Steal, Kill, and Destroy
The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly (Jn 10:10).
The children of the devil display their relationship to their father by their bad behavior (Jn 8:44; 1 Jn 3:10). In their hatred for God (Rom 1:30), the sons of disobedience perform their evil deeds (Jn 3:19; Eph 2:2), as God has ordained it (Prv 16:4).
God has commanded, “You shall not steal (Ex 20:15).” God has commanded, “You shall not murder (Ex 20:13).” In fact, the very essence of the Law is in favor of that which builds up, for God is the architect and builder of all things (Heb 3:4; 11:10). It is the Law of God that reveals the holiness of God and the sinfulness of men.
In His position of holiness, God is the giver of life (Jn 6:63), for He is Himself…life (Jn 14:6). All living things derive their existence from the Living God (Gen 1–2). He sustains all things by the Word of His power (Heb 1:3). No sparrow falls from the sky without the attentive eye of its Creator (Mt 10:29; Lk 12:6). To kill is to destroy the handiwork of God our Maker.
In the same way, the earth is the Lord’s and everything it it (Ps 24:1). He owns all things, and He is Lord of all (Acts 10:36). He is also the giver of every good and perfect gift (Jas 1:17). Knowing the needs of every creature, God is the provider for all. Amazing is His providential care that He supplies to both the righteous and the unrighteous (Mt 5:45). With food and clothing, we should be content (1 Tim 6:8), but sinners are discontent. Nothing in this world satisfies because everything has a temporary life, including humanity. The leech cries, “More, more!” and so does the greedy sinner (Prv 30:15).
When man is not content with what God has bestowed upon him, he becomes highly motivated and clever to get what he believes will finally put an end to his lust, envy, jealousy, coveting, and greed. With one more house, or one more car, or another younger wife, or yet another exotic vacation, he will be content…or so he thinks in his heart.
To speed the process of acquisition, in the quest to have it all — and of course…happiness — people steal what God has granted to one’s neighbor. The evil deed enrages the victim, who is now compelled to enter the game, so as to avoid falling behind. The victim becomes the perpetrator, keeping crime statisticians employed.
The context for Jesus’ teaching in John 10:10 is the state of His flock as their Good Shepherd. There is simply no one else for the sheep of God’s pasture to follow than Jesus (Jn 10:3–4; 14:6). The history of the Sons of Adam is filled with wicked rulers. Evil imposters plagued Israel, too, and the New Testament is filled with warnings to beware of false Christs, false prophets, and false teachers.
Sinners who desire leadership positions and complementary power simply fall short of the mark. Motive and actions invariably lead to temptation and subsequent corruption. The question is only a matter of the degree of corruption. The church has one Leader, who is Christ (Mt 23:10), and He is faithful and true (Rev 19:11).
Human leaders of government and business operate on a much larger scale. Insatiable lust for more tax money crosses the line at some point, and the people are fleeced of their income and assets. When the government robs its citizens, it turns the people into criminals, as they now lie, cheat, and steal to make up what was taken from them via threat of force.
When the sins of humanity are heightened to new levels, someone has become the bully and someone else has become the victim. When the victims seek revenge for the abuse they have endured, they will press their leaders to go to war against those who have offended them on a grand scale.
War is insanity. It is madness because it only intends to destroy. Those killed in war are usually pawns on someone else’s chessboard. What God has made, that is, what has been built is destroyed. Lives and living conditions are ruined. The distribution of the world’s goods is often a precursor to the world’s wars.
Who is the most notorious thief, who comes to steal, and kill, and destroy? It is that old dragon and prowling lion that men meet on the way of destruction (Mt 7:13–14; 1 Pet 5:8; Rev 12). He has been a murderer from the beginning (Jn 8:44), when he stole dominion from Adam and enslaved him (Acts 26:18; Rom 6:6; 16–20). The history of the world is a record of his destruction of men and nations.
People who steal, kill, and destroy are of their father, the devil. He is their inspiration, their tempter, their cheerleader. As destroyers of God’s handiwork, they will in turn be destroyed on the day their Maker visits the earth, again (Rev 19:11–21; 2 Pet 3:10–12; Rev 6:16). Theirs is not the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9–10), but God’s righteous judgment has allotted them their eternal home, in the place prepared for the devil and his demons (Mt 25:41; Rev 20:14–15).
Christian, as you suffer with Christ and His church in this world gone wild, remember that the glory to be revealed to us is beyond all we could think or imagine (Rom 8:18). It is there, not here, that righteousness dwells (2 Pet 3:10). May God grant us the grace we need to endure evil men and devils, while we press on with our duty to warn the wicked of eternal punishment and to welcome in the repentant sinners who now wish to share (Eph 4:28), and to promote life (Dt 30:15, 19), and to build up the kingdom of God (Eph 4:12, 16).
Spokane Valley, Washington
June 25, 2022