1 John 3:15 “Everyone hating his brother is a murderer; and you know that any murderer does not have eternal life abiding in him.”
Murder is a term that conjures up strong emotions. When you consider the most violent offenders in society, you might place murderers at the top of the list.
I once had a friend who spent 25 years in San Quentin penitentiary for multiple murders, he even had the tattoos to show for it. The life he was desiring to live required a complete break from his past (for obvious reasons), and yet the obstacles of his past proved to be a challenge more difficult than originally thought.
James 2:10 “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”
Taking someone’s life has always been considered significant, what hasn’t been considered significant for the past 47 years is taking the life of an unborn child. The abortion industry has expanded world wide into a mechanism of legalized murder. The most innocent in society have been disregarded for the cause of women’s rights or simply convenience. I heard one woman at a rally proudly state she had had 7 abortions, as if it was some badge of honor.
The tragedy of our times is the sacrifice of the innocent for the sake of convenience.
Any human condition that disregards the value of a life is evil. The trend is not new, it is as disturbing now as it has ever been.
As far back as history can tell, mankind has been willing to inflict great harm toward his fellow brother for selfish gain.
Genesis 4:8 “Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.”
From Cain’s murder to Judas’ betrayal of Christ, the revelation of mankind’s wicked heart has been on full display.
According to God, if we harbor hatred in our hearts, we are under the same judgement as murderers.
Hatred can be manifest in many ways:
Any act that leads to another’s demise is an act of hatred. If we lead someone into sin, we show hatred toward them. We don’t have to intentionally try to ruin them, our own lives of sin is enough to cause others harm. With that in mind, we have all been found guilty of showing hatred and the judgement of a murderer is upon us.
Without God’s mercy we are lost.
Without grace, I am no less guilty than the abortion doctors who mercilessly take life, upon life, on a daily basis. The Moral law is harsh in it’s evaluation of who I am. I cannot escape this standard of holiness by which I am held but I am held in its grip by a measure I cannot attain.
How is it possible for a liar to be as guilty as a murderer?
Jesus, in the midst of helping others taught that it is impossible to earn salvation, as He summarized it by the law in Mark 10:19 “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”
The law doesn’t need to be violated in multiple places to find someone guilty, it only must be broken in one place for the full weight of the law to be transgressed. Jesus clarified even further when He was teaching His sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Do not murder’ and ‘Anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”
It isn’t just the act that brings judgement, it is the intent of the Heart.
If I lust after a woman, in my heart I am already committing the act of adultery. If I hate someone in my heart I have murdered them. If I covet in my heart, I show the discontent of all the Father has given me and my lack of contentment shows hatred to God and to man.
Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
The standard by which God measures us is not by appearance.
Acts 8:22 “Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray earnestly to the Lord, if indeed the intent of your heart will be forgiven you.”
If I try to rob someone and they get away before I can steal their wares, I am no less guilty of showing hatred to someone…. regardless of the outcome. We so often think that it is only what is obvious in our lives is what brings shame, but in reality, the shame that others reveal will not be the only standard by which they are judged. Our judge knows the heart and every secret act that is done while no one is watching; it is He who will hold people accountable.
I would be remiss to reflect on judgement without showing the recourse for that judgement. Jesus follows up with the harsh reality of a standard which is humanly impossible to fulfill coupled with a challenge:
Matthew 5:29-30 “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to depart into hell.”
Some have taken this reference far too literally. Jesus isn’t saying to literally destroy your body, He is saying that we must do whatever means is necessary to remove the sin from our lives.
*The consequence of not taking those extra measures will have an eternal consequence that is far more significant than the temporary pleasure we gain from sin.
How do we change the intent of our hearts?
Deuteronomy 30:6 “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”
The Lord changes the heart.
If we want to know freedom from sin, we must submit our lives to the One who can free us from that sin. We will never be free from our sinful natures on this earth, the inheritance of corruption is fixed within our being. The reality of our sinful position is not an excuse for sinning. Some have attributed “human nature” as a rebuttal to those who have called for holiness.
We have the ability to be holy when we are filled with the Spirit. The infilling of the Spirit occurs upon salvation, the moment a lost sinner realizes that Jesus is all they need.
When we come before the cross of grace and accept the measure of love that God extended to those who walk in darkness, they are enlightened to the freedom Jesus bought with His life.
We need not despair when the realization of sin becomes so apparent. We have a responsibility to walk in the obedience that God provides.
—His moral law is a guide
—His Spirit is the testament of that standard
The conviction of sin becomes more apparent the closer His people walk with Him.
The church is also a means of strength for the one too weak to stand.
It is imperative we have brothers and sisters in Christ by which we can confide, those who can pray for us and with us, who show us grace and strength and hold us accountable to the standards of God’s holiness.
The key to overcoming is by not isolating in shame. The enemy wants us to think we are the only one on earth with this problem…..it is a lie!
If I were to meet with 25 people in prison or 25 people in a church, and we were real with each other, you would find that we are all going through the same difficulties in life.
To walk in the freedom that Jesus purchased is to set our mind on things above, not on the things of this earth—-submitting to God’s strength and trusting in His provision will never bring disappointment—He is always faithful.