When a person devoted to doing God’s will decides to deliberately disobey his concrete instructions, that person is committing spiritual suicide.
In ancient Israel, certain crimes carried the death penalty.
These crimes included: apostasy, idolatry, adultery, eating blood, and murder (De 13:12-18; Le 20:10; 17:14; Nu 35:31).
The law required for at least two witnesses to testify against the defendants and these same two witnesses had to be the ones to initiate the stoning process (De. 17:7).
Later, in first century Roman-ruled Judea, Jews were not at liberty to execute the criminals they convicted.
Instead, they had the practice of expelling someone, that is, shunning them from their community (John 9:22; 12:42).
Jesus passed this practice along to his disciples when he told them: ‘If your brother commits a sin and does not listen to the congregation, he should be to you just as a man of the nations and as a tax collector,’ (Matt. 18:15-17).
Jews did not commingle with other races or tax collectors for they considered them unclean.
Three years after Jesus’ death, Christians went out to preach to all the nations, but the shunning-rule remained the same in regards to a person who did not repent of their serious sins (Acts 10:28; 1 Co. 5:11,13).
When someone very close to us turns their back on God, it is like a constant sting in our heart.
One wishes we could trade faiths with them, somehow warranting their salvation in exchange for our own.
This is impossible, for Psalm 49, verses 7 and 8 read:
The decision whether or not to serve God is strictly between the person, God and the ransom price he provided, Christ (1 Tim. 2:5,6; Rom. 5:8).
The only thing we can do for these loved ones is to set an example of integrity so that they may be moved to repent and come back to the congregation (2 Cor. 2:6-8).