“You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13
If there is one Commandment, which the majority of people think they have never transgressed, it is the Sixth Commandment. Murder is considered to be a minority crime.
Yet as Christ taught us in the Sermon on the Mount, hatred is also a breach of this Commandment. In fact as one considers the fullest implications of the Sixth Commandment and the family of offences that it covers, this is a most relevant Commandment for this murderous age.
“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.”Genesis 9:6
There are so many ways in which this Commandment is violated on a daily basis.
Argueing with an Abortionist
When I took part in an Africa Christian Action Pro-Life protest outside an abortionist’s home the“doctor” drove up and demanded, “what are you doing outside my home? Are you the people who have been distributing these leaflets?” she waved one of the You Can Stop Abortions! leaflets. “Well, I want you to stop. You are embarrassing me in my neighbourhood. I don’t want my neighbours to know what I do.”
“If what you’re doing is right, why would you be embarrassed about your neighbours knowing your occupation?” I asked.
“Because it’s controversial. Not everyone approves of abortion. You are embarrassing me.”
“You are killing babies.” I told her.
“No, I don’t kill babies. The mothers do” she responded.
“Well, the mothers pay you to kill their babies, but you are the one who actually does the procedure.”
“But it’s their choice. They sign the life of their baby away. I’m just providing a service.” She responded.
“So, you are like a hit man, who takes money to kill people?”
“You could describe it like that,” she smiled. “I’m providing a service. It’s the mothers choice.”
“You are concerned about what your neighbours, today, think,” I responded. “But you should be more concerned about what Almighty God will say to you on the Day of Judgement . You do believe in God don’t you?”
“Yes, I believe in God.” She answered. But she denied that she was a Christian.
“Well, you have an appointment. ‘It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the Judgement.’ One day you will have to stand before Almighty God and give an account of everything you have done.”
“Maybe,” she responded with a shrug, “but you are speaking to the wrong person. You need to be involved in sex education in schools. I have to do abortions for twelve-year olds. You won’t believe how many young girls come to me for help. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. There’s a tremendous demand for what I am doing and very few willing to do it.”
“Well, of course we do go to schools; and groups like True Love Waits are involved in vigorous sex-education in the schools. We do believe that education is our highest priority. I’ve worked in the Fire brigade and the Army. Those are often dirty jobs. Firemen and soldiers can say they are saving lives. Abortionists cannot say that. You are not saving lives, you are ending lives. The fact still remains that life begins at conception and abortion is murder.”
The abortionist responded: “That’s your opinion.”
“No, that is a scientific fact. Surely you as a doctor know that life begins at conception?”
“That’s not the point.”
“Yes, that is exactly the point. Make no mistake, the day will come when future generations will look back on abortion in our time the same way we now look back on the slave trade and the holocausts.”
“Maybe,” she said, “but we won’t be around then, so it won’t matter to us.”
“Don’t you believe in the immortality of the soul? It will most certainly matter to you in eternity. There is a God in Heaven, a Day of Judgment. Heaven and hell are very real. It will most certainly affect you after you have died and throughout all of eternity.”
It was remarkable that this abortionist spoke so freely about “the mother” and “the baby.” Normally abortionists try to dehumanize their victims by speaking of “the patient” and “the product of conception”,or “the foetus”. However, this abortionist had no problem consistently referring to “the mothers”, who“sign their baby’s life away.” At no time did she question the facts that life begins at conception and that abortion is the killing of an innocent baby. Her justification was merely that it is legal, and she’s doing what the mothers were asking (and paying her) to do.
We cannot only single out the abortionists for the prevalent crime of abortion. It is also the politicians who have legalised the killing of children in the womb, and those voters who continually vote for pro-abortion parties that enable this abortion holocaust to continue.
Multiple Murder Methods
There are numerous ways in which the Sixth Commandment is violated:
“Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death…If a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from My altar and put him to death…” Exodus 21:12-16
Capital PunishmentThe Bible is very clear that God has instituted civil government as “an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrong-doer.” Romans 13:4 Civil government is called to a minister of God’s justice: “To punish those who do wrong.” 1 Peter 2:14
The primary duties and responsibilities of civil government are the protection of law-abiding citizens and the punishment of law-breaking criminals. Psalm 101 reminds us that the duty of God-honouring rulers is to destroy the wicked, to root out evil and to protect the law-abiding.
In the Bible the question is asked: “Why do people commit crimes so readily? Because crime is not punished quickly enough.” Ecclesiastes 8:11
Every year 20,000 people are murdered in South Africa. And 80,000 babies are killed through abortion. It is not only those directly involved in these crimes of murder that are guilty of violating the Sixth Commandment. The guilt is shared by all those politicians who abolished the death penalty for murder, while instituting the death penalty for babies through abortion. Also guilty of being accessories before, during, and after, the fact are the journalists who promoted abortion, and who cover up the facts in order to ensure that the holocaust against the unborn continues. Those pastors who fail to faithfully expound the Scriptures on when life begins, and what a Christian’s responsibility is to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, are also accessory to murder. And of course, all those voters who continue to vote for pro-abortion parties are also accessories to murder.
“Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9
Respecting and Protecting LifeThe Sixth Commandment “You shall not murder” is a very broad Commandment, requiring many duties and forbidding many sins. Negatively it forbids every unlawful injury inflicted upon our own, or our neighbour’s, person. Our neighbour may be injured by our neglecting him, or by our not assisting him, according to our abilities. Again, we may injure our neighbour by external force or violence, or we may also break this Commandment internally by anger, hatred or desire for revenge.
