The Christian Response To War - You shall not kill
Many Christians talk about a "Just War", but the Gospel of Jesus is the Gospel of Peace. There is no way in the New Testament to justify any bloody war. It is difficult to justify even the just, defensive kind of war if one takes seriously the message of the Sermon on the Mount, which is the heart of the Gospel. (Matthew 5:28-42)
Indeed there have been hundreds of wars made by Christians against other Christians as well as non-Christians, and many of these crusades in the name of Christ. However, it is still wrong, even if it has been done for centuries!
the whole attitude on warfare:
“A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, as I love you, you shall love one another.” (John 13:34)
“You have heard that it was said, "Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth." But I tell you, thus you are not resisting evil. But whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And whosoever wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat as well. And whosoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthew 5:38-41)
have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your
enemy. "But I tell you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute
you, that you may become sons of your Father in the heavens. For he makes his
sun rise on evil and good, and sends rain on the just and unjust.”
shall be perfect, as your heavenly
Father is perfect.”
No revenge, no war, just love! It sounds incredible, impossible to follow. It is the Law of Christ, the Prince of Peace. This is Christianity!
telling us what he told Peter:
“Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I am not able to call upon my Father, and he shall place beside me more than twelve legions of angels here and now? But how then should the scriptures be fulfilled, which say that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:50-54) “But Jesus answered and said, "Let go!" And touching his ear, he healed him.” (Luke 22:51)
The weapons Jesus left us are prayer and forgiveness, and love and service, trusting always in the Lord, not the sword. Jesus will bring the sword! Jesus will take care of you!
Paul said in Romans 12:
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be the ideal, prudent in the sight of all men. As far as it is possible for you, be at peace with all men. Do not take revenge, beloved, but give room unto God's wrath, for it is written: Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. If therefore your enemy is hungry, give him food; if he is thirsty, give him to drink. In doing this, you will heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21)
At Calvary, the same lesson, praying forgiveness for those who crucified him:
“And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
The gospel is a good news of peace. It started in Bethlehem, with the announcing of the angels:
God in the highest, and peace on earth, among men of good will.” (Luke 2:14)
The first words of Jesus resurrected were: “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19,21,26)
are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that does not love, has not known God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
fought with his words, in
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all kinds of impurity. Thus you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matthew 23:27-28)
Jesus also fought with his deeds, just with a whip out of cords, not swords, no blood shedding:
“And in the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting there. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, including the sheep and the cattle; and he scattered the coins of the brokers and overturned their tables. And to those who sold doves he said, get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a house of merchandise! That reminded his disciples that it is written: The zeal for your house will consume me.” (John 2:14-15, Matthew 21:12-13)
Revelation predicts a time of future warfare and judgment at the return of Christ. Just as God brought judgment in the Flood, and to Sodom and Gomorrah, and in ancient Canaan, so also has He promised judgment in the future, in the Battle of Armageddon of Revelation 19:11-16. All the troops of the kings of the earth “were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse”. (Revelation 19:21)
God is still a God of "holy war". His patience is often misinterpreted as indifference. But God is not indifferent to sin. The wages of sin are still death. A day is coming when the world will reel and shake with "holy war" once again. This final mayhem will make Joshua's wars seem like a pea shoot next to a nuclear war!
But this is not a war of men against men; it is by the sword of the mouth of Jesus.
“At last, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil! For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against supernatural forces, against the authorities, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spirits of evil in the heavenly realm. Therefore, take up the arms of God, that you may be able to withstand in the day of evil, and stand after all has been done. Stand, therefore, having fastened the belt of truth around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness as well as shoes on your feet with the readiness to proclaim the good tidings of peace. In everything, take up the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of evil. Receive also the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17)
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer! My God, my stronghold, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my high tower. I call upon the Lord in praise, and I will be saved from my enemies.” (Psalm 18:2-3)
“Strong tower is the name of the Lord, the righteous one runs into it and is set on high.“ (Proverbs 18:10)