The Basis for the prohibition against murder is the value God places in man. Murder is an act that disregards the express prohibition of the God who has complete right to obedience. Moreover, it disregards the value of God’s creation. God created man in his own image and likeness. The Hebrew word is SLM and carries the meaning resemblance. The second Hebrew word in Gen. 1:26 is dmwt and it means model or shape. To destroy the life of a man is to disregard the sacred resemblance, model, and shape of God in that man not to mention it disregards God’s work as superfluous. All things being equal, Christian theistic ethics requires specific attitudes and behaviors toward fellow humans, and especially toward fellow believers.
Jesus’ first warning concerns the sin of anger. Whoever is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court. It is interesting to note that the Greek construction is identical to v. 21 regarding murder: enochus estai te krisei. The expression means liable to the court. Anger itself is not the problem. Anger is the symptom of a much larger problem. The real problem is the sinful beliefs that lead to the anger to begin with. “In other words, sinful anger arises from the sinful beliefs and motives that reign in the unbeliever and remain in the Christian.” [Tripp. Uprooting Anger, 48] Anger comes from sinful desires. Desires can be sinful because they are for something prohibited. The thing desired is forbidden. Desires can be sinful because they are based on selfishness. The thing desired may not be prohibited, but the desire for it is so strong and selfish that it is sinful. Anger is an attempt to reject God’s sovereign control over our lives. If God wanted us to have x, He would give it to us. We must accept that God may not have determined that we should have that which we so desperately want. Anger is the temptation to disregard God’s plan for our lives. This is no less true in our conduct toward one another. Jesus takes anger toward one’s brother as seriously as He does murder.
Jesus said all men would know that we are His disciples by the new kind of love we have toward one another. (John 13:34-35) Again, Jesus said the perfecting of His community in unity would also serve as a means to inform the world that God had sent His Son. This love is new and unique. To argue for a cultural understanding of love in this context will not do. This is a unique and new love that has not previously existed. The new commandment, Jesus said, I give you, that you love one another just as I have loved you. This had never before been witnessed.