hear a pastor of a United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City across from where the Mura Federal Building once stood, say on national TV that God would never forgive Timothy McVeigh.

That is NOT what the Bible says. The fact is, ANYONE, the "whosoever" of John 3:16, that truly repents of their sins and accepts Jesus Christ by faith will be saved, even someone who committed such a horrible act of violence as Timothy McVeigh. That does not mean he could escape the earthly punishment for his actions, but that God would forgive him of his sins if he asked Him to, just like He will forgive anyone who asks Him to. The choice he made is the same choice we all must make in this life, to have our sins washed away and accept God's gift of everlasting life by faith through faith in Jesus Christ, or reject it.

Many have trouble accepting this truth. They have trouble accepting the fact that someone like a Timothy McVeigh could do something so horrible, yet still be eternally with God. But you see, we are ALL sinners. The Bible proclaims that ALL have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. In Ephesians chapter 2 it says "For it is by grace you have been saved, though faith... and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God...not by works, so that no one can boast."

You see my friend, God has made a way for everyone, even the Timothy McVeighs of the world, to accept Christ by faith, repent of their sins, and be born again. Even though you may not have done anything as horrible as McVeigh did, the fact is, you are still a sinner, and you will be eternally separated from God, just like Timothy McVeigh, when this journey is over, unless you come to know Jesus as your personal savior.

If you are not sure that you will be eternally with God when you die, if you have never made that commitment, you can do it today, right now. Simply go to: http://www.liveprayer.com/plan.cfm and you can have the assurance that when your life is over, you will be with the Lord for all eternity.

The issue that will be debated if Casey Anthony is found guilty of killing her child is capital punishment. Many who oppose capital punishment say it is hypocritical to be opposed to abortion and yet, support capital punishment. That is an apples and oranges argument! Abortion is the killing of an innocent life. Capital punishment is the killing of someone who is guilty of a serious crime against society.

You can not even argue the two, because one deals with an innocent life, the other deals with a guilty life. The baby killed in the womb did nothing wrong and had no choice in their death. The person who is put to death by the state CHOSE to commit the heinous crime that society deemed punishable by death. Another false argument is that capital punishment is not a deterrent to others from committing the same kinds of horrible crimes. It is not supposed to be a deterrent. It is the penalty society deems appropriate for those who have CHOSEN to commit the most heinous of crimes against society.

You see, capital punishment has a very solid basis from scripture and ultimately is a decision each society must determine. One of the wonderful things about our country is that we can change laws that we feel are not acceptable. For those who disagree with capital punishment, you have the right to disagree. However, God's Word is our final authority on all matters, and you cannot ignore the Biblical predicate for capital punishment.

I love you and care about you so much. I have prayed extensively over these words today. I asked God that in the midst of this sad trial millions are watching, someone would read these words today and come to know Christ as his/her personal savior. If Casey Anthony is found guilty and given the death penalty, she will know the date and time of her death. Most of us are not that fortunate. Most will never know when they will die, and at that moment our chance to accept Christ is lost.

I pray you don't wait too long. I also want you to pray today for Casey Anthony, the Anthony family, and that the truth will come out during the trial. The incredible truth of the Gospel is that even those who commit horrific crimes can still repent and ask the Lord to forgive them. Christ loves each one of us so much He died for our sins. If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, He is standing at the door of your heart today, knocking. It is no accident you are reading these words. I am praying that you will open your heart to Him, and let Him in.

Plan of Salvation and video altar call: http://www.liveprayer.com/plan.cfm

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller