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Hands That Shed Innocent Blood

Of the seven things which are listed as abominations to God in Proverbs 6:17, one of them is "hands that shed innocent blood.”  This refers to the act of murder, which is the unjust killing of a human being.  Murder has always been an offense against God, for it violates the natural law of God that has existed from the beginning.  Murder was expressly forbidden to Israel by the Law of Moses (Ex. 20:13), but it was prohibited by God to all men long before the Law was given.  The ban against murder was codified to all men when God gave Noah the law of capital punishment, for God said to Noah, "Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man” (Gen. 9:6).  In this law, we see that murder is especially offensive to God because it is the killing of a being whom God made in His own image (Gen. 1:26-27).  Even before the law was given to Noah, murder was an abominable sin against God, which is evident in the murder of Abel by his brother Cain (Gen. 4:1-15).  When Cain had murdered Abel, Abel’s innocent blood cried out to God from the ground (v. 10).

The history of the world is a story of continuous murder.  At times, man has been so lawless that his conscience has become almost immune to the guilt of murder.  Even among God’s people in Israel, murder was common.  When the Lord came into the world in the first century, He charged the faithless Jews with murder, saying:

"You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?  Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.  Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” (Matt. 23:33-36)

Of course, the Lord Himself became the victim of the most atrocious shedding of innocent blood ever committed.  Christ was truly innocent in every sense (John 18:38; 19:4, 6; Heb. 4:15; 1Pet. 2:22), yet He was put to death on a cross.

Today, the sin of murder continues to be a scourge on mankind.  Many people will blame the existence of guns for the plague of murders in our nation, but the sin of murder existed long before the invention of guns.  Murder does not proceed from a gun or a knife, but rather it comes out of the heart of man (Matt. 15:19).  In the early history of this nation, most citizens had such moral character that they respected life and very few murders were committed even though they had many guns.  However, today’s citizens are the products of decades of humanistic teaching in the public schools in which children are taught that man is nothing more than a highly evolved animal and a cog in the society.  The evolutionist principle of "survival of the fittest” means that the fit may kill the perceived unfit without cause, for the taking of human life is considered equivalent to killing an animal.  Man’s views on the value of human life have been grossly corrupted, but the shedding of innocent blood is still an abomination to God.

Of course, no blood could be more innocent than that of the unborn, and yet unborn children are more likely to be killed by man than anyone else in our nation.  More than one million unborn children are murdered every year by the legal practice of abortion.  The innocent blood of unborn children has been flowing in America since the United States Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973.  It is an unspeakable shame that this mode of shedding innocent blood is now regarded as a civil right in this country.  Some have attempted to devalue the lives of the unborn by calling them "fetuses,” "the results of conception,” or "unviable tissue masses,” but God considers all unborn children to be living souls (Ps. 139:13-16; Luke 1:15, 44; 2:12; 18:15; Rom. 9:11-12).  In the Law of Moses, the unborn had the same protection as anyone else, for an injury done to an unborn baby was punishable in the same way as an injury done to any other person (Ex. 21:22-25; note that v. 22 describes a premature birth and not a miscarriage or still birth as some translations have it).  Considering God’s expressed value for innocent human life, how could anyone say that abortion is just a personal issue or a political issue?  If ever there has been a moral issue, then abortion is it.  God’s word clearly demonstrates that abortion is an abomination against Him, for it is no different than murder.

In the end, murderers will have their place in "the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).  Regardless of man’s opinions of murder here on earth, the God of heaven counts murder as an abomination that is worthy of eternal punishment.  It is the Lord Christ who will judge all men, including those who commit murder (2Cor. 5:10).  He will not excuse those who commit murder by abortion because it was legal by the law of the land, but rather He will hold them accountable to the law of God.  Even for those who do not commit murder but approve of murder by abortion or any other means, it is a fearful prospect to stand before the Lord in judgment (Rom. 1:32; 14:22).  Thankfully, God still offers salvation through faith in Christ’s gospel even for those who have committed murder.  Only in Christ can the hands that shed innocent blood be cleansed.

Stacey E. Durham



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