2020-03-22 - Sixth Commandment: What Does This Command Really Require of Us?
Let‘s take a look at what Christ says about this commandment. In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus said:
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a]and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.‘ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca‘,[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!‘ will be in danger of the fire of hell. (Matthew 5:21–22 NIV).
Jesus sets standards that are far and above those required by the commandment. To be angry with a brother is to be a murderer. It‘s no wonder, as Dr. McGee puts it: "You cannot break the Law and get by with it. My friend both you and I need a Savior who has perfectly kept the Law and can impute to us His own righteousness.” 3
As you can see, we all can be guilty of violation of this commandment as Christ defined it. John deals with the same point, as we have already seen in 1 John 3:15-17 (TOL) Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer—and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 We have come to know love by this—Yeshua laid down His life for us, and we also ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 But if someone has material possessions and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him[b], how does the love of God abide in him?
By the way, we must remember the believer has a new nature, and it is the old nature that is the murderer, not the new. This also means a murderer can be saved if he accepts Christ's payment for his sin. Continuing on in 1 John (TOL) … We have come to know love by this—Yeshua laid down His life for us, and we also ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 But if someone has material possessions and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him[b], how does the love of God abide in him?
As you can see, for us as believers, there is then a way we are to keep this commandment. Ask, what is the opposite of taking a life? Maybe it isn‘t enough not to take a life, but we should also protect life, do what we can to improve life. Isn‘t that what John is saying here?
What are some ways this can be done?
John also points to Christ as our example. Instead of taking the lives of men, He offered up His own life to save them. And so we are called to offer ourselves up for those around us. We are called to be servants to mankind. Our task is to model Christ to others so that through the work of the Spirit, they will also desire to follow after Christ.
Conclusion: There are a number of ways we can protect life. We can carry out a positive approach to this command. First there is literally protecting life. This means taking a stand against abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. We are called to stand for the oppressed.
But John calls us to even more than this. He calls us to a responsibility to care for one another, the quality of life. Dr. Falwell demonstrated this with the “Save a Baby” Program. It wasn‘t enough to say abortion is wrong, to try to stop it. One must also be concerned about the mother and what is to happen to the baby when it is saved. His program focused on the mother‘s needs. In addition, where the baby was not wanted, a Christian home was found.
Again: “… whoever has the world‘s goods and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” It isn‘t enough to just save lives, we must also use what the Lord has graciously given to us to care for others. This means being concerned about both spiritual and physical needs.
So, what can we, individually, do for the lives of those around us? Do you know someone who is pregnant and is considering abortion? What can you do to not only stop her, but help her? Do you know someone who struggles with the lack of even basic needs? What can you do to help? What are some practical ways you can provide life, instead of taking it?
The command to not take life can be turned around to be a call to give life. If we are truly loving God and others, we will be concerned about helping them find life, true life. And that life can only be found in relationship with Christ. It isn‘t enough to avoid the wrongful taking of life. It isn‘t enough to save life. We must also ask: Are we valuing life and striving to enhance it? In this way, we apply the sixth commandment.
“You shall not murder.” for “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world‘s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God‘s love abide in him?” For Jesus tells us of the King, the Father who said; “‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.‘ … ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.‘” May we do the same. (Exodus 20:13; 1 John 3:15-17; Matthew 25: 35, 36 40 ESV)..
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