Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

06 – Murder


Do not murder

This is a series on the “Decalogue” or “Ten Commandments” these are found in the second book of the bible Exodus in chapter 20. Moses receives these words from God on top of the mountain and he receives the commands on two tablets. The first tablet contains the instructions for man’s relationship with God. We pick up the account in the thirteenth verse of chapter twenty where we see the sixth of the Ten Commandments.


V13 “You shall not murder.


Seems fairly straight forward huh? Most decent societies have this as part of the laws of the land.

Human life is to be valued

When God speaks of murder, he is talking about the illegal taking of another’s life. He talks about an act that you have committed whether you have calculated it in your mind that it is what you are going to complete or not, but an act nonetheless that you have begun to harm someone and it has led to that person becoming a victim.

Murder can happen for a lot of reasons, the usual reasons are jealousy and profit. You are more likely to be killed by someone you know and the odds drop further when you add in family members. In the bible the first murder happened between the sons of the original man and woman. Adam and Eve had sons called Cain and Abel, lets look at the book of Genesis…

Genesis 4:1 (ESV) Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 

So Cain was jealous of Abel and slew him, this was jealousy pure and straight. This was before we add in a few thousand years of asset building, consumerism and wealth accumulation and greed. Do you think the issue of jealousy has gone away? As for gain, well people do it for reasons as varied as insurance fraud, inheritance and simply doing it to get rid of someone. We live in a broken world and people do bad things.

Here is the thing, we are created in God’s image, how pleased do you think God will be if we are deliberately kill his creation that was created in his image? Every breath of life by a human, regardless of how old or young (we will get to that later) is precious to God; it is a gift from God.

What about accidental death?

Notice that I started my premise by stating that God is against his creation being deliberately killed, it is not our job to “play God” and remove someone’s gift of life. But what happens in the case of accidental death? Are you guilty? Even if your actions were not set out to do so.

Personally, I believe it depends on the situation, if you are playing a game for example and you tackle someone in the spirit of that game and the tackled player does not get up, then that is an accident. God knows your heart and knows that you would never have in a million years attempted to make your opponent posthumous.

Same goes for workplace accidents, many folks who have been in dangerous occupations such as fire fighters have had survivor’s guilt if one of their colleagues dies on scene. (Even more so if the deceased swapped duty with a survivor)

For me, it is about the heart and I do not believe that a loving God who sees the heart and understands the motives will hold you liable for that you could not control.

What about abortion?

I will choose my words very carefully with this topic as it is highly emotive. God cares about his creation (you may notice a theme here) I more that most understand what a miracle creation is as I was born prematurely and the very fact I am breathing 37 years later is a testament that God answers prayer and is faithful when we are not.

So it is fair to say that if we are doing abortion as a “convenience” or as a afterwards “contraceptive” then that is what it is, it is murder. It would be far better to give that child a chance in this world and allow it to be raised by someone else if you are unwilling or unable. My wife and I will even unconditionally take it off your hands.

Where it gets tricky and where it has to be a matter of conscience is when the baby will harm the mother or there are health implications. My belief is that you have to make your decision following contemplative prayer but I would still be in favor of going through the birth.

Getting rid of a child through abortion for reasons as varied as inconvenience, disability or just plain old selfishness is what we are talking about here as we speak about murder.

Now if you have had an abortion and lament it, God forgives you in the same way he forgives your other sins. Many have had abortions and have regretted it afterwards, sometimes right away sometimes after some time and some still live with those scars. I pray for you as it is not an easy thing to live with and believe me I do not condemn you for past sins.

What about the death penalty?

God is all about law and order, there are some occasions that serial offenders who refuse to be rehabilitated would warrant the death penalty. In California where I live, we have the death penalty for very serious crimes and a very full prison system, although we have a death penalty we also have the inmates dying before they reach the electric chair.

God is not in favor of sin period, he wants man to take responsibility for the wrongs he has done and has instituted men to make laws and legal systems to keep order in those areas. No king (or president) can rise or fall without God’s blessing. If the death penalty is legal and causes a death that is not construed as torture then we are not creating a sin upon sin.

What about war?

Let us not kid ourselves on, some wars are good and some wars are bad. If you are part of a legitimate armed forces and are defending your countries interests either at home or abroad then you are serving your country.

Not all Governments are good however, let us start by looking at the example of Germany between 1933-1945 under the Nazi regime, in that framework you have to attempt to work for the good in a horrible framework.

That situation was set up as to take away allegiance from the country, and place it to allegiance in the “Fuhrer”. That way anything that the ruling party did not like (such as political preference, religion, skin color, mental state) or anything that did not fit their ideals were removed and removed in the harshest way possible.

Those are not normal circumstances and should you sign up as a soldier you do it under the understanding that you may have to kill an enemy combatant in order to fulfil your mission. Unless you have been forced to be there by your Government or a court order you have at some point made a decision to be there under your own will. That is not murder, in many cases it is either defense or self-preservation from being under attack.

What did Jesus say about murder?

Jesus condemned murder but also said the following in the Gospel of Matthew…

Matthew 5:21 (ESV) You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

What amazing teaching! Jesus was admonishing the Pharisee group who had gathered to attempt to trick him on a point of contention in their law. Jesus could see their hearts and knew what they were all about.

He could also see that despite the fact they looked the part and looked all religious their hearts were far from God. They had an iceberg theology, the bit above the waters looked harmless enough, but oh man! That bit below the water is what sunk them.

If we hate someone that we enrage and we play out killing them, or harming them in our hearts and minds then we are committing the same sin as if we had committed the act of murder. When I heard that after I was convicted of my sins then I understood right away that the condition of my heart was just as important as the deeds that come to fruition.

Have you committed murder?

If so then repent! Seek forgiveness and God will grant you mercy. God is a loving father who knows the hearts of those who ask and will forgive those who wish forgiven. He is willing to forgive all but some will not ask and that is tragic, if you wish to know more then please contact us on our contact page or check out our gospel page.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.

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