I admit that I have been somewhat divided on the death penalty issue since childhood. But, I aspire to forever embrace a Biblically balanced perspective.
Here below is what God told Moses and other men of God what to do if someone committed various sins. Keep in mind that not all law violations were given the death penalty...
And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. Genesis 9:5-6
And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death. And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast. And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death. Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 24:17-22
Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death. Numbers 35:30-31
He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death. Exodus 21:12
Sex with Animals:
Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death. Exodus 22:19
And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. Leviticus 20:10
Sex before marriage: Deuteronomy 22
And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:11
And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:12
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13
Witchcraft, Occult, Demon Posession:
A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:27
Going places where only priests are allowed:
And when the tabernacle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down: and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. Numbers 1:51; 3:10, 38; 18:27
Joining a False Religion:
And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. Exodus 21:16
For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him. Leviticus 20:9
And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. Exodus 21:15
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. Deuteronomy 21:18-21
Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Exodus 31:14
Speaking Against God:
And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. Leviticus 24:16
Breaking and entering to steal:
If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. Exodus 22:2
Feel free to contact me if I have left out something but these above are the only law violations I could find that were given the death penalty.
Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Ecclesiastes 8:11
For the wages of sin is death Romans 6:23
When I have read Matthew 5, I see that Christ has begun to offer Himself as a substitutionary pardon for sins, even violations of The Law. Christ didn't destroy the law or rather He didn't do away with it.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Matthew 5:17
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Romans: 1:18-25
I believe Christ took the death penalty upon Himself for sins. I don't believe His taking the death penalty for all people causes everyone to automatically be saved. One must repent, turn from their sin, and receive Christ to be saved. However, I believe Christ's taking the death penalty upon Himself for sins is His way of giving people space and time to change and receive Him as Lord and Savior before they die. I believe the atonement is available for all but that one must receive Him. Once they receive Him as Lord and Savior, Christ's eternal payment is applied to their life and they are given eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Matthew 26:52
They that live by the sword shall die by the sword. When I consider terrible events like the many listed above, I begin to think that a person should be executed. Then, the rememberance of Christ kicks in...
-- Jeremy Brown 2003