Exodus 20:13; 21:22–25; 22:21–24; Deuteronomy 24:19; Matthew 5:21–22; Luke 20:47comment (0)
January 15, 2009
By Robert Olsen
Related Scripture: Exodus Exodus 20:13; 21:22–25; 22:21–24; Deuteronomy 24:19; Matthew 5:21–22; Luke 20:47
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
WHOSE LIFE IS IMPORTANT?
Exodus 20:13; 21:22–25; 22:21–24; Deuteronomy 24:19; Matthew 5:21–22; Luke 20:47
The third Sunday of each January, the Southern Baptist Convention celebrates the sanctity of human life. Therefore we are taking a break from our study of 1 Thessalonians in order to focus on this important issue. Society today is struggling with this crucial subject. Since abortion, suicide and euthanasia are major social concerns, it is very important that Christians understand what God’s Word says on this matter.
Honor the Sanctity of Human Life (Ex. 20:13; Matt. 5:21–22)
The Ten Commandments were given to Moses in the wilderness so the Israelites would have knowledge of how to live rightly. The commandments show that God thinks human beings are important. After all, God created humans in His image (Gen. 1:27). Therefore God shows that humans are valuable. Taking another’s life demonstrates the killer does not value what God has made in His image. The command is straightforward — do not murder. In the Sermon on the Mount, however, Jesus showed that the command has a deeper meaning instead of just an outward one. Jesus not only confirmed it is a sin to murder but also it is a sin to be angry with another. Murder often arises out of unrighteous anger, but it also reveals the condition of our heart. Since God knows our heart, we cannot be content to be kind to someone whom inwardly we hate. This is hypocrisy and Jesus said this type of behavior leads to our condemnation. When you find yourself angry, do not try to justify it; pray for God to change your heart.
Respect Women and Their Unborn Children (Ex. 21:22–25)
This passage refers to a pregnant woman getting hit in a scuffle and giving birth because of the altercation. Note the idea of “born premature” can refer to either live birth or miscarriage as the context shows. In the case where the baby was born and there was no damage to the infant, the one who injured the woman was fined. But, if the baby was injured, either killed or maimed, then the attacker was subject to the same treatment. The idea of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” is often scorned in today’s society, but it served an important purpose. It showed God is a God of justice. Justice indicates one receives the just reward or punishment for his or her behavior. It also limits retribution.
We often read or hear about someone who insults another, and in turn, the insulter is beaten up or killed. The insulter is not guilty of murder yet was killed as a consequence of his or her action. This is not justice. One important point in the New Testament is it is not acceptable for Christians to have hatred toward the perpetrator.
Furthermore this passage shows God treats an unborn child as a human being. This passage shows God cares for the defenseless. If the baby was born prematurely and died, then the attacker was guilty of bloodshed. These verses are crucial for us today. Our society wants to treat unborn babies as nothing more than a tumor until birth.
This passage shows God does not see them as such. Abortion is murder in God’s eyes as witnessed in this section of Scripture. It is important for Christians to think the same way. We need to stand up for the defenseless and those who can’t speak or fight for themselves.
Provide for Aliens, Widows and Orphans (Ex. 22:21–24; Deut. 24:19; Luke 20:47)
These verses deal with the treatment of the “least of these” in society. Christians are to care for and love those who are on the outskirts of society — widows, the homeless, the needy, the foreigner. These are people who have difficulty taking care of themselves either because of physical or societal limitations. Christians should not rely on the government to provide for these people; it is our duty to care for them. Ultimately our care for them is an expression of the gospel and God’s love. When accompanied by verbal proclamation of the gospel, Christians are caring for the physical and spiritual needs of these people. It is important to not do one without the other.