– All right, here we are again, continuing in our series Understanding and Obeying
the 10 Commandments. This is lesson number seven in our series entitled The Sanctity of
Life, and this is part one. We’re going to do two parts
in this particular section. Let’s begin by reading
the commandment itself from Exodus 20:13. “You shall not murder.” Pretty simple, pretty straightforward. “You shall not murder,”
that’s commandment number six. So, the sixth commandment
refers specifically to the taking of human life. If you kill your cat, you may be cruel, but you’re not a murderer because a cat doesn’t have a human life. It’s animal life. Now, there are two purposes behind, two main purposes behind this commandment. The first one is to
demonstrate and maintain the nature and the value of human life. The sanctity of life is tied to the belief that humans are created
in the image of God. And so, aggression against another human is also aggression against God, and therefore it is wrong, it is immoral. Another purpose for the commandment is to protect human life in an evil world. Those who believe, for
example, that there is no God, they can easily be led to believe that human life is only as valuable as the service that it renders to society. For example, if you are poor
or handicapped in some way, if you are old or your
life is not productive, well then your life is not very valuable because you don’t
contribute much to society and it’s easy to get rid of you. In nations where belief
in God is widespread, every person is considered
equally important because of their nature, not
because of their productivity. Where there is no belief in God, in communist countries, for example, there’s also no problem with abortion. No problem with killing
people who speak out or eliminate people like the
poor and the sick, the elderly, because they are a burden and no more than just flesh. Old flesh, for that matter. The danger in our country is the growth of humanistic philosophy in the last 100 years. Humanism is dangerous because
it denies the existence of God but uses ideas that come from
a belief system that does. For example, in humanism, they belief that caring for the sick
and poor is a good idea since this is the best
way to run a society and promote peace. They don’t do it because
it’s a divine command. They do it because they see that a system based on the principle
of loving your neighbor actually works well, and
it serves social goals. Now, the danger is subtle but very real. You see, it’s not a big
step from believing in God with love to disbelieving
in God with love, to disbelieving in God without love. You can make those, you can
take those steps very easily. If someone comes along and says that they have a better plan for society and they say, do it my
way or we’ll kill you, and they have the muscle to back it up, there’s no moral authority to stop them. This command establishes
God as the final arbitrator over life and death, over
how we treat one another and not man, man is not
the final law on this. God is the final law on this. So what’s the rule? You shall not murder. The unlawful taking of another human life, what does this mean in everyday terms? So first of all, it rules
out unlawful aggression. One continuous line of unlawful aggression beginning with anger and
including violence, rape, murder. Jesus connects anger and murder in the sense that both
are on the same continuum. Another thing that this
command deals with is suicide. We can permit a terminally ill patient to die naturally without keeping them on a support system which
might prolong their lives. But we cannot kill someone
who requests to be killed because of depression or pain. There are many reasons why
people kill themselves. Depression, substance
abuse effects, great pain. But these things don’t justify the act. As Christians, we believe
that God will not allow us to carry more than we can bear,
physically or emotionally. The commandment also prohibits abuse. For example, unnecessary risks to our life or the life of others, or unnecessary risk in
order to feed our egos. Our bodies belong to God, not ourselves. Foolish risks to gain fame or approval or excitement or money are
presumptuous before our creator. Also, the abuse of our
bodies through consumption of unlawful or harmful or overindulgence of various substances, habits, etc. This includes alcohol and tobacco and illegal drugs and overindulgence and food and prescription
medicine, and so on and so forth. Also includes damaging
our bodies with overwork, over exercising, over doing whatever. Whatever taxes the body. Christians are to bring honor to God with their own bodies, and
honor the bodies of others as they honor their own. Now, what the command does permit, the command does permit killing
in certain circumstances. Hunting and fishing, for example. I mean, animals are not human. They’re not made in the image of God. They don’t fear judgment. They don’t feel guilt. There’s no intrinsic difference in the value of the life of a bird or an elephant or a whale. Only size and species. The issue here is not
murder, but stewardship. We set the stewards,
rather, we are the stewards of the earth’s resources of animals. We have to ask ourselves, are we managing this stewardship well? And are we doing it without cruelty? It also includes capital punishment. Now, the Bible considers life so precious that to unlawfully take one life leads to the forfeiting of
our own life in many cases. We read about that in Genesis 9:6 and Deuteronomy 19, Romans chapter 13. All murder is killing, but not all killing is murder, you see. God gives the state permission
to execute criminals. This is seen in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Rapists, for example,
were condemned to death in Deuteronomy chapter 22. Kidnappers, Exodus chapter 21. Murderers in Genesis 9:6. But also in Romans chapter
13 and Acts chapter 25. Of course, there are those who argue that a God of love and mercy
would not condone such a thing. And this is a biblical argument for the other side of this issue. The balance, I believe,
is found in Exodus 23:7. In Exodus 23:7, the writer says, “Keep far from a false charge “and do not kill the
