We can hear the drums of war being beaten around the world. As believers in Jesus Christ, The Prince of Peace, what does the Word of God say about war and our involvement in it?
I could have listed an almost endless string of references from the Word regarding war and our reaction, as believers, to the calls of war. For your consideration, I’m presenting just a few critical passages that speak clearly to this subject.
1. War is political not spiritual…
“And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.” (Matt 24:6-8)
First, Christ says when we hear about wars and threat of war, we’re not to panic or be troubled. The meaning of troubled here means, “don’t get worked up”.
What happens when we’re worked up about something? We get involved in the discussion of whatever it is that’s troubling us. We feel we have to oppose the threat that’s causing us to panic. But Christ is saying, don’t get “worked up.”
Why does Christ tell us not to get “worked up” about the threat of war? Because, war is about politics, not spirituality. Christ says, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” These are earthly nations and kingdoms, not the kingdom of Christ. Jesus told his followers in John 18:36, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”
Nations fight against nations because of political dogmas and ambitions, not spiritual goals. And, then to ensure they’re supported by their citizens, politicians “work up” the people to get the backing for their cravings.
As faithful followers of Christ, the words of Paul are a guideline for us when it comes to our involvement with earthly conflicts;
“We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” (Phil 3:20)
2. War is Evil, not a Blessing.
As believers in Christ we’re called to bless others, not curse them. The Apostle Peter wrote to 1st century Christians who were under constant threat;
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” (1Pet 3:9)
Government leaders are constantly matching insult for insult and evil for evil. In the world the never ending slogan of war is, “Do unto others as they do unto you.” Is this the encouragement we received from Christ? Does the voice of the Spirit of God inspire us to do evil to those who do evil to us?
The Apostle Paul, told the believers living in Rome, the capitol city of war in the 1st century, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” (Rom 12:20)
Those who we consider to be our enemies are only our enemies because we treat as such. If we return evil for evil, and insult for insult, then we’re immortalizing our enmity with those we perceive to be in opposition to us. But if we bless them instead of cursing them, and we return good for evil, then we shatter the enmity by affecting their conscience.
When Paul says we, “… heap burning coals of shame on their heads”, he means it as a blessing, not a curse. When we return good for evil, we’re making those who are evil to us rethink their actions. We load their minds (heads) with contradictory impressions and opinions. With our response of blessing, we create conflict and confusion within their beliefs. We bless them with “burning coals” because we’re giving them the opportunity to realize we’re not their enemy.
3. What about Christian persecution?
Around the world we can see governments, and political/religious leaders at war with Christians living under their authority. Surely, if believers are being persecuted, imprisoned, executed, and murdered, then war is justified, right? Philosophically, our emotions would tell us yes, but spiritually, our Lord encourages us to resist our philosophies and emotions.
Christ warned his followers regarding persecution when He said, “When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.” (Matt 10:23)
Christ tells believers of every age, if you’re persecuted, then move to a place where you’re not persecuted. If you’re persecuted after you move, then move again. There will always be somewhere to move to because before we run out of places to move, Christ will return.
The Spirit of Christ motivates believers not to quarrel, but be kind to those who oppose us. We’re encouraged by God’s Word to teach those who cause difficulty for us, and be kind and patient with them. We’re inspired by the example of Christ to leave room for God to change the hearts of those who are at war with the truth (2Tim 2:24-25).
4. Live by War, die by War.
There is an irrefutable law in the world, “Those who use the sword, will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)
When Christ was being arrested, one of His disciples drew a sword and took off the ear of a soldier. Jesus immediately told the disciple to put the sword away because those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
If we live by settling our disagreements with war, then we will die by war. The instrument that defends our life, will also be the instrument that takes our life.
As believers, God is our defense. If we live by God, then if we die, it’s not by the hands of men. If we die we will die, like Christ did, by the will of God.
As the Apostle John wrote in Revelation, “Anyone who is destined for prison, will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword, will die by the sword.” (Rev 13:10)
This means that as believers, whatever happens is according to God’s will. Therefore, we’re encouraged to endure evil and persecution patiently, and remain faithful to our calling in Christ.
I believe that God’s message for believers is communicated to our hearts through the Spirit of Christ in us. I’m convinced that our hearts are bonded in unity with the desires of God through the glory of Christ. I’m confident that our Father’s love is able to guide us all to an understanding of His will in the earth, regarding war and everything earthly or spiritual. I’m assured by the testimony of the Gospel, that all can hear, if their ears are opened.
If you disagree with my thoughts, then comment below and let’s discuss it. If you have other opinions, or some additional idea’s, then let us know by commenting so The Good Path community can be involved in this important discussion. Whether you like or dislike what I’ve posted here, I welcome your thoughts, and look forward hearing from you.