Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 20:12)
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. ( Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER ‘ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ ( Jesus, in Matthew 5:21)
The Sixth Commandment is a prohibition against murder. David did not sin when he slew Philistines, such as Goliath, Ehud was following God when He slew Eglon, the State does not sin when it exercises capitol punishment. Soldiers who go to war in defense of their homeland or to liberate others who are oppressed are not breaking the sixth commandment either.
This is a fallen world, and The Word of God acknowledges that measures such as door locks, fences, guard dogs and sometimes even the use of weapons to defend, are necessary due to the depraved nature of man.
It is a serious thing to kill anyone, whether it be murder or otherwise, because all men bear the Image of God. But there is such a thing as legitimate and moral killing, such as in certain wars or in self defense.
What God forbids is murder, which according to the Merriam Webster dictionary means, ” the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought “.
Man bears the Image of God; God wants to live in and through us, He would have us to know him and enjoy Him forever. Man was made to represent God on earth.
Therefore to treat any man as anything less than a person, bearing the Image of God, is actually a form of murder. To murder a person physically is especially heinous for that reason, as Genesis 9 tells us;
Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. ( Genesis 9:6)
The Apostle James, whose Epistle is an exposition of much of the Sermon on the Mount, echoes Jesus when He says that even cursing a fellow man, is desecrating the Image of God, and any diminishment of our fellow man is a form of violating that Image. Character assassination, libel, cursing and swearing are all forms and levels of murder.
Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (James 3:9-10)
Jesus put it this way,
Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.( Matthew 5:21-22)
Jesus expanded the commandment against murder to the sin of unjustifiable anger, wrath and hatred in the heart are all forms of the same sin, and can incur the same eternal punishment. The Apostle John, who was present at the Sermon on the mount echoed the same truth,
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death. Everyone that hates his brother is a murderer and We know that no murder has eternal life. ( I John 3:13-14)
Thus the desire in the heart to destroy, diminish and belittle are forms of murder. So also the bearing of false witness, insult, misrepresentation, and out right lying against another person is a form of murder. A vengeful person who seeks to make their enemies pay, emotionally or otherwise is breaking this commandment.
Postively, we are commanded to Love our fellow man’s Life. We are to do what we can to promote and enhance it, we are to even love our enemies as best as possible.
What is life given to us for? We are given life that we might praise God! The Psalmist prayed when he was sick and dying, “Shall the dust Praise thee? Shall it proclaim thy name? ( Psalm 30) And in another place, The Psalmist proclaimed upon his own deliverance from death, “I shall Live and not die and declare the works of the LORD”. ( Psalm 118)
Every man living, bears the Image of God, and either does, or potentially could become a praiser and worshipper of God. No one has the right to take that life in murder, and rob God of the praise due Him.
What does that say about the grave, profound sin of abortion? How are we in the Western world ever going to remove the stain that is on us of more than 50 million slaughtered innocents in the USA alone? What is it that our laws, policies and sexual revolution has created but a legion of murderers and murderesses?
Like Abel’s blood the blood of the innocent cries out from the ground against all who have practiced abortion, promoted and fought for abortion, as well as all of those who coerced others to commit that kind of murder.
Human Life is a gift of God. Life in itself is not an end, we were given life for a specific purpose, that is that we all might know and love and worship God. Life can be squandered, misused and lost. Life may be given for various causes, including for the cause of God’s truth. And by self Will and even self deification, Life can be taken.
Murderers play God and take what is not theirs to take. Abortion, euthanasia, manslaughter (death by recklessness and negligence) are all covered in this commandment.
We are to love Life, to choose it in all of it’s forms and to reject death; murder, bitterness, hatred, envy, strife and false witness. Even in the face of our worst enemies we are to consider them as bearers of the Image of God, and thus worthy of a certain kind of honor, in spite of their deeds and actions.