21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. – Matthew 5:21-26
I love how the righteousness of God goes right down to the heart of an issue. Murder according to Jesus is not just a physical act, but a spiritual act. If we are angry in our heart or speak words of bitterness and resentment, we are on the path of murder and we are in danger of the judgment of God.
As Christians, we are passed from judgement to life through faith in Jesus and this is a good thing because who among us has not behaved murderously in the sight of God?
Though we are passed from judgment to life, as sons of God in the making by the adoption of Jesus Christ, we should expect some chastisement from God if we continue dealing murderously with people.
Is there ever a time for murder as a Christian?
That is a question I have pondered for a while, and here is my understanding of this issue:
Vengeance is God’s and God’s alone. Period, whether we like it or not and whether we understand it or not.
You might say then, what about cases like Ananias and Shapira who lied to the Holy Spirit and were killed or the man who failed to give glory to God and was struck down dead? (See Acts 5 and Acts 12) What about the two witnesses in Revelation 11?
These cases are the vengeance of God brough about by the Holy Spirit—the Word and Sword of God which is as a consuming fire—not the vengeance of man.
If God acts through His church—which is the body of Christ—then it is the Lord’s doing. If we are doing these works it is not us that does it, but the Holy Spirit in us.
If we take it upon ourselves of our own accord, strength, will, and judgment to execute the judgement of God onto another, we are not in the will of God and we are in danger of the judgment ourselves.
There are many out there among the Christian faith who take the judgment of God into their own hands wrongfully. There are many who speak “out of their own heart” and not the heart of God.
Since the Holy Spirit is often a “still, small voice,” it can be easy to do at times, but I know that if we sincerely love the Lord, Jesus and are willing to submit our will to His will, as Jesus submitted His will as the Son to the Father, then He will correct us and bring us into better communion with Him by the Spirit of God in us.
This is one of many reasons why it is not a good idea for any of us to overly rely on another man. As the scriptures say, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” However, it is also true that if something is truly inspired by the Spirit of God, those who are also of the Spirit of God should resonate with what is said.
However, all things as the Father deems in His time. He blinds and deafens and gives sight and hearing as He wills. All things are working together for our good who trust in Him, and if He divides us for a time, it is for our good.
Sometimes brethren divide. Paul and Peter divided. If we must divide, let it be in humility, love, patience, and trusting that God is at work. We must follow our conscience and know “who are we to judge another man’s servant?”
The Spirit will stir us up to do whatever work we are to do for the glory of God and strength of our brethren, and though presently we all “see in part and know in part,” one day we will be united in Him. How wonderful that will be!
So, we seek peace with our brethren. We seek peace with everyone, as much as is possible, without denying the will of Jesus, our Lord. We must do what He calls us to do, even if it does not make sense to us or others. “God is in heaven and I am on earth, therefore let my words be few.”
We should strive to tame our tongue so that our words are few and His are plentiful. That is my hope and desire for the church, because I know that His Words are a much better defense than the strength and violence of Man—a strength and violence that the Word of God condemns.
We serve a God of mercy, patience, and love. We serve a God of Peace. We also serve a God of Justice and a God of War. The King of Kings encompasses many things—and to each His own for His use and glory as the Father deems. However, in some things we should be of one mind. I believe that to rely on the strength of man is folly. Many scriptures attest to this.
Our hearts are deceitful. Our judgment is corrupt. Our justice is folly and our wisdom comes to nothing but sin adding to sin.
Sorry if belaboring this point is grievous, but I do think this is where the focus of my ministry comes to a full—to unite the brethren in Christ under one banner that trusts in Jesus, reveres Him, fears Him, and humbly relies on His strength and not our own so that we might stand with Him in That Day blameless.
There is much to say on this topic, so there will be several parts to this article.
This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series. Subscribe for notifications of future posts.