Can a Murderer Be Saved?

“Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.”

— 1 John 3:14

John is saying here if we hate our brother, this is murder and that we are a murderer. Now there are many people who cannot even imagine going so far as to murder another person, but he is saying that hatred is like unto murder.

It may be the difference between a mild case and a severe case of the same disease but it is the same infection, the same germ which pervades the body of both. It is the same type of crime, though different in degree. And you know, he says, that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. The Greek phrase translated as “and you know that no murderer has eternal life” means you know it requires no argument, it requires no demonstration, it doesn’t even require reflection. But rather instinctively you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. So if you hate your brethren, it is self-evident by prima facie evidence that eternal life does not abide in you.

If you have that desire to do someone in out of revenge, if you harbor that hatred within your own heart, then says John, you are akin to a murderer—even as Cain himself was a murderer, and that type of hatred continues throughout the world.

But there is also something to be said for those who truly repent of their sins, including the sin of murder. The hymn declares, “The vilest offender who truly believes that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.” And once saved, let us walk in love.

Lord of life, You give us life and love and the taking of life is not up to us. The germ of hatred is anti-love and leads to death. Thank You that it cannot grow in a heart where Your presence is manifest. Please remove from us any root of bitterness and any hatred…