The Humble and Lowly Do Not Commit Murder Nor are They Drunkards
"Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not mind high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Do not be wise in your own conceits." Romans 12:16
"This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to one another: so that you cannot do the things that you have in mind. But if you are led of the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, contention, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, reveling, and things like this: of which I tell you now, as I have told you in time past, that they who exercise and practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that belong to the "anointed one" (Christ) have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not glory without reason, challenging one another, envying one another." Galatians 5:16-26
The Humble Do Not Murder
Murder is something that folks in the church don't discuss very often, yet, the Bible is full of stories about murder. Murder is what happens as an end result to sins like lust, jealousy, envy, covetousness, and hatred. From January to September, the estimated number of murders in the United States was about 15,696. The word for murder in the Greek in Galatians 5 is:
Murder - φόνος: murder, slaughter
Webster defines it this way:
MUR'DER, noun [Latin mors.]1. The act of unlawfully killing a human being with premeditated malice, by a person of sound mind. To constitute murder in law, the person killing another must be of sound mind or in possession of his reason, and the act must be done with malice prepense, aforethought or premeditated; but malice may be implied, as well as express.
Humble folks aren't ever involved in unlawfully killing a human being with premeditated malice, because they love their Lord with all of the heart, soul, and strength. They also love their neighbor as they do themselves. Men and women are highly valuable in the eyes of God and are not to be destroyed by another person. In Leviticus, the civil law for the nation of Israel is described in 24:17:
"And he that murders any man will surely be put to death."
The Septuagint translates it this way:
"And whosoever shall smite a man and he die, let him die the death."
You could say that if anyone smites someone or commits murder, which is the unlawful killing of a human being with premeditated malice, then they are guilty. So why can a government punish an eye for an eye? Romans 13:1-10 tells us.
"Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.2 Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist will receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and you will have praise of the same: 4 for he is the minister of God to you all for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil. 5 Wherefore you must be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause you pay tribute (taxes) also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law.9 For this, You will not commit adultery, You will not murder, You will not steal, You will not bear false witness, You will not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You will love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
The Greek word for murder is different, but comes from the same root as the word in Galatians 5, and therefore means the same thing. It is:
Murder - φονεύω: to kill, slay, murder. To commit murder.
The application is actually a little bit broader here, but the general idea still applies. Whether we like it or not, Government is God's ministers of judgment. That being said, they "will be" judged by God in how they perform their jobs. Justly or unjustly. Just before the text above, Paul said the following in Romans 12.
"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord. 20 Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.21 Do not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
This actually goes together, the text in Romans 12 and 13. Paul didn't place chapter and verse divisions in his letter. That means that he jumped from the text just above to the one above in Chapter 13. You might say that one way God punishes evil is through the laws of the governments, because He has ordained them to keep order and law on the earth. But, in the judgment (Revelation 20), God will judge unrighteous individuals and governments. Whatever slipped through the cracks here on earth will not be overlooked there. The humble man and woman knows this, and that is one reason they do not seek retaliation for evils done. They patiently wait for God. I'm not going to address self-defense and the defense of the helpless other than to say that a man who claims to care for the weak and defenseless, should be willing to sacrifice himself for others, and even defend them (as a last resort use force) at all costs. It is a moral duty. Even Jesus stood up for the honor of His Father's house (John 2:12-22).
The Humble Aren't Drunkards
This is an issue I get confronted with occasionally due to the fact that many of our brethren here where I live are "teetotalers." I am a temperance man in the sense that I believe it is permissible to drink an alcoholic beverage in a moderate fashion. In fact, I often drink a beer in the evenings with my dinner. My favorite beer is Shiner Bock, but I like many others. I was raised in a family of moderate drinkers. Being raised as a Lutheran, you can imagine that we had no trouble with a good ale or lager. However, just like anything God gives as a gift, it can be abused. I have a high respect for anyone who does abstain. I know people who struggle so much with alcohol, they can't have one without wanting the whole twelve pack. These are people that we should "never" drink around for the sake of love. That being said, God provides all things in this world as a blessing, and we should receive it with thanksgiving and respect. Eat moderately, drink moderately. This falls under the banner of self-control.
"But you speak the things which become sound doctrine: 2 that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded. 7 In all things showing yourself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing un-corruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. 9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 not embezzlers, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." Titus 2:1-10
Be sober and temperate.
SO'BER, adjective [Latin sobrius.]1. Temperate in the use of spiritous liquors; habitually temperate; as a soberman. Live a sober righteous and godly life.2. Not intoxicated or overpowered by spiritous liquors; not drunken. The sot may at times be sober3. Not mad or insane; not wild, visionary or heated with passion; having the regular exercise of cool dispassionate reason. There was not a sober person to be had; all was tempestuous and blustering. Not sober man would put himself in danger, for the applause of escaping without breaking his neck.4. Regular; calm; not under the influence of passion; as sober judgment; a man in his sober senses.5. Serious; solemn; grave; as the sober livery of autumn. What parts gay France from sober Spain? See her sober over a sampler, or gay over a jointed baby.TEM'PERATE, adjective [Latin temperatus.] Moderate; not excessive; as temperate heat; a temperate climate; temperate air.1. Moderate in the indulgence of the appetites and passions; as temperate in eating and drinking; temperate in pleasures; temperate in speech.
There you go. I think the definitions are very self-explanatory. John the Baptist was accused of having a demon, and Jesus was accused of being a winebibber and a drunkard. John the Baptist abstained, and Jesus didn't. Some try to argue that Jesus drank grape juice. That is a difficult argument to justify given the fact that wine was often mixed with water to purify the water. Also, wine (fermented) was used in many places in the Hebrew culture and wasn't forbidden except for those like Samson who took the Nazarite vow. And, the issue there wasn't that abstaining from wine was somehow sacred, but rather keeping a vow made to God (Numbers 6). It is also made clear in Numbers 6 that wine, strong drink, or vinegar were not to be part of the Nazirite diet. If "no strong drink or wine" were permitted, then Numbers 6 would have gone without saying. Therefore, we can conclude that alcoholic beverages had their place in the Hebrew diet. We also know that it was part of the culture. Christians have imbibed for centuries. Paul said it this way to the early saints:
"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increases with the increase of God. 20 Wherefore if you are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances, 21 (touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; but are of no value against the extravagance of the flesh."
Legalistic ordinances help only external habits, but do not squelch the violent storm stirring in the lustful and virulent man or woman. God is a changer of the heart, and only a heart and mind transformation can truly change someone for the better, regardless of what they do externally to stay their lust. Drunkenness is the result of a corrupt heart, just like legalism is a result of prideful fear. They are both evil and manifest themselves differently. Either way, the humble do not participate in either.