Nonresistance & Politics in the N.T.

The Related Ideas of Patriotic Nationalism, Militarism, Violence, Retaliation, Refusal to Bear the Cross or Endure Suffering, the Active Seeking and Holding of Worldly Power and Focusing on the Things of This World in General. Are These Things in Harmony with the Way of the New Covenant or with Following Christ and the Teachings Contained in the New Testament?

Consider the Implications of the Scriptures Given Below:

Matt 4:8-10—”8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory9 And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ 10 Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.‘”                                                                                                                                                                        [God’s Kingdom is not one of earthly power. Satan tempted Jesus to choose worldly power over the Kingdom of God. The devil is the ruler of this world (Jn 12:31) and the god of this age (2 Cor 4:4)—the whole world is under his sway (1 Jn 5:19). Jesus refused earthly glory and power in favor of enduring suffering and death for our sakes. Shall we refuse to do the same for His name sake and for the sake of the Kingdom of God?]

Matt 5:9-12—”9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.   10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”                 [Peacemakers will be blessed, but they will not always be well received. When the followers of Christ are persecuted due to their uncompromising commitment to righteousness, they should not retaliate with violence. Rather, they should rejoice and realize that persecution is an indication that they are on the right track.]

Matt 5:21-22—“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”                                                                                                                                      [This is only one passage which shows that Jesus’ teachings even condemn the feelings which lead to war and murder.]

Matt 5:38-48“38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”                                                                           [Notice the upside-down, unnatural values of the kingdom of God. Notice that we are to love our enemies—not kill them.]

Matt 6:24a—”No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.”                                                      [In context, Jesus is speaking of Money (NIV; The Message) or Mammon (Young’s Literal Translation; KJV 1611 Edition), which is capitalized in some versions to indicate that the word here speaks of wealth personified as an object of worship. But similarly, when Christians pledge allegiance to a kingdom of the world and allow the nation and the visible symbols thereof to become sacred[1] or holy things to us, we have divided our loyalties and may have fallen into idolatry. We are to have one master, not two. Do not let your Patriotism water down, weaken or corrupt your Christianity.]

Matt 7:24-27—”  24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”                                                                                                                                          [Jesus’ sayings in the Sermon on the Mount are to be taken seriously by all of His disciples. We are to do them or put them into practice.]

Matt 10:16—”Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”                                                                                                               [We aren’t to serve God with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other.]

Matt 10:23a, 24-39—”23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another….24 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”                                                                                                                  [Disciples of Christ, both then and now, need to be prepared to endure the persecution and hostility that they will face would face as a result of following the way of Jesus. If we prepare our minds for this type of treatment, it will help us to deal with it in a Christian manner.]

Matt 11:12—”And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”                                                                             [The early Christians understood this verse (and others like it, such as Lk 13:24; 16:16) to be teaching that we must diligently exercise our free-will in seeking God and that we must put forth real moral effort in being conformed to the likeness of Christ if we desire to enter the kingdom—not that violent, self-willed, contentious people will enter the kingdom. This is the “fight of faith.”]

Matt 11:29—“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”                                                                                                     [Jesus tells us that we should learn these qualities from Him, but yet the history of the church is so filled with violence. Let us strive to take his words seriously.]

Matt 12:20—“A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory;”                                                                                                               [Tolbert Fanning commented on this verse in an article entitled On War which was published in March of 1847 in the Christian Review, writing that (for those under the government of Christ), “His laws were to be rendered triumphant and glorious, without the aid of earthly weapons. Not so much as a tender reed was to be disturbed, or the smoking flax quenched, for his cause to be victorious.”]

Matt 16:21-26—” 21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ 23 But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?'”                                                                         [Jesus corrects His disciples’ concept of the Messiah. He did not come to be a military-political figure. Peter tries to deter Him from His “cross course” and receives a rebuke. If we set our minds on earthly kingdoms instead of on God’s kingdom, we become stumbling blocks. Following Jesus involves self-denial and suffering. Let’s not value our lives, this world and the things of the world over and above our eternal souls. See also Mk 8:31-37; Lk 9:22-25.]

Matt 17:5—”While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!'”                                                                                                                                      [Let’s listen to His words instead of explaining them away. See Mk 9:7; Lk 9:35.]

Matt 20:22-23—”22 But Jesus answered [James and John] and said, ‘You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They said to Him, ‘We are able.’ 23 So He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.'”                                                                                                                                 [The “cup” and the “baptism” Jesus speaks of is to suffer. Jesus’ disciples are called to share in the sufferings of Christ. As for the two that Jesus is speaking to in this passage, James lost his head in Rome and John was exiled on the island of Patmos.]

Matt 21:5Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.'”                                                                                                     [If this is the way Jesus came to His people, should His followers approach the lost and erring while mounted atop a prancing war horse and wielding a sword of steel?]

Matt 24:6-9—”6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”                                                                                                                                                  [Jesus’ followers will hear of earthly wars, but that does not mean that they should pick a side and participate in them. Should the kingdom of God that is living in a one earthly kingdom take up arms against the kingdom of God that just happens to be living in another earthly kingdom? A true follower of Christ will be despised in whatever earthly nation they are living, because their ultimate allegiance belongs to a heavenly king and to the kingdom of God—not to an earthly ruler or an earthly kingdom. See also Mk 13:7-13; Lk 21:9-19.]

Matt 24:30-31—”Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”                                                                                                                                             [If the tribes of the earth will mourn, then Christians should not give their allegiance to any tribe of the earth! Let us not be tribalistic! Notice (esp. in Mark 13:26-27) that God’s people will be gathered from many different geographical areas.]

Matt 26:52—”Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”                                                                                                                                                       [Christians are to put this principle into practice—let us put away our swords of steel and leave them put away.]

Matt 28:18-20—”18 And Jesus came and spoke to them [i.e. the apostles], saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them [i.e. the future disciples] to observe all things that I [Jesus] have commanded you [i.e. the apostles]; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'”                                                                                                                                                               [Because Christians are all over the world, scattered throughout every nation on earth, should Christians fight in the armed conflicts of the nations in which they reside? Is it God’s will for Christians in one nation to kill their brothers and sisters in Christ who reside in another nation? Even if the apostles were Jesus’ primary audience during His Sermon on the Mount, His teachings on non-resistance and non-retaliation are also for today’s disciples in that here, in the Great Commission, we see that Jesus tells the apostles to take everything that He had taught them and to pass His teachings on to the future disciples. It should not be a surprise to us that Christians are supposed follow the teachings of Christ! Can we follow Jesus without following Jesus?]

Mark 4:17-19—”they…endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”                                                                                                                                          [We must be prepared to endure persecution and tribulation for the word’s sake—without retaliating, which is contrary to the teachings of Christ. There is a high cost involved in following Jesus—are we willing to pay it? Will we fall away or allow the cares, riches, and pleasures of this life to choke off Christ’s life giving sap so that we become unfruitful? Let us deny ourselves and patiently endure the cross. See also Matt 13:21b-22; Lk 8:14.]

Mark 8:34-37—”Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”                                                                                                                                                            [Believers are called to carry a cross for Jesus sake—we must be prepared to suffer and deny ourselves for Jesus.]

Mark 10:15—”Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”                                                                                               [Because many Christians have no clue what the kingdom of God consists of, they end up giving their devotion and allegiance to a certain version of the kingdom of the world. Failing to understand the kingdom of God, they do not receive it. Instead, they prefer to live for their earthly kingdom and the things of this world while claiming to follow Jesus. Receive the kingdom of God! Otherwise, you’ll miss it!]

Mark 10:21—”…Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”                                [Again with the “cross-bearing” talk]

Mark 10:29-30—”Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time–houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions–and in the age to come, eternal life.” [Persecution is a normal part of the Christian life. We are to keep the faith even if it means losing our earthly family. Also, unbelieving family members may shun us due to our faith. But we are promised a hundredfold of houses and relatives in a spiritual sense—we gain houses of worship along with a new family—the family of God!]

Mark 10:38b—”Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”                                                                                                                               [The imagery of baptism is linked with the idea of suffering or “cross-bearing” (cf. Lk 12:50; Matt 20:22-23). Having been baptized into Christ, we should be prepared to suffer and die with Him.]

Luke 2:14—”Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”  [From the time that the angels announced the birth of the “Prince of peace” to the shepherds of Judea, the servants of the Lord have been required to cultivate peace and goodwill toward men.]

Luke 3:10-14 [KJV]—” 10 And the people asked him [John the Baptist], saying, What shall we do then? 11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. 12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. 14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence[2] to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.”                                   [Even Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist, had no room in his following for people whose lifestyle was like that of everyone else. He only had room for people whose lifestyle ran counter to their environment.]

Luke 4:5-85 “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’ 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”                                                                                                              [Here we see that Satan is tempting Jesus with a detour—Jesus is tempted to tread the path of worldly power instead of continuing on the way of the cross. Jesus chose the way of the cross—it is His way and it should be our way as well.]

Luke 5:36-39—”No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. 39 And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”                                        [Unfortunately, many Christians have a “flat theology”, meaning that they think the Old Covenant is just as authoritative concerning their manner of life as is the New Covenant. But when faced with New Testament teachings that go against their natural minds, they regress even further and show that, at least on some issues, they actually prefer the Old Testament teachings over the New—they think the old is better.]

Luke 6:21b-23, 27-36—”Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh.22 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets…. 27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”                                                                                                                                               [Persecution for Jesus’ sake will give us a great reward in heaven and it gives us evidence that we are on the right track. Here again, we see the nonsensical values of the kingdom of God; again with the “love your enemy” stuff—love them, don’t kill them.]

Luke 6:46—”But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?”

Luke 9:23-25—”If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”                                                                                     [Following Jesus involves carrying a cross—in other words it involves suffering; we must not cling to this life and the things of the world too tightly or we will forfeit our eternal life.]

Luke 9:54-56a—”54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ 55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.‘” [The N.T. teaches that followers of Christ are not to react to unfavorable treatment by with an attitude of retaliation. It simply does not reflect the suffering love of Christ. The N.T. teaches us to love our enemies and to leave vengeance to God.]

Luke 10:25-37 (Parable of the Good Samaritan)—[The whole point of the parable of the Good Samaritan is that neither race nor place produces neighborhood. What produces neighborhood is love in action—even towards our enemies. And as Rom 13:10a says “Love does no harm to a neighbor.”]

Luke 14:25-27—”25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them,
26 ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.‘”                                                [If Jesus isn’t careful, He might drive these people away! Doesn’t He know that they aren’t ready for this stuff yet?! If we love this world so much that we are not willing to bear a little “social suffering” due to our social nonconformity—then we are not His disciple.]

Luke 17:20, 2120 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”                                                                                                                                         [Establishing the kingdom of God is not like establishing an earthly nation-state. The kingdom of God does not have national, geographical boundaries.]

Luke 19:11—”Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.”                                                                                                                                                       [The crowd thought Jesus was a political-military leader who would free the Jews of Roman domination. They thought He was going to Jerusalem to “take over” and begin their concept of the kingdom of God. So He told a story to let them know that He would first go away for a while, and that His followers would need to be faithful and productive during His absence.]

Luke 21:17, 19—” 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake….19 By your patience possess your souls.”                                                                                                                                        [After warning the Apostles about the persecutions that were to come upon them, Jesus tells them how to keep their souls safe—by patience, not by reacting with violence.]

Luke 21:34—”But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.” [Let’s focus on eternal, heavenly things. Let’s not be caught up in or distracted by the pleasures and temporal cares of this life.]

Luke 22:25-30—”The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. 28 But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”                                                                  [While it does appear that these spiritual leaders of the church will have a higher place of honor or a type of preeminence once the kingdom comes to its fruition, Jesus told them in this passage that the way of the kingdom is not one of worldly power. Christians are not to seek to have power over people, but we should rather be seeking to be a power under people. We are to be servant-leaders as was Jesus.]

Luke 22:36, 38—“Then He said to them, ‘But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.’…. So they said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’” [If Jesus meant for the disciples to take Him literally when He told them to sell their garments to buy a sword, then the two swords they already had served His purpose well enough when, in the Garden, Jesus used one of the swords to teach an object lesson after Peter had used one of them to cut off Malchus’ ear (see Matt 26:51-52/Jn 18:10). In the Gospel of Matthew (26:51-52), Peter receives a rebuke from Jesus for using the sword, but here in Luke, Jesus ends this discussion about swords by saying, “It is enough.” He may have been putting an end to their literal sword talk by saying “Enough of this!” (After all, would two swords really be enough for the eleven of them to defend themselves with?) Then in Luke 22:51, Jesus healed Malchus’ ear, showing us the manner in which we are to treat our enemies.]

Luke 24:21—”But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.”                                    [These disciples were still holding to what was a very common misunderstanding of the Messiah’s mission and the nature of the kingdom of God. They still saw the Messiah as being a political/military savior or deliverer and they viewed the kingdom of God as being a nationalistic thing instead of a kingdom that included people from all races and nations.]

John 2:5—”5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”                     [Let us who claim to be servants of Jesus follow the guidance that Mary gave these servants at the wedding in Cana.]

John 2:15—“When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.” [He used a make-shift whip or “scourge” that he had quickly put together from whatever materials there was at hand. It consisted of small cords or rushes (rushlet; flag-plant; grass-withe or tie). This could not have been a Roman Flagrum or a cat o’ nine tails, which would have required more time and materials to make. In any case, He did not use a sword or any other sort of deadly weapon, and it does not say that He used the whip on the people. Even if it could be proved that Jesus used the whip on people, as Bennie Fudge wrote in his tract Can a Christian Kill for His Government?, it would only give support to the idea “that it is right to use force in keeping the worship of God pure,” and not for any other reason.]

John 3:3-6—”3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. ”                                                                                                [Through our baptism, we entered into a kingdom that is different than the one in which we are currently residing. Through baptism, we were born or adopted into a family that is different than the one that we have previously known. This new kingdom has a different ruler and it has no borders. And this new family relationship runs much deeper than biology.]

John 6:15—”Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.”       [Jesus’ kingdom is not about having power over people in such a manner; it is about influencing people from the inside out.]

John 8:12, 31, 51—”I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life….”If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed….Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” [We must follow Jesus, not simply admire Him. Disciples of Christ are to follow His teachings instead of explaining them away as not being applicable to us. If it is Jesus’ word that must be kept if we want to go to heaven, then do you think we should elevate the commands or teachings of men over and above what Jesus actually taught?]

John 11:51b-52—”but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.”                                                                [Christianity is not a nationalistic thing; it is a universal thing. We have brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world.]

John 12:25-26a—”25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me;”                                         [Let us not love the world, but let us follow Jesus—both to and onto the cross.]

John 12:32—”31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”                   [Satan is the ruler of this world, let us not cling to it. Jesus draws all peoples—not just Americans or even especially Americans. Jesus seeks individuals from every people group.]

John 12:48—”He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him–the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.                                                    [Let us be very careful about rejecting or explaining away Jesus’ words, because it is by His words that we will be judged.]

John 13:35—”By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”                                                                                                                                                               [This verse shows the peaceful spirit and nature of Christianity.]

John 14:15, 21a, 23-24a, 30—”15 If you love Me, keep My commandments…..21a He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me….23 If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word….24a He who does not love Me does not keep My words;…. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.”                                                                                                                                                                    [Should we set aside the words and commands of Jesus as being nonsensical, while we rush to give our lives to serving the kingdoms of this world, which are coming to nothing and are at least partially under the influence of Satan?]

John  15:7, 10a, 14—” 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you….10a If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love….14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”         [Christians should take Jesus words and commandments seriously, not explain them away. Let us wrestle with the words of our Master instead of rejecting them.]

John 15:18-2118 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”                                                                                                                                                                [Like the apostles, we should expect persecution in our efforts to follow Christ. We are to keep the words of Jesus and the words of the apostles, as did the early church before it became intertwined with the state. They took what Jesus had taught them and passed it on to the next generation of Christ followers. This explains the early church’s stance on non-resistance, non-conformity, and separation from the world.]

John 16:1-2, 8, 11, 33—”These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service….8 And when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world …of judgment…9…because the ruler of this world is judged. 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”                              [Followers of Jesus should expect persecution. Satan is the ruler of this world, so we should not love it and we should not be surprised when persecuted—it is a sign that we are doing something right. Being killed for our faith is part of “the faith.”]

John 17:11, 14, 16—”Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”                                                                                            [Christians are to be one (as the Father and the Son are one) regardless of what earthly country they happen to live in and regardless of whether those earthly countries are at war with each other. Would the Father and Son go to war with one another? This world is not our home, and according to the Bible, neither is the land we happen to live in. Heaven is our “home sweet home!”]

John 18:11—”11 So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?'”                                                                                                     [A famous Roman Catholic scholar, Desiderius Erasmus (c.1466-1536), who was not only well versed in the original languages of Scripture and many of the writings of the early church, but who also attempted to bring reform within the Catholic church, wrote the following words concerning this verse: “They who defend war must defend the dispositions which lead to war, and these dispositions are absolutely forbidden by the gospel. Since the time that Jesus Christ said ‘Put up thy sword into its sheath’ Christians ought not to go to war. Christ suffered Peter to fall into an error in this matter, on purpose that, when he had put up Peter’s sword, it might remain no longer a doubt that war was prohibited, which before that order had been considered as allowable.”[3]]

John 18:36—”My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”                                                                                                                                                         [if the followers of Christ were forbidden to engage in violence for the sake of the kingdom of God, shall we engage in violence for the sake of any version of the kingdom of the word?]

John 18:37—”You say rightly that I am a king….Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”                                                                                                                                                          [Everyone who accepts Jesus as their king will listen to and heed His teachings over the “common-sense” teachings of the kingdoms of the world.]

John 18:38—”Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?'”                                                         [Unfortunately, too many Christians act the same way. Instead of striving to conform our views to “the faith”, we prefer to drift into doctrinal relativism.]

John 19:15c—”We have no king but Caesar!”                                                                  [Unfortunately, too many Christians act the same way. Instead of striving to live by the teachings of King Jesus, we prefer to live by the teachings of the world.]

John 19:25-27—”25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ 27 Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”                                                                                                          [In Christian churches and Christian homes (the family of God), family bonding should take place at the foot of the cross—not at the foot of the flag. Christians should rally at the foot of the cross, not the foot of the flag. This is the thing we should have in common—the thing that binds us together!]

Acts 1:6—”Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?'”                                                                                          [The disciples were still fixated on the establishment of an earthly nationalistic kingdom. Not only because Jewish nationalism was such a strong and pervasive force in the lives of the people, but also because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given. After Pentecost, the disciples finally received the full understanding of the kingdom of God. God grant that we do the same.]

