The Ten Commandments
You Shall Not Murder
2 April 2017
From the first chapter of the Bible, we learn that God has created us in His likeness. For this reason, and because God has stamped eternity on man's heart, murder is such an abuse of the life God has given us. Though sin has marred our image, we are still valuable to Him.
What does this command not prohibit? The sixth commandment, "you shall not murder," does not prohibit killing in justifiable war. It does also not prohibit the killing of animals, such as that God commanded for sacrifice in the Old Testament. It does not condemn killing in self-defence such as when the Jewish people stopped a conspiracy plotting their genocide (Es. 9:5). It does also not prohibit capital punishment which God has instituted (Gen. 9:6, Romans 13:2).
What does this command prohibit? It prohibits intentional murder as a blatant sin against God, such as is listed in Romans 1. It prohibits suicide, which is self-murder. The value of our life comes from God, in whose image we are made and owned. It prohibits abortion, which is pre-natal murder. The mother does not own the baby, but God. A baby is human from conception (Ps. 139:9). It also prohibits hatred, which is inward murder (1 Jn. 3:15). Hatred is the desire of the heart that leads to murder, and it is a form of murder in God's eyes (Matt. 5:22).
What does this command positively imply? Just the opposite of hatred, which is love. Against love, there is no law (Jas. 2:8 - 9). To love is to value human beings as God Himself does. Let us always practice this, both outwardly and in our hearts.