Tag Archives: Ten Commandments

Holiness

Meditations on the Psalms

But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. (Psalm 4:3 ESV)

Separation for God from the world is one of the major themes in the Psalms. We see God separate the wicked from the righteous in Psalm 1. Those who would separate themselves from God face His wrath and ultimately achieve their purpose in Psalm 2. In Psalm 3, Jesus, and those in Him, need not fear those who stand against them or God, for He will deliver. Here, the Psalmist declares God has set apart for Himself those who obey Him within the deepest thinking of their hearts. To set apart means to be distinct, marked out, separated, distinguished from others. God describes for us those who are His whom He has set apart. They are the godly, the faithful, holy, pious saints.

God reveals that those who exhibit and live holiness, He claims for Himself. These are the people who turn away from their sin toward God, who repent and walk toward Him in the faith He gives. They are His and cannot be taken from Him.

After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, some of those who witnessed the miracle went to the religious leaders of Judah, reporting to them what had occurred. They condemned Jesus and devised a premeditated plan to murder Him. They decided to murder Lazarus, the living witness to an irrefutable miracle. What were they going to do with Mary and Martha and all of the other people who witnessed Jesus’ miracle, who had seen Lazarus dead, then saw him walk out of a tomb after four days? They cannot kill everyone.

God uses the authorities of the world, whether they cooperate are not, to do His will and fulfil His purpose. In this case, the high priest, Caiaphas, prophesied what would happen by telling those under his authority what needed doing. In his mind and heart, the best solution to the problems Jesus raised by His presence, teaching and works, was to murder Him. Murder is against the law of God. Everyone who heard him, knew this. “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13 ESV; see Deuteronomy 5:17) is an explicit statement. Caiaphas declared Jesus had to die so the nation might continue to exist. His reasoning was that if Jesus continued to live the Romans would punish them all and take away their temple and disperse them throughout the world.

Let’s remember some of the history of the Jews. God had already destroyed the temple, dispersing the Jews throughout the world. He did this because they refused to trust Him as their God and obey His directives. In 586 BC, the Babylonians conquered the nation of Judah, the southern part of the divided nation of Israel. Around 70 BC, the Northern Kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians, its people dispersed throughout the world. Judah was ransacked, the temple destroyed, and many of the citizens of Judah were exiled in 586 BC. Seventy years later the Babylonian nation was conquered by the Medes and Persians. It was the Medes and Persian leader, Cyrus, who sent a remnant of Jews back to Judea­ to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. The religious leader’s of Jesus’ time should have known disobeying the direct will of God was not going to save their nation. Murdering His Son only brings His wrath. Before the end of the century Jerusalem is destroyed again, the temple is razed and the Jews are exiled.

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. (John 11:47-52 ESV)

When the Jewish religious leaders killed Jesus using the Romans as their executioners, they ultimately accomplished the will of God. They were responsible for their actions, for the thinking of their hearts. Their physical, temporal nation was destroyed. But the eternal Kingdom of God is established and the eternal King is enthroned.

 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. (Psalm 2:6-8 ESV)

God’s kingdom is filled with those He set apart for Himself, beginning with His Son, Jesus Christ. Because the One Man is blessed, so those who take refuge in Him are blessed. “Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12 ESV). Peter describes the follower of Christ.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV)

We are set apart from the world for God.

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Amen

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. [Matthew 5:18 ESV]

Jesus uses the word “amen” in this verse. “For truly(amen)I  say to you.” God uses the word to affirm the absolute fulfillment of His promises. Revelation 3:14 uses the word as a name of Christ. “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation’” [Revelation 3:14 ES]. Jesus is throwing the full weight of God’s eternal being behind the words He has and will state.

God gave His Word, deciding before creation what would occur, knowing, before creation what He would do. Heaven and earth began. His Word was present. Heaven and earth will end. His Word is eternal. Like Himself His Word is not constrained by time or place.

Perhaps we need to realign our thinking with the truth of His eternal Word. When He says “I have come to fulfill them (the Law and the Prophets) [Matthew 5:17 ESV] we think automatically He is referring to the Hebrew Scripture. By doing so we place upon His Word our created and temporary thinking. This is not wrong thinking but is incomplete thinking.

Long into the history of the nation of Israel God gave the Law to Moses for the people of Israel to follow. Hundreds of years before Abraham had been separated out from all people and blessed. Soon after he was given the command to circumcision. Isaac was chosen, not Ishmael. Jacob was chosen not Esau. Jacob had twelve sons by four women and his tribe went to Egypt and lived there for 400 years. After Moses was born it was another 80 years before God brought the people out of Egypt. Then, 400 years into Israel’s history, God gave the people the Law, beginning with the Ten Statements, commonly known as the Ten Commandments.

To limit the Law and the Prophets to the written law of Moses is to ignore the history of Israel and the real people who lived that history. It also completely ignores, or makes of little consequence, the relationship God has with His creation before and after the giving of the Law of Moses.

A great portion of the Law of Moses prescribed the duties of the priests in offering sacrifices. Certain animals were forbidden as sacrifices. God identified what kind of animal could be sacrificed and how the animal was killed. Hebrew Law determined who received portions of the sacrifice for food and what parts were given wholly to God.

There is no longer a need for animal sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice fulfilled the laws of the sacrifice. Does this mean the laws dealing with sacrifice are null and void? Absolutely not. We learn, if we are willing, about the extent of the sacrifice of Christ for us through the sacrificial law. Israel’s history tells us about God who redeemed those enslaved by sin.

He is the eternal Word, the author of the Word of God and nothing about Him will cease to exist when heaven and earth disappear. We place ourselves in a box when we refuse to view God’s Word as eternal demanding our interpretation of His Word be limited by a specific time and place.

Jesus confronted the teachers of the law over and over about their misinterpretation of God’s Word. They had the Word of God, the Law and the Prophets and used the traditional interpretations of the words to justify themselves. God gave His law so men would see their sin and turn to Him not so they would have a means to justify themselves before Him.

Why could not the teachers of the law understand Jesus’ words as He spoke and taught, or His actions as He healed? They had been taught and embraced a training which closed their minds to the truth. They had been taught by their “father, the devil” [John 8:44 ESV] turning truth and its head, claiming truth was not true and the lie was true and trustworthy. “Because I tell the truth, you do not believe me” [John 8:45 ESV]. Remove and compromise the truth and you will keep self from being good, because good has been redefined, excused, tortured into a lie. Take away the goodness of God and there can be no justice or righteousness, only fairness applied arbitrarily. Rob the world of justice and righteousness and holiness expunges the world from its presence, for only that which is true and good and right and just can be holy. Jesus was all of these things. Like a foreign object being rejected by the body so the corrupted body of men rejected Jesus.

We learn about Jesus by examining His life and His words. Since He wrote the Hebrew Scripture about Himself we would do well to examine it and know what it says. God’s Spirit in us will teach us if we are willing and open to learning.

Expected Obedience

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. [Matthew 5:10-12 ESV]

God declares a standard of righteousness in the ten commandments or statements found in Exodus and Deuteronomy. Like all “rules of conduct” posted in may public establishments the need for the rules is predicated upon the behavior of the public. Most of the public will keep the rules as a normal part of their behavior. But there are some who do not care for the rules and enter with the intent of breaking them, sometimes just to see if they can get away with violating “someone else’s rules.”

God’s moral standard is inherent in the image of God found in all people. While the vessel is corrupt because the person is bent by sin, the image of God in them is not. People know when they are wrong because of the war between their bent away from God and the image in them pulling them toward Him. Man is created for relationship and obedience but compelled to rebel because of the corrupted nature of sin. What agony we endure.

Where there is a need to post “rules of conduct” there is obvious rebellion and even criminal motivations. Rules are posted to give the authorities the right to impose necessary restrictions, and even sentence, to maintain an orderly environment. Even though God embedded His image in people He stated His “rules” so there would be absolutely no excuse for sinful motivations and actions.

Persecution happens not because of the person but for what the person represents. Citizens of the kingdom of heaven represent the King, the standard of the King, the rule and reign and authority of the King. Those who live in rebellion toward the King cannot abide the presence of any who, by their lives, reveal the evidence of rebellion.

Sin affects everyone. Some may outwardly keep the moral standards of God but their motivations show otherwise. When Adam fell from grace, all fell from grace and are separated from God. After the fall the thinking, feeling and motivation of all people was only evil, all of the time. The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” [Genesis 6:5 ESV]. God wants a relationship with man but man wants nothing to do with God. God built us for relationship yet all refuse to know Him who created them.

God never asks anyone to do something. He tells, with every right and expectation of obedience. Remember, obedience carries no merit. It only takes one act of rebellion, one sin, to separate anyone from Him. Those who refuse the prompting of the Spirit, which is an expected command from God, continue in their rebellion and separation from Him.

One sin, the first sin of Adam, separated all from God. Jesus died for all sin. Now, one sin, a specific sin committed by the individual, separates each from God. He told Adam to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam did what he was told not to do. Now, He tells all to eat from the tree of life, which is Jesus. Many refuse.

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” [John 6:53-56 ESV]

Those who have rejected and disobeyed His command are separated from Him and hate Him with a passion ranging from ambivalence to zeal. God’s statements measure, not man’s love for God but man’s hatred for Him who created them. Since they cannot touch God they turn their hatred on those who are His, whom they can touch.

Jesus tells us those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake are blessed. Jesus is speaking about living according to the moral character of God embodied in the ten statements and the words of Christ. Persecution comes because of God and the relationship the Christian has with God.

God’s Tenth Statement

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. [Exodus 20:17 ESV]

“Covet” can also be translated desire, delight in, hold precious, consider delectable, lust for. There is a slight difference between the statement in Exodus and in Deuteronomy. And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house” [Deuteronomy 5:21]. Another word is used just before the list of valuables owned by your neighbor. “Desire” means to wish for or long after. You will not lust after your neighbor’s wife or wish for your neighbor’s possessions.

This is God’s last, but not final, statement to those who are His. Are these statements directed only at the people of the nation of Israel or toward all people? Though the statements were given to Moses, and the people of Israel required to follow them, the universal character of the statements demands they apply to all people.

All of the preceding statements point to the thinking of the heart in specific behaviors and how wrong thinking from the beginning brings rebellious activities. This statement lays bare the motivation of the heart, an indictment covering all sinful activity. Where there is one sin there is covetousness. Murderers covets the life of another while adulterers covet the spouse of another. Thieves covet property and liars covets control over truth. With covetousness comes all of the evidence needed to justify judgment, sentencing and execution of the sentence. This statement touches the fiber of every thought and act done by the person corrupted by sin.

Does not God begin these statements by driving home the reality that He alone is God, and that nothing and no one is to take His place? Are not every one of these statements designed to reveal God’s place and how His person, and our relationship with Him, is attacked and compromised or destroyed? You may have heard the worst sin a person can commit, the sin which was the downfall of Lucifer, the foundation for all other sin, is pride. It is not. God tells us plainly the motivation behind all sin.

How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. [Isaiah 14:12-15 ESV]

Satan, Lucifer, the highest angel, wanted God’s place, which means he wanted God gone. His pride is evident but his desire and motivation is to usurp God and make himself higher than his Creator. He coveted God.

The thinking of our hearts are filled with the desires to have what is not ours, to be what we are not, to do what we cannot, to be held up as equal to God. We want to be self-righteous not poor in spirit. We want to be capable of controlling ourselves and our sin. We do not want to mourn over the reality and truth of the full extent of sin as it affects us and the world in which we live. Coveting is the illusion of control in out-of-control lives. It is the belief that only what we think and feel matters. It is the ultimate motivation behind all rebellion against God.

Paul writes to the Romans.

Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. [Romans 7:7-8 ESV]

Paul was the best Pharisee by his own admission. Yet, once redeemed by God, all of his righteous actions and attitudes he considered of no value for the sake of Christ. Why? Because he saw his life measured against Christ’s. He recognized the thinking of his heart was motivated by covetousness and every atom of his being was under God’s condemnation.

Those redeemed by Christ’s blood who remain in this world continue to struggle with covetousness. But our hope ceases to rest in our actions, our attitudes, the thinking of our hearts. Our hope rests in God’s grace. We are His testimony to the fallen world as He prepares us for eternity with Him.

God’s Ninth Statement

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. [Exodus 20:16 ESV]

God’s ninth statement demands we never bear (respond, sing, shout, testify, announce) false (that which is not true) witness (testimony, to record) against your neighbor (anyone). We are to tell the truth because this is the way we are created, as part of the image of God, and is expected by God.

These statements are explicit requirements founded on the eternal character of God and the laws under which we have been created. We cannot fulfill His expectations or be who we eternally are without naturally living according to God’s moral law. We are a reflection of His character, having His image.  Sin did not destroy the image but corrupted the vessel containing the image, making everything we do unacceptable. Still, God created us, sustains us, governs us, and gives us purpose.

Jesus began His sermon demanding we acknowledge the truth of sin and our absolute poverty of spirit before Him. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” [Matthew 5:3 ESV]. One of the characteristics of those who are poor in spirit is their love for the truth and their hatred of the lie. This is the driving motivation behind their confrontational lifestyle. They first confront the lies which have been trained into them, the lies of sin and self-righteousness. Then, they confront the lies of the world, which seek to remove God completely from the equation, from the pieces and sum total of self. If we can get Him out of one of the pieces then we can remove Him from the rest. He will not be removed from any part.

Those who persecute the followers of Christ because of their righteous relationship with God  attack truth, desperately trying to change it, demanding “truth” conform, not to God but to their sinful, arbitrary, even anarchist standard. Truth is integral to the eternal character of God. No one will come into God’s presence who has believed, taught and demanded rebellion against God by following a lie.

Just as murder tries to destroy the image of God in man and adultery the relationship of God with man, as stealing tries to devalue God’s authority over all things, so lying is an attempt to remove God from the equation of our lives. What we do reflects who we are and dictates what we will become. If what we do is based upon a lie then the evidence of who we are shows we are liars and will only reinforce and solidify us as those who hate the truth. God’s statements to us reach deeply into the heart of our relationship with Him, reflected in the relationships we have with everyone. But it especially reflects how we think of ourselves. We do not have the option to divorce our lives from those around us or from God. It is a whole package.

God gives an explicit statement. Do not lie to anyone about anything. He is not a liar and He did not create liars. Yet, we are liars. He tells us to not lie. Yet, if we are honest with ourselves we will see that all we can do, have done and will do is lie about every facet of our lives, our relationships, our thinking within the world. When you lie you are not doing what is eternally natural to God and showing the evidence of a corrupted nature.

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (cited from Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3)

“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” (cited from Psalm 5:9)

“The venom of asps is under their lips.” (cited from Psalm 5:9)

“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” (cited from Psalm 140:3)

“Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery,  and the way of peace they have not known.” (cited from Isaiah 59:7-8, see Proverbs 1:15-17)

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (cited from Psalm 36:1]  [Romans 3:9-18 ESV]

Jesus tells us to expect persecution because of our relationship with Him, because of the righteousness given us by Him. We are compelled by the Spirit of God to see and know truth. Yet, we remain ensconced in a temporary but corrupted body which tends to rebellion. Our hope is only in the truth of Christ’s person.

God’s Seventh Statement

You shall not commit adultery. [Exodus 20:14 ESV]

Adultery is seeking and experiencing sexual intimacy with a person other than your husband or wife. If the focus of murder is the destruction of those who carry the image of God as a way of killing God then adultery is an attack on the intimacy of a relationship with God. Again, since God cannot be destroyed the attack is against those who are enabled to have a relationship with God. Where those who have been given and receive the grace of God through His Son, Jesus Christ, sexual activity outside of marriage compromises their testimony of God before the world.

Physical intimacy experienced by husband and wife is a physical representation of the spiritual intimacy everyone may have with God. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” [Genesis 2:24-25 ESV]. God’s original intent for a husband and wife is for them to live in a mysterious union, making two into one. This union involves the whole person unencumbered by anything outside of themselves.

In the garden nothing could break this union. Just as Adam and Eve had intimacy with each other they had intimacy with God. He created them in His image for this reason and walked with them in the garden as evidence of their relationship. They were unashamed before each other and before God. The word “ashamed” in Genesis 2 means disappointed, confounded or dry. They did not disappoint each other or God. Nothing they did confounded or compromised their relationships. Their relationships was fertile and growing and full of life.

We have fallen far from God and from each other.

Is there within the heart a lustful intent to engage in sexual activity with one who is not your righteous husband or wife?  When you hunger and thirst for unrighteousness you drive yourself away from the One who created you and the one who is given to love you. We cannot be joined with the world and joined with Christ. Nor can we explain to the world what it means to be joined with Christ. Through the centuries many have called the relationship had with God through Christ a “mystical union.”

Paul describes the symbolism of the marital relationship and the spiritual joining of those who belong to Christ with their Savior.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. [1 Corinthians 6:15-20 ESV]

God’s seventh statement lays bare the heart of relationship with Him. The evidence of the strength or weakness of our relationship with God is found in many places but especially is the motivation of our sexual self. Separation and suffering is the result of the sinful, sensual heart, inflicted upon those with whom the person is to have an intimate relationship. Sin has compromised and made people incapable of having a true, undefiled, intimate relationship with either God or a spouse.

There is within a deep desire for true intimacy in everyone. There is no ability on our part. There is complete ability and desire in God. The “mystical union” the believer has with God does not remove any from the world but does guarantee intimacy with God for eternity, our recreated spirit in union with His eternal Spirit. This is the heart of the matter.

Those who persecute the righteous do so to break the intimate relationship had with God. Our world is driven by the quest for power and control and the prevalence of the idolatry of the sensual. From ancient temple prostitutes to the current visual depictions of the international concubine through pornography, the temptation to compromise and indulge in illegitimate sexual activity is constant. It is an overt attack on righteousness, which is persecution. It is not pointed persecution directed against a specific individual or group but a blanket attack on righteousness pointed at God. Which means it is also pointed at the citizen of the kingdom of God.

Have you noticed persecution toward those who will not embrace the “right” to their preferred “sexual” orientation? Have you noticed the demand to redefine marriage and the words “husband” and “wife” and “family”? This is persecution for righteousness. There is no difference between one sin and another. Sin separates from God and divides those who belong to God from each other. It is the intent of those enslaved by the world to silence God. Persecution is one way they think they can silence those who represent God.

God’s Sixth Commandment

You shall not murder. [Exodus 20:13 ESV]

Cain was the first to commit an act of murder. A different word is used in Genesis 4:8 than in Exodus 20:13. “Killed” means to hit or strike with deadly intent to destroy.

In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 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, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.  The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 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.” Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. [Genesis 4:3-7 ESV]

Cain was angry with God because God did not accept the offering he brought. God warned him about the presence and power of sin, how it takes over and controls and enslaves the whole person. Cain could not kill God, the true object of his anger, so he murdered the next best thing. Abel was made in the image of God and thus a representative of God. Sin captured and twisted Cain’s thinking giving him, in the thinking of his heart, a reasonable excuse to try, judge, sentence, and execute his younger brother. He showed a pattern, first outlined by his parents as they rebelled against God, which all people would follow and develop for the rest of history.

In God’s statement in Exodus and Deuteronomy the word used for “murder” means to break into pieces, to take away the objects ability to function as it was made, that is, to take away it’s life. The action may be spontaneous or preconceived and deliberate.  It may be an act of carelessness or come from hatred or the desire for revenge because of anger. In all cases murder is the final act of dehumanizing another person and unjustly taking their life.

There are more ways to break a person than to take their life. People regularly steal life from others through manipulation, debilitating and hypercritical statements, and repetitive comments about a person’s lack of character or lack of value. Hear what Jesus has to say.

You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.” 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. [Matthew 5:21-22 ESV]

Let me be quick to say there is room for righteous anger. This is an anger exhibited by those who are poor in spirit when they see the truth of God being compromised when  actions state His truth is not true or the lie is true. There is a place for hatred of sin. There is never a place for hatred of the sinner.

Like all of God’s statements this one follows those which have come before. Do you not recognize God’s authority and place in creation? You will not recognize the image He has stamped on His highest creation. Do you have idols? You will find an excuse in those idols to judge and execute those with whom you live. Do you have so little regard for God you reject Him and His commands and statements and expectations and love and compassion? You will reject those He has created in His image. Do you seek rest in something other than God? You will never find rest and try to destroy those who do live in peace with Him, those who have something you have not. Have you been taught, by your parents or other authorities, to devalue people who do not fit a taught and ungodly expectation or measure up to an arbitrary standard of righteousness? This is no excuse to disobey God.

God places value on people. We do not have the right to devalue those whom God has eternally established as valuable. Those who try to destroy what God has deemed valuable will face God’s wrath, Him against whom they rebel. Jesus died, was murdered, for all, so those who are God’s would not face spiritual death. Yet, we are all physical, sinful people and will face physical death. How we die is in God’s eternal decree. But, woe to those who conspire to murder God by murdering those who are His.