Acts 3:22-23—”22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’”                                                                                                            [Peter spoke these words referring to Jesus. Let those of us who claim to follow Jesus take all of His words seriously; let us genuinely intend to hear and to do what Jesus has said we are to do.]

Acts 4:19—”But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.'”                                                                  [While the N.T. teaches that we are to obey the governing authorities (Lk 20:25; Rom 13:1-7), obedience to God comes first. When the two are in conflict, Christians are to follow the teachings of Christ and stand ready to accept the consequences. Unfortunately, most “Christians” listen to men more than to God.]

Acts 5:29—”But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.'”                                                                                                                                           [Most “Christians” prefer to obey the “commonsense” of men rather than the wisdom of God.]

Acts 5:41—”So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”                                                                                    [The way of Jesus is the way of the cross; it is the way of suffering—without retaliation.]

Acts 7:59-60—”And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”                          [Following both the example and the teaching of Jesus, Stephen (the first Christian martyr) speaks the truth and accepts the consequences. He exhibits Christ-like behavior by praying for the forgiveness of his enemies as they are killing him.]

Acts 9:16—”For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”       [The greater service a person renders to Christ, the greater their sufferings will be.]

Acts 10:35—”But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”                                                                                                                                                                  [The family of God cuts across all national and geographical boundaries—the church is universal.]

Acts 14:22b—”We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”                   [And we are to patiently endure them; we must be willing to share in the sufferings of Christ if we want to go to heaven.]

Acts 15:28-29—”For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.”                                                       [Some early interpreters understood the reference to “blood” in this passage as meaning human blood. They understood it to be a prohibition against “bloodshed” or the “shedding of blood” (i.e., violence, killing, or murder. For example, see Tertullian ANF Vol. 4, pg 85-86; Cyprian ANF Vol. 5, pg 557.) While I do not believe that such an interpretation of this verse is correct, it illustrates just how thoroughly ingrained the early Christian teaching was concerning nonviolence.]

Acts 16:25—”But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”                                                                                                  [When they were unjustly put in prison, Paul and Silas literally obey Jesus’ upside-down teachings (see Lk 6:22-23).]

Acts 17:6b-7—”These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.
7 Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king–Jesus.”                                                                                                             [It is nothing new for Kingdom Christians to be charged with treason by those whose primary focus is on the politics of this world. Jesus was crucified for treason—for claiming to be a king. Of course, Jesus is a king, but His kingdom is not of this world. Let us follow Him!]

Acts 19:30—“And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him.”                                                                                                                                                                        [The disciples may have forcibly restrained Paul from going in.]

Rom 1:5—”Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,”                                                                                                         [Seeing as how the gospel is for all nations, shall we carry the gospel to them in one hand as we are waving an American flag with the other hand? Are we trying to spread Christianity or another religion called Americanism? Let us not confuse one with the other; or better yet, just pick one and forget the other altogether—it will be less confusing to those we are trying to reach and we will not have divided loyalties. Let us stop smothering the cross with the flag! When Christianity is too closely associated with Americanism, non-Americans will reject the former because it is too closely tied to the latter. Let us avoid causing the name of Jesus to be blasphemed because of the rabid nationalistic patriotism of so many Christians.]

Rom 1:29-32—”being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

Rom 5:3—”And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”                                                                                                                [Tribulations give us an opportunity to grow and mature; let us not evade them.]

Rom 6:3-7—” 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. ”               [In baptism, we receive the grace or the power to be freed from living life according to the pattern, values, and norms of this worldly society. Our life of slavery to the ways of the world is put to death in baptism—or at least it should be. We are raised to walk in a new way of doing life—walking in the footsteps and the power of the crucified and risen Christ.]

Rom 8:17-18—”and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”                                                                                                                                       [According to this verse, if we want to be glorified with Christ, it is necessary that we be willing to suffer with Him. Having an eternal perspective on things will help us to endure temporary sufferings.]

Rom 8:35-39—”35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
[We are not to fear the world—we should prefer to die to it than to kill for it. We conquer as we patiently endure the suffering that comes our way as we follow in His steps.]

Rom 12:1-2—” 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”        [We are to give ourselves and our service to God; Christians are to avoid the ungodly influences of the kingdoms of the world—we are not to give our lives in service to them.]

Rom 12:9-21—”Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love
, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”                                               [Christians cannot practice kindness and brotherly love to each other by trying to kill each other whenever their respective nations happened to go to war with each other. Christians are to patiently endure suffering while following the teachings of the Prince of Peace. We are not to overcome evil by countering it with a similar evil. We are to love our enemies, not kill them.]

