Counsel of Chalcedon
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Law and Liberation: The Sixth Commandment

When our Lord Jesus Christ quoted from the second table of the law to the rich young ruler, He said, Thou shalt do no murder." (Matthew 19:18). In I John 3:15 we read, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." Clearly, the sixth commandment forbids murder and warns against the hatred which is its root. We live in a day of vengeance. It is frequently the theme of novels, plays, and films. It is regarded as the way of life by many, particularly terrorist groups that justify their actions by saying that they are simply reacting to the so-called violence of the state. Such people are murderers. In God's law-order, killing born of hatred, revenge, and rebellion against the authority appointed by God, is forbidden. Against the perpetrators of such deeds, the state, as God's minister of justice, must act, not simply as a matter of vengeance, but primarily in obedience to the Law of God which requires the highest penalty--death. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Romans 12:19). There is an illegal killing which meets with the wrath of the Almighty through the instrumentality of God-ordained and obedient human authority. Unless the state acts to execute murderers, the nation which it serves will die. It is a matter of life or death.