Positively the Sixth Commandment requires the preservation of our own, and our neighbour’s, life and safety. This is done by rendering prompt assistance to others, or by protecting them from injuries in the spirit of mercy and good neighbourliness.
Related to a Murderer
Tracing one’s ancestry is very popular. Many people spend days, weeks and months tracking down sources on the Internet and pouring over records in archives to search for their family history. One often is pleasantly surprised to discover some prestigious relative perched on a branch of the family tree. It is most encouraging to find some relative whose life and accomplishments left some positive legacy for generations to follow. On the other hand, most family trees also include individuals who we would rather forget about – relatives who did not live a good life, even some who were thieves, pirates or murderers. Each one of us can be sure of one thing. No matter who you are, you have at least one relative in your family lineage who was a murderer. In fact, did you realise that you are related to the very first murderer? The very first person to be born on the planet, Cain, murdered his brother Abel. The second person to be born on planet earth, Abel, was the first victim of murder.
By obeying God’s Law and punishing murderers with the death penalty, a nation can cleanse itself from the guilt of innocent blood. On the other hand, a nation that refuses to avenge the taking of innocent human life, must share the guilt of the murderer (Deuteronomy 21:1-9).
However, inevitably, as we stand for the right to life we are accused by pro-abortionists of not being consistent. How can we support capital punishment if we claim to be “Pro-Life”?
To this we need to challenge them on their consistency: “Do you believe in abortion?”
“Oh yes, of course, we are pro-choice!”
To which we must then ask: “Do you believe in capital punishment for murderers?”
“No! Absolutely not!” they respond in horror at the thought.
Then we can respond: “It would appear that the difference between our positions is quite simple: We believe in protecting the right to life of the innocent and judiciously taking the life of guilty murderers. Whereas you believe in killing the innocent babies, but sparing the guilty murderers! The Bible declares that God hates ‘the hands that shed innocent blood.’ Proverbs 6:17 and‘Woe unto him that calls evil good and good evil’ Isaiah 5:20”.
Abortion is a modern equivalent of child sacrifice. Just as God’s people opposed Pharaoh’s decree to murder newborn boys in Egypt (Exodus 1:15-22) so we need to protect pre-born babies from abortion today. Just as King Herod sought to kill babies in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16), so abortionists are attempting to butcher babies today.
The sanctity of human life is an essential article of the Christian faith. The Bible makes it clear that life begins at conception (Psalm 139:13-16; Isaiah 44:2; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:41). The unborn baby is then genetically, physiologically and organically a distinct person. At that moment life begins. At about three weeks after conception, the baby’s heartbeat can be detected. Six weeks after conception the baby has it’s own lifelong brainwave. If the absence of a brainwave is considered a sign of death, why then is the presence of this brainwave not accepted as confirmation of life? Birth is not a magical act that turns a non-human into a person. Birth is only a change in an environment for a life that began many months before. Every abortion stops a beating heart. Every abortion ends a brainwave. Every abortion is the murder of a helpless and innocent person. If we do not stand up and oppose abortion then the blood of innocent babies will be upon our heads (Ezekiel 33:1-6). As Christians we must love our neighbour – and this includes our pre-born neighbours.
Being a Good Samaritan
The Good Samaritan was obeying the Sixth Commandment when he stopped and cared for the man who had been brutally attacked by robbers and left to die along the side of the road. The priest and the Levite who walked by on the other side of the road violated the Sixth Commandment by failing to give the aid necessary to this stranger in distress (Luke 10:27-37). If we are determined to obey the Sixth Commandment in a positive way, we must ensure that we do not neglect to care for people who are suffering, either physically or spiritually.
However, are we not like the priest and the Levite when day after day we pass by people who have been beaten and bloodied by satan and sin? When people’s lives are in ruins and they are in jeopardy of dying in their sins and coming unredeemed before the Judgment seat of God, do not we who have the Spirit of Christ within us have the obligation to offer the Living Waters of Jesus Christ, and the Oil of the Holy Spirit, to those who are perishing in sin all around us? Will you continue to pass by people who are rushing into eternity without Christ, without God, and without hope?
Protecting the Innocent
Obviously, we must avoid the Sins Forbidden in the Sixth Commandment by having nothing to do with suicide, euthanasia, abortion and murder. But we must also endeavour to fulfill the positive side of the Sixth Commandment: To seek to do everything we can by “all careful studies, and lawful endeavour, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting by just defence against violence, protecting and defending the innocent.”
Loving our Neighbour
We need to be channels of spiritual life by proclaiming the Word of God, being His witnesses and leading people to the foot of the Cross. The opposite of murder is to love our neighbours, to love strangers, to even love our enemies, and to minister to their needs, both physical and spiritual.
The Worst Murder Ever
We also need to consider the most heinous, most vicious murder ever committed in history. At Calvary’s Cross, mankind’s sin resulted in the murder of the most innocent victim of all time: God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. He submitted willingly and became a victim of this heinous violation of justice so that we – the very people responsible for his suffering and death – might in turn find life and joy forever.
Have you repented of your complicity in the death of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Have you found life in Christ?
Are you pointing people to the Saviour day by day?
Dr Peter Hammond