Rom 13—” 1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”                                                                                               [We are to be subject to the government under which we live, until it asks us to do something that conflicts with the teachings of Christ—like to take up the armor and weapons of the world and kill people! The New Testament nowhere teaches that it is our “moral obligation” or our “Christian duty” to participate in government or to be an unthinking tool of the government. The wicked government official is the “sword of the Lord.” Christians are to love and be peaceable, not repaying evil for evil; they are to leave wrath and vengeance to God and to the worldly government that He chooses to put in place. Our “Christian duties” should be drawn first and foremost from the teachings and the example of Christ! And when we keep weapons either on our person or in our homes for the purpose of self-defense/home defense, what else is this except to make provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts and to set ourselves up for temptation? It is our Christian duty to ask God to deliver us from temptation and keep us from evil, and we must always seek to avoid temptation, including the evil temptation to take another person’s life. It is wrong for a Christian to premeditatedly shed blood or to determine beforehand that they will, if some emergency situation arises, take the life of a fellow-man, and it is wrong for a Christian to prepare for such an emergency, purposely equipping themselves so that they might sin more effectively and kill their fellow man if such a “situation” arises.]

Rom 14:8—”For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”                                                                                               [We are as much bound to die for Him as to live for Him. Not only must we guard our hearts against loving the things of the world and therefore living for ourselves, but we must also beware of giving the “ultimate sacrifice” for some “just cause” other than that of serving Jesus. To live and die for Jesus and for His kingdom is “the cause” that our energies should be given to!]

Rom 14:17, 19—“for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.….Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”                                                                          [Shows the peaceful spirit and nature of Christianity.]

1 Cor 1:2—”To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours”                                                                                                                             [We are more closely related to an Iraqi Christian than to a patriotic American pagan.]

1 Cor 1:18-20—”18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”                                                                                                                                       [In God’s sight, relying upon fleshly resources is foolish. The true way to win does not come by might, but by the power of laying down our life, even to the point of death—but to the world, this is foolish.]

1 Cor 2:14—”But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” [Does living by the teachings and commands of Jesus—the ruler of the kingdom of God—seem foolish to you?]

1 Cor 4:12b-13a—”Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure;
13 being defamed, we entreat.”                                                                                                                     [We should endure, without striking back.]

1 Co 5:12-13—“For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”                                                                                                           [These days, too many Christians will have nothing to do with practicing church discipline (judging those who are inside), but yet they will readily spend their time and energy to judge those who are outside through some arm of the civil government—legislatures, courts, law enforcement officers, armed forces, etc. Let us not seek to be a punitive agent of the civil government.]

1 Cor 6:7—”Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?”                                                                                                                                                     [Paul is teaching them to turn the other cheek; see Matt 5:39-40.]

1 Cor 6:9-11—” 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters [see explanatory footnote below [4]], nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. ”                                                                  [If we make an idol out of the version of the kingdom of the world in which we live, or the visible representations thereof—we will not inherit the kingdom of God. And if we are so greedy and self-centered that we are willing to do whatever it takes to protect our stuff or to preserve or advance our cherished way of life, then we will not inherit the kingdom of God. But in baptism we have been sanctified (set apart) for better things than that nonsense—or at least we should have been.]

1 Cor 7:15b—“But God has called us to peace.”                                                                                   [This verse shows the peaceful spirit and nature of Christianity.]

1 Cor 7:29-32—”29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none,30 those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, 31 and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.” [So let us not live for the things of the world.]

1 Cor 11:1-2—”1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. [Paul imitated Christ and exhorted the Corinthians to follow his example in doing so. Paul taught “the faith” to his converts just as it was revealed to him. Paul did not contradict Jesus’ teachings—he passed them on.]

1 Cor 12:13—”For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”                 [In this new society of the baptized ones, race, ethnic group, national origin, and earthly citizenship is irrelevant—therefore racism and nationalism has no place within a body of people whose citizenship is  in heaven.]

1 Cor 12:25-27—“that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.”                                                                                                    [Strife & carnal warfare between professing Christians is not acceptable to Christ.]

1 Cor 13:4-5—”4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;”                                                                                                                                                      [We should even try to love our enemies like this instead of always trying to gain power over them.]

2 Cor 1:5-9—”5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. 8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,”                                                                  [We should resolve to endure suffering without retaliating—not trusting in ourselves, but in God who will raise us from the dead.]

2 Cor 4:4a—”whose minds the god of this age has blinded…”                                           [Because Satan is the god of this age, he is god of the current world system and mind-set—the ideals, opinions, goals hopes, and views of the majority of people. This includes the world’s philosophies, education, and commerce. Let us not conform to it!]

2 Cor 4:10—”…always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”                                                                                       [We are exhorted to suffer with Christ.]

2 Cor 4:17-18—”17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”                                                 [Suffering for Jesus does not make any common sense to many modern Christians because they are focused on the temporary things of this world. The more we suffer with Christ the greater our rewards will be in heaven.]