innocent or the righteous, “for I will not acquit the guilty.” So, the goal in the consideration
of the death penalty is not, is it a deterrence to crime. Do we use the death penalty
in order to stop rape or murder or those type of things? Well, these things are
always going to be with us because we live in a sinful world. No, the goal of capital
punishment is divine justice carried out by God’s
servant, which is the state. Now, in doing its job, the state must make absolutely sure that justice
is carried out fairly and in every case, because in the end, as the Scripture says, God
will demand a reckoning from the accused as well as those who are carrying out the justice. So we need to be very, very
careful how we put this, this legal procedure into play. Another thing that this
command permits is police work. In 1 Peter 2:13-14, Peter tells Christians that they are to submit to legal authorities. We’re not allowed to take
the law into our own hands because we haven’t been
given the right by God, or the opportunity by God. God doesn’t give this to the individual, he gives it to the state. Law is the duty of government, and God will judge those
who have served in this way. You may have a good reason
to want personal revenge, but you have no legal right and no spiritual support for it. And Paul talks about that in Romans 12:19. Also, the command permits self-defense. Exodus 22:2 says, “If the thief is caught “while breaking in and is
struck so that he dies, “there will be no
bloodguiltiness on his account.” And so God makes provision for us to use legal means to protect ourselves. This extends to national defense as well. In Luke 13:14 and Acts chapter 10, the soldiers in question were not obliged to give up their roles in
order to follow Christ. In other words, soldiers
who became Christians didn’t have to stop being soldiers. In Romans chapter 13, Paul
speaks of the legitimate right that the government has to use force in defending the country. Justified self-defense
is where an individual or a nation defends itself
against unjustified aggression against itself, or against those it is responsible to protect. How do we keep this command? Matthew chapter 5, beginning
in verse 38 gives us the idea of how we keep this
command from day to day. Jesus says, “You have
heard that it was said, “an eye for an eye, and
a tooth for a tooth.” Now this here refers to the
Jewish law of restitution that said that you must repay what you have lost or stolen or damaged. The purpose was to regulate restitution so that it would not escalate to revenge. In other words, not two eyes for an eye. It’s an eye for an eye
and a tooth for a tooth. You see, to find some balance there in the process of restitution when you had been wronged. In a broader sense, this also refers to the role of government,
to regulate justice and mete out punishment
fairly for everyone. So we keep reading, verse 39, it says, “But I say to you, do not
resist an evil person; “but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, “turn the other to him also. “If anyone wants to sue
you and take your shirt, “let him have your coat also. “Whoever forces you to go
one mile, go with him two. “Give to him who asks of you, “and do not turn away from him “who wants to borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, “you shall love your neighbor
and hate your enemy.” So here, Jesus refers to the law by which the Christian lives. This law is above the law of government. The idea is that the
Christian doesn’t build upon evil for evil, but he
overcomes evil with good. So, Christians don’t run the government, but in their personal lives,
they do control the law by which they will live
in their personal lives. Christ calls us to this higher law. This doesn’t mean a Christian
can’t protect himself or seek protection or
justice from the state. I mean, even Jesus said that
if his battle was on earth, he’d call 10,000 angels to
defend him, in John 18:36. Allowing a murderer to attack your family or violate you or violate your home, and responding by turning the other cheek, that’s just foolish and it’s
not really loving your family to whom you owe your
first loyalty in society. This type of misguided attitude
actually encourages evil. But obeying this command,
the command not to murder, as Christians, requires us
to exercise Christian love and forgiveness with wisdom
and with proper judgment. For example, I will pray for and I will forgive the drunk driver who kills one of my family,
but I will also support the government’s right and
duty to punish this person according to the law. Both of these things are required
of me and the government, according to God’s word. So let’s summarize a little bit here. We’ve talked about a lot of ideas here concerning the sixth commandment. And so, the sixth commandment establishes that human life is precious, because it is created by
God in his own likeness and the willful damage to our
own or someone else’s life is an act of aggression
against God himself. Second point, because of
sin and evil in the world, God allows government to
protect society against evil by punishing and executing criminals in fairness and in justice, and also defend the nation
against evil power in the world. And then, third big idea, the Christian attitude towards
evil and violent people is to try to win them over
with good whenever possible, but not at the expense of what is good. Again, for example, I do not allow someone to harm me or others in order
to show them that I love them. That’s foolish, that’s
going beyond the pail. Okay, in our next session we’re going to talk about
the, though shalt not kill as it relates to the abortion debate, but I wanted to take an entire
session to talk about that. For now, I’ll give you the
questions that you can use for your small group discussions. I’ll see you next time. Question number one, how do you break the sixth commandment? Question number two,
should the death penalty be applied in every murder case? Why or why not? Question number three, what
is the spiritual condition of Christians who commit suicide? Question number four, was
our war with Iraq a just war? Why?

Tagged : # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *