October 1 – LD 40, Day 1: Murderers by Nature
Sunday the 1st of October
in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations
Romans 13:10: “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
As we progress to our treatment of the sixth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," we must be reminded that mere outward observance of the Old Testament letter of the law will not be accepted by God. "Love is the fulfilling of the law," and love is essentially an activity of the heart. Mere external conformity which proceeds not from love will be counted as worthless dead works and will receive God's just damnation. God requires a holy, spiritual love. That love must be first and essentially, love for God. Proceeding from that love must be love expressed toward the neighbour. That means that love for the neighbour is out of the question where there is no love of God in Christ Jesus in the heart.
In that light we are reminded that according to our natures, we are murderers. That becomes even clearer to us when Jesus spells it out with specific application in Matt 5. The finger of God is pointed at you and me. In that passage, and especially Matt 5:21-22, Jesus does not even speak about the actual act of physically murdering someone. Very seldom does a citizen of the kingdom of heaven actually take a life by the shedding of blood. But then, we must not think that because we are the citizens of God's kingdom, and do not shed man's blood in murder, we escape the sin of violating the sixth commandment. That is how the Pharisees interpreted this law. They said, "..whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment." But Jesus says, "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, [idiot, blockhead], shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Very broad is the scope of the sixth commandment. We must see, once again, not only our murderous natures; but we must see our salvation in Jesus Christ and the positive way towards which this precept directs us.