2 Cor 10:3, 4—”For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…”                                                                                                                                                         [If you advocate using carnal weapons to serve the kingdom of God, then you obviously have your kingdoms confused. Kingdom of God people do not “war” like kingdom of the world people.]

2 Cor 11:19-20—”19 For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! 20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face.”                                                                          [Non-resistance does not mean that the spiritual leaders of the church should passively allow false teachers (such as the Judaizers) to bring false teaching and corruption into the church. When oppressive, domineering, greedy, prideful, abusive false teachers try to take control of the church or take advantage of the church—the leaders should take a firm stand. Christians can be militant for the truth without resorting to physical violence.]

2 Cor 13:11b—“Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.                                                                                                                                    [This verse shows the peaceful spirit and nature of Christianity.]

Gal 3:26-28—”26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”                                                                                                                                                                        [In this new family relationship (that we enter into through a faith-baptism) our ethnic status and national origin are irrelevant to our unity in Christ. We are one in Christ regardless of what country we live in, what color our skin is or what our station is in life. We are also one in Christ regardless of whether we are male or female—We may have different roles to play in life (there is a biblical order), but we are of equal worth to God. There is one universal church that contains all people who have put on Christ in baptism.]

Gal 4:18—“But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always,”                                                    [For those Christians who have enough sense to realize that Patriotic Nationalism and Politics should not be brought into the assembly or preached from the pulpit, but yet who think that it is a good thing for a Christian to be patriotic about the land that he lives in and to be active in worldly politics, they should consider that they might be guilty of play acting! They believe in acting one way during church, buy yet in living out and believing something very different when elsewhere! They have an environmental faith—singing “This world is not my home” in church, but yet singing “God bless America, my home sweet home” when elsewhere! But if being involved in the affairs of this world (such as carnal war, worldly politics, and patriotism) is a good thing, then it is good to be zealous in a good thing always—even in the assembly! But if such things do not belong in the assembly, then they have no place in our lives or in the sanctuary of our hearts.]

Gal 5:14—“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”                                                                                                                                                              [If we are to love our neighbors, then we cannot go to war with them; and the same goes for our enemies! (see Matt 5:44/Lk 6:27)]

Gal 5:19-23—”19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”                                                                                                                        [See comments at footnote #4 on pg 14. Also, we should consider just how conducive such things as carnal war and violence, or the spirit of imperialistic war-mongering and nationalism are towards helping Christians to cultivate and bear the fruit of the Spirit. That type of limited, narrow, earthbound, worldly mindset is seems more conducive toward encouraging people to display some of the works of the flesh that Paul lists in this passage. To cultivate the fruits of the Spirit would forever preclude both the spirit and practice of war.]

Gal 6:10—”Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”                                                                                                                       [We are to do good to all—regardless of country of origin, skin color, or religion. But we are especially to do good to Christians—regardless of country of residence or skin color.]

Gal 6:12—”As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.”         [We bear the cross when we endure the dislike and the hostility that hardened, unhumbled, unregenerate man tends to heap upon Jesus and His teachings, and upon those of us who have resolved to follow in His steps. The legalizers that Paul is speaking of chose to offend God that they may please human beings. True Christians should expect opposition from both non-Christians and professing Christians who make this same kind of choice. Have you experienced any suffering for the cross of Christ lately? Or do you desire to avoid it in order to please men?]

Gal 6:14—”But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”                                              [Can we say this with Paul? Have we renounced living for the things of this world? Are our minds set on the things of the kingdom of God or are they set on the things of the kingdoms of the world?]

Eph 2:1-13—”1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh–who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands–12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”                                                                                      [People encounter the blood of Christ thru baptism. They are grafted into a new humanity, into the commonwealth of God’s people which is a new community that exists within the shell of the old one. This new social order does not follow the course of this world—or at least it shouldn’t. We are to follow a new way of existing in the world, having a new set of guidelines that make no commonsense to the worldly mind-set, in fact it appears upside-down.]

Eph 4:1-3—“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” [How can we do this if we harbor feelings of party politics and Patriotic Nationalism in our hearts? These things divide Christians even when they are perfectly agreed in the articles of the Christian faith! These things pit “us” against “them” simply because our fellow believers are on the other side of the aisle (politically speaking) or on the other side of a geographical line and therefore caught up in disagreements between kingdoms of the world.]

Eph 4:31-32—“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”                                                                                                                       [Can Christians realistically expect to be able to live out such an exhortation while being involved in carnal war, worldly party politics, and the hostility that arises between the patriots of earthly nations that have disputes and strong disagreements with each other?]

Eph 6:12-17—”For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;”                                                                                                                                                              [Our battles, as well as our weapons and our armor, are spiritual.]

