Crime is rooted in the sinful nature of man. Sin is acting contrary to God’s standard and is revealed in his law-word. Crime is unlawful behaviour (as delineated by God in his Word) that usually threatens the life, liberty, or property of others, either directly (such as robbery, or murder) or indirectly (such as treason or perjury). There is criminal activity that potentiality only affects one’s own person, such as drug use. Such activity is still an assault on life (and our lives are not our own since God who created us ultimately owns us, we are stewards of our bodies.
Crime comes under the jurisdiction of state or civil government. While all crimes (are defined by God, but not necessarily the state) are sin, all sins are not crimes punishable by civil authorities. Many sins (violation of God’s law-word) are outside the jurisdiction of the state; some sins are to be dealt with by the family, some by the church, and many by God Himself. It is very important that civil leaders understand the distinction of crime and sin, the source of crime, and how to administer God’s justice when crime is committed.
Civil governments throughout history have declared many actions to be criminal, that according to God are not criminal at all, including reading the Bible and worshipping God according to the dictates of one’s own conscience. Where laws exist that are contrary to God’s higher law, it is the duty of Christians to seek to change these. Sometimes men have criminalised bad behaviour, with the goal of limiting behaviour that was not criminal according to God, but rather was sinful or potentiality sinful.
Some use prohibition to proclaim we cannot legislate morality, nor should we try to legislate morality. However, every law is a legislation of someone’s morality. Murder and theft are moral issues. Exacting laws against these actions is a legislation of morality. The important question is, ‘whose morality should we legislate?” There are really two answers; either God’s morality (which He reveals in his Word, the Bible) or man’s. While all law legislates morality, it is very important to understand that man cannot legislate goodness. Laws cannot change the heart of man; they cannot elevate man above the level of their faith and morality.
As mentioned earlier, a society must understand the source of crime before it can effectively deal with crime. The bible clearly states that wickedness and sin in the heart of man is the source of crime (Genesis 6:5,11). As a result of man’s sin – that is, disobedience to God – evil entered his heart. What was in the heart of man manifested itself in his actions (the world was filled with violence). Recognizing the true nature of man – he is a sinful, fallen being in need of a Savior – is the beginning place for a society to correctly deal with crime. Both preventative and corrective measures must be taken.
With the recent increase of crime in the society and moreso the number of murders, 13 to date, and some which remain unsolved, law enforcements agencies have become rather weary of the situation. Even the prison, the place where people are sent to pay for their crimes which they have committed, have also become a place where gruesome crimes are taking place. Never before have we seen or heard of such incidents in our lone penal institution.
Deeply engrossed in all of this is the need for moral transformation and not more legislation. It is not just saying, build a new prison or changing management, it must be greater than that. Until we deal with the situation from a faith -based perspective and recognise that there are demonic forces at work, that people are held as captives and enslaved by their habits and behaviour, then our efforts will continue to be futile.
What legislation and other methods cannot do, a praying church can do. Praying Christians need to stand in the gap, come together and confess, repent and pray for the atrocities which are taking place in the country. These are serious times and serious times demand urgency and passion for deliverance to come to our nation.