Misapplied Texts: Romans 12:21

Romans 12:21:

(Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.)

This verse occasionally gets quoted with the assumption that the death penalty is evil and allowing the criminal to go on living is “good.” As this booklet has shown, however, it is “good” to obey God, and God commands the death penalty for criminals. It is wrong to believe that “good” and “evil” are always relative terms whose meanings fluctuate from year to year and culture to culture. God is the Creator of the universe and the Author of life, and He is the one who defines “good” and “evil” as they apply to mankind. God calls His commandments “holy and righteous and good” (Rom. 7:12). Biblically, it is “evil” to not carry out the commands of God, and it is “good” to obey them. Having a death penalty that was carried out swiftly and justly is “good” in the eyes of God. If society had the death penalty administered in a godly way, a lot of the evil in society would indeed be “overcome,” and we would have more peace and safety.

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