Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Obeying the Authorities/Going to War

“Since The Bible Says to Obey the Governing Authorities, Christians Must Be in the Military and Go to War.”
Yes to the first part--no to the second.

The Bible does indeed say that we are to “be subject” to the governing authorities:
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:1-6

However, these “authorities are God’s servants”(v.6) put in place by God for his purposes.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. Colossians 1:15-17

Since these authorities are “created through him and for him”, they are to be submitted to only when they don’t tell us to do things contrary to what Jesus has taught.

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!
Acts 5:29

There may be punishment for following Jesus rather than the authorities but we must follow Jesus because he is the final authority and judge. When Christians join the military or in the event of a draft, submit for duty—against Jesus’ and his disciples’ teachings of loving ones enemy (Matthew 5:43-48) and overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:21), those who do follow Jesus’ teachings and refuse such things at greater peril of punishment.*

*See “Christians should be proud when their sons and daughters join the military and go off to war.” http://urbanlegendsbible.blogspot.com/2011/11/christian-soldiers.html

Christian Soldiers?

“Christians should be proud when their sons and daughters join the military and go off to war.”


Jesus said just the opposite. There is no way that shooting or bombing one’s enemy (or anyone) is loving them or blessing them—the enemy or the one who kills their enemy. As long as people kill each other in retaliation, the killing will never stop. Jesus has a better way in mind; Christians are, rather, to set the example:

“Love your enemy” (Matthew 5:43-48).

“Bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:28).

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:38-40).

Peter said, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

Paul said, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
Jesus’ expects his followers to be different because they’re not operating the way this world does, but in God’s way.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)

Paul said, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world” (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4).

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).

If we “resist” or kill an “evil person” the effect is like cutting off the top of a weed without digging out the roots—it will come back. Jesus’ way is to fight the devil instead—to get to the root of the problem with the spiritual “weapons” of prayer and love.

Finally, Jesus told his disciples, “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).

I don’t at all mean to sound harsh but only to convey what Jesus said—if you encourage your children to join the military, don’t be surprised if they die there. Even if they make it back home, they will have died to some degree on the inside. Jesus has called us to a better way--that of following his teachings.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31,32

Generational Curses

“God Curses People Because of the Sins Their Parents and Grandparents Committed.”

Not any more.

The second commandment and several other passages in the Bible really do say that:
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, Exodus 20:5

But God in his mercy and grace didn’t leave us there! Even as far back as Ezekiel’s time, God stopped passing the blame through the generations!

Yet you ask, 'Why does the son not share the guilt of his father? Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. Ezekiel 18:19-20

This entire chapter is clearly about individuals not bearing any guilt but their own—even in Ezekiel’s time. Then Jesus sealed it when he bore the curse of sin and death including the generational curse for us.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." Galatians 3:13

Hallelujah! Jesus has already done it!!! We who follow Jesus are no longer under the Law! Each person is only responsible to repent for his or her own sins and Jesus’ death and resurrection have won us forgiveness! We don’t need any rituals to “break off” such curses; the New Testament never even suggests such a thing! Even in the Old Testament, God had Ezekiel rebuke the Israelites for saying such a thing.