Sixth Commandment: You shall not murder

Exodus 20:13

When God created Man (and He did), He had His plan for his relationship to all of the creation.  It was never chaos.  First, it was Man’s relation to God Himself.  And then it was to everyone and everything else.  And the creation itself reflected this balanced order.  Theologians named it “providence.”  In short, God created, but the universe was never “autonomous”… that is, without oversight and care.

 Having created Mankind “after His own image” (in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness), God assigned Mankind to care for the earth.  And this “cultural mandate” was clear to Adam and Eve there in the Garden of Eden.  They had a uniqueness and value above all creation!  And they were told to “be fruitful.”  In other words, have children and multiply.  God saw that it was good. Then sin entered.  Satan tempted them to eat of the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil,” which God had forbidden them to do. They ate and immediately “died” – spiritually inside, and eventually physically.  God pronounced a curse upon them, including the ground, and they began the struggle as “sinners,” spiritually dead, as they went on to work.  They heard a word of encouragement in Genesis 3:15 as God cursed Satan and promised that one day someone born through woman would crush him.  A promise of hope.

 And then in God’s plan, Adam and Eve had children including two boys, Cain and Abel.  Cain became jealous and angry with Abel and one day killed (introduce the word “murdered”) Abel.  It was the first murder ever to take place!  And Cain would suffer for it.  God held him accountable!  Cain became a point of reference for all murders since, the unwarranted taking of human life.  

 It is really no surprise then that this 6th commandment – God’s written law for His redeemed people – forbids murder.  The old King James Version of the Bible put it this way: “You shall not kill.”  But the Bible does give warrant to some types of killing and these have largely been agreed upon in historic Christianity.  These three occasions are: execution by lawful authority; self-defense; and in a “just” war.  In none of these cases would the killing of another be considered murder. New translations using “murder” have helped in understanding the intent of this commandment.

Now let’s review again those “Two Greatest Commandments” spelled out by the Lord Jesus Himself.  When asked by a Jewish lawyer which is the greatest commandment, Jesus responded with the whole point of the Old Testament law.  He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all you mind.”  And then He added a second: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  And with this reply, He encompassed the Ten Commandments!  And He showed the Bible’s high motive of relating to God and man is Love!

Now why did I not begin this commentary with some recent report of a murder somewhere by someone for some known or unknown reason?  Frankly, I did not need to.  Such things are the substance of today’s news reports.  And some have observed that if something is said often enough, people forget about its shock.   And that, of course, has happened in the United States and in other nations where abortion of babies in the womb is being conducted without any censure.  It reminds me of the film made by a repentant abortionist, “The Silent Scream.” (I’m glad there is forgiveness by God for those who repent, — and many do.)

Let’s take this commandment another step.  If you get out your Bible and look up Matthew 5:21-26, you will find Jesus’ comments about this 6th commandment. (Take a look.  I can wait.)  One passing observation: He’s tough!  You pick up His point. It is the heart attitude that counts before God.  Remember God’s word to Samuel when he was about to anoint Israel’s king?  “…God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (I Kings 16:7)  And at that point we all flunk.  We have all broken this 6th command!

Now how do we cope with this?  We repent and turn to Christ.  You say, “That’s trite.”  It might be if you don’t understand what it means to be in union with Christ.  Our lifestyle should be a profile of His commandments; and in Christ we conquer!  We trust in Jesus having kept all of God’s law in behalf of those committed to Him; and in Him we conquer.  And 1 Cor. 1:30 says, “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”  So, in all of our relationships, we look to Him to empower us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  That’s what the 6th commandment is all about.  

by Ken G Smith

Print Friendly, PDF & Email