June 2, 2021

Who Has Authority To Take A Life?


Thou shalt not murder. Exodus 20:13 KJV

Have you heard of the Ten Commandments in the Bible?  One of them is often translated “thou shalt not kill.” The original Hebrew word in this commandment is ratzah, which is specifically “murder.” In English, murder is defined as unlawfully killing a person, as a result of a plan. Yet we know that not all human laws are not moral. There are differing opinions around the world about the lawfulness and morality of capital punishment, abortion, war, and other practices that result in death.

The purpose of the commandment against murder was to show that life is sacred, given by God alone. No human has the moral right to arbitrarily take life from another. That should be the foremost principle in our opinions about killing under any kind of law.

When Jesus came to earth, He amended this commandment. He said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22). Anger itself is not wrong, but an angry heart turned against someone else is murderous (Matthew 15:19). What we see is that God cares for what is in our hearts and minds toward one another.  To follow God’s sixth commandment, we must examine any thought, as well as our human laws, that devalue the sanctity of God-given life.

Resource Reading: Matthew 5:17-20.