Punishment of criminals is a governmental responsibility. Under the Law Covenant, God promised He would direct Israel’s governmental affairs if they tried to obey Him. Deuteronomy 30:16, “If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land…” “For the Lord will be judge of his people…” Deuteronomy 32:36.

However, the Lord has never promised He would direct the affairs of any nation beside Israel. “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:2) No where in the New Testament does God teach He will overrule the decisions of any Gentile nation.

What does the New Testament teach about earthly governments and rulers? Romans 13:1, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” This scripture does not teach God is directing each nation. It’s obvious that the nations are not obedient to the Bible! Look at all the injustices around the world. However, this verse does indicate that God is a god of order and He has instituted governments to deal with offenses in order to keep people safe. 

Continuing in Romans 13:2-4, “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good…But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain…” Essentially, God is permitting the nations to use the death penalty as a punishment for murderers. Christian believers are not the government. We may individually forgive a murderer but we may not direct the government as to how to punish the guilty one. That decision is out of our control.