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Scripture clearly condemns “killing people” in Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.” The word “kill” in this verse is actually the word “murder,” which is translated as that in many Bible translations, such the NKJV, “You shall not murder.” Murder is a premeditated act where an individual unlawfully takes the life of another human being.

Because of the sin of murder, God instituted “capital punishment.” In Genesis 9:5-6 we read, “And surely your blood of your lives will I require: at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man.” Life is precious in God’s sight and if one takes the life of another, he has forfeited his right to live. In this verse God not only instituted capital punishment, but He established “human government” in order to carry out capital punishment. This is seen later in Romans 13:1-4, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (NKJV). The “sword” in verse 4 speaks of the punishment the government will execute upon evildoers and it includes capital punishment. I know many today are against this form of punishment, but God has NOT changed His mind about the value of life and how one’s life should be forfeited if they, out of malice, take another person’s life.

It is clear that when the government takes a murderer’s life, it is NOT murder. It is an act of “killing,” but it is done, not out of malice, but as an act of justice. A nation’s government also permits them to establish an army for the same purpose, for if the lives of their citizens are being taken, they have the moral right to execute punishment on those who are murdering their citizens.

Before I close I would like to challenge believers in Christ with two verses. Our Lord Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 5:21-22, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” The apostle John echoes these sentiments in 1 John 3:15, “Whosover hateth his brother is a murderer.” The message is clear: If we hate our brother or sister in Christ, it is the spiritual equivalent of murder! Though these verses may be referring primarily to what characterizes unbelievers, we know all too well that even a true believer may be guilty of this sin. One example of this is speaking evil of a brother, for this is a case of “character assassination.” We are exhorted  against this in Ephesians 4:31-32, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” If you find yourself angry with your brother don’t let another minute go by, judge this sin in God’s presence and allow Him to give you the victory. He will indeed replace your anger with kindness, and hatred with love.  (144.5)  (DO)