Wrath and judgement

How does God feel when innocent blood is shed? In the last recording that I did, we talked about the fact that of all things God values in the world, it’s human life that he values the most. Just like us, what he values the most, he protects the most. How does God protect human life? Well, he does it by giving his moral law. He does it positively by saying love one another and love your neighbor as yourself. That proactively indicates we are going to take care of one another.

He also says what we refer to negatively by saying, “Do not murder.” That is a negative or a prohibitive command from Exodus Chapter 20. Murder is a common term for us. We know it as the intentional taking of an innocent human life. This is what the Bible refers to in sort of formulaic language sometimes as the shedding of innocent blood. But if you go back to our definition of murder here, the intentional taking of an innocent human life, all of those things have to be present for it to be murder.

If you accidentally take an innocent human life, it is not murder. You will not be tried for murder. It’s very serious. You may have to go to jail. It’s a big deal anytime someone’s life is taken from them unjustly, but if it is an accident, you will be tried for manslaughter or something a little bit lesser than murder.

Murder is intentional. It has to be human life. If we kill a chicken, we don’t call that murder. It is the slaughtering of a chicken. It’s not something that we do lightly. It’s not something that we do for fun. We do it for eating and it’s not murder. Murder has to be an innocent human life.

The last component that I’ll go over in this definition is innocence. Well, that one is a little more tricky because when we get to defining the innocence of human life, we infuse a question back into our topic, which is: how does God feel about the shedding of innocent blood? Well, first we have to stop for a minute and talk about what innocent blood is. Romans 3:10 tells us, “None is righteous. No, not one.” There is no such thing as innocence. And I think what Romans 3 is talking about here is that there is none innocent before God.

here is none righteous before God compared to God. We are all sinners. We are all unrighteous. None of us are innocent, yet the Bible does talk about the innocent in many ways and in many places. We look in the Proverbs and Ezekiel and we find a lot of references to the fact that if someone is accused of breaking a law that they did not break then they are innocent and should not be condemned for having broken the law. They are innocent, they are righteous, and God does not like it when the innocent and the righteous are falsely accused.

So when we talk about innocence, when it comes to murder, we are talking about innocence before the law. I can be innocent of breaking the speed limit with my car when I drive, and we can be innocent of breaking God’s moral law in certain places. There are two types of innocence. One is innocence before a court of law. The other type of innocence is when one does not have the faculty to choose between right and wrong. The Bible talks about this as well. This second type of innocence would include infants, children to some degree and, to some age, the mentally incapacitated where they cannot choose morally between the right and the wrong. God holds these people as innocent.

The unborn human being is also an innocent human being. Innocent in the sense that they have not transgressed God’s law volitionally. So how does God feel when we shed innocent blood? And the answer is pretty obvious. He doesn’t like it very much. He becomes angry and it provokes God’s wrath when we intentionally shed innocent blood.

The first murder is not very far into the Bible. We only have to get through four chapters of reading in the Bible before we find the first murder. Cain kills his brother Abel because he’s jealous of him. God comes to Cain and he says, “Where is your brother?” Cain answers with two answers. The first one is he says, “I don’t know where he is.” That was a lie. He told the lie on purpose because he knew God would be angry with him for shedding Abel’s innocent blood.

How did he know? Because of the 10 Commandments? No, the commandments weren’t given till much later. He knew because God had already written on Cain’s heart the command not to shed innocent human blood. Cain was wise enough to know that God, having made humans in his likeness and in his image, would be angry with him for shedding Abel’s innocent blood. So he first tried to hide or cover up his guilt.

The second answer was, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The answer to which we will give in the next post. The bottom line is that God becomes very angry with those who shed innocent blood and they become inherently objects of God’s wrath or vengeance. Let me read to you from the Book of Ezekiel. This is from Ezekiel 22:1-3, “And the word of the Lord came to me saying, “And you, son of man, will you judge the bloody city then declare to her all her abominations?” You shall say, “Thus says the Lord God, a city that sheds blood in her midst so that her time may come and that makes idols to defile herself. You have become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and because you are guilty, God is angry and will pour out his wrath on you.””

Here’s another place from 2 Kings 24:2-4, “And the Lord sent against him (Nebuchadnezzar) bands of the Chaldeans and bands of the Syrians and bands of the Moabites and bands of the Ammonites, and sent them against Judah to destroy it according to the word of the Lord, that he spoke by his servant, the prophets. Surely this came upon Judah at the command of the Lord to remove them out of his sight. For the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and according to the innocent blood that he had shed for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood and the Lord would not pardon.” What I want you to take from that reading is that God is just to feel angry at the shedding of innocent blood. God is just to pour out vengeance and wrath on people who do that.

Going back to Cain and Abel’s example, if Abel is made in the image of God, then Cain somehow knew that an attack on Abel is somewhat similar to an attack on God himself. For this reason, Passion Life travels around the world teaching Christian leaders to stand with courage and conviction on the idea that human beings are valuable. When we shed innocent blood intentionally, it makes God angry and we are deserving of God’s wrath and righteous indignation. The news gets better from there, but for good news to be good news, we have to understand the weight and the gravity of the bad news.

It’s wonderful to share the gospel and have people understand the glories of the gospel. They understand it typically much better if they understand sin, wrong, evil and the price that has to be paid for them. That’s the bad news. That’s what makes the good news, good news. As we teach this, we see that people become soft. We see that people become receptive to the idea that anytime they take the life of an innocent human being, they are by nature objects of God’s wrath and in need of forgiveness.