Phil 1:27-29“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,  28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,”                                                                                                              [If Christians go to war—especially against each other—would their conduct be “worthy of the gospel of Christ,” and would they be standing fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel? Persecution is proof that we are on the narrow road. Have you suffered for Jesus lately? Are we even willing to? Many Christians today won’t even suffer through challenging teaching and preaching that is perfectly in line with both the New Testament and the faith that was once for all delivered! We like to be stroked as we sit on our well-padded pews and chairs, but don’t you dare to actually teach the faith as it was delivered—we want it our way!]

Phil 2:3-4—“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”                                                                      [People full of nationalistic pride usually do not think of ‘those people’ who live in other countries as being better than themselves; nor do they care much about them.]

Phil 2:5-8—”5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.                                                                                           [We are called to have the mind of Christ, who humbled Himself and was obedient to the point of death—He did not cling to His heavenly prerogatives, but instead He refused to exercise them.]

Phil 2:17—”Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.”                                                                              [Paul welcomed the culmination of his cross-life.]

Phil 3:10-11that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”                                                                                                                          [We are encouraged to suffer with Christ because of His name—our final salvation may just depend on whether or not we were willing to do so.]

Phil 3:18-20—“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”                                                                                                                       [Let us embrace the cross of Christ! If our citizenship is in heaven, then why should we set our minds on earthly things and fight for the things of the kingdom of the world? It is not our duty and responsibility to do so! These things are none of our business!]

Phil 4:5—“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”                                  [It is difficult to let your gentleness be known to those whom you are killing or trying to kill.]

Col 1:13—”He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love…”                                                                                                            [This is the kingdom that we are to serve and pledge allegiance to—we are to give ourselves to serving this kingdom and no other.]

Col 1:24—”I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.”                                 [Again with the suffering theme.]

Col 2:15—”Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it [i.e. the cross].”                                                                                [The way of Jesus is victory through patient suffering.]

Col 3:1-2—”1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”                                                                                                                                                          [When we get so wrapped up in the things of this world that we tread the teachings of Jesus and the apostles underfoot, we only prove where our minds and hearts are. We prove where our true allegiance is.]

Col 3:8-9—”8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,”                                                                                                              [Is anyone so naïve as to think that a Christian can get involved in the wars and politics of this world and make any real progress in practicing what is enjoined here?]

Col 3:12-15—“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”                                                                                                                                                              [This verse shows the spirit that is pervasive in the N.T. and ought to be in the church. If Christians go to war against Christians or adopt a passionate, war-like spirit out of zeal for the causes of the land in which they happen to live, or bring worldly politics into the church, how can this loving, peaceful, Christian spirit be maintained?]

1 Thes 1:6—”And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,”                                                                                        [The apostles taught their hearers what Jesus had taught them—patient endurance of persecution without returning evil for evil; and that we are to rejoice when we are persecuted for our faith.]

1 Thes 3:3-4—”no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this4 For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.”                                      [Tribulation, affliction, and suffering—it is our lot; it is the way of the cross and when we are following Jesus we should expect to receive such treatment.]

1 Thes 4:9—“But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;”                                                           [Should spirit of war exist among Christians?]

1 Thes 5:8-9—”8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,”                                                                           [Our armor is to be spiritual! Christians have no need for worldly armor because God did not appoint us to wrath. Wrath is something that Christians are to put aside; it is to be left to God and to the human government that God puts in place. The business of Christians is to focus on the goal of obtaining final salvation through following Jesus! Wrath is not to be our business, focus or goal.]

1 Thes 5:13—“and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.”                                                                                                                                          [This verse shows the peaceful spirit and nature of Christianity.]

1 Thes 5:15—”See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.”                                                                                                        [No Christian is to return evil for evil to anyone. We are only to seek what is good both for one another (i.e., other Christians) and for all (i.e., the world!) cf. 3:12.]

2 Thes 1:4-6—”so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. ”                                                                                                            [When we suffer because we are trying to live as citizens of the kingdom of God, this is evidence that God is working in our lives to bring us to maturity. We are to endure this sharpening process without retaliating, leaving it to God to repay those who trouble us. It sounds important that we should try to obey what Jesus taught his disciples.]

1 Tim 1:13 [NIV]—”Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.”                                       [The Greek word (hubristes) for “violent man” can be translated “insolent man” (NKJV) or “injurious” (KJV), but like the NIV translation given above, the NAS similarly renders the word as “a violent aggressor”, and the NRSV has “a man of violence.” Notice that this is what Paul was before he became a follower of Christ. After we have been placed into Christ we are to put aside this type of conduct.]

1 Tim 2:1-2—”Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”                                                    [We are not to pray that the version of the kingdom of the world in which we live might be “successful” in all of its military endeavors, regardless of the cost. We are to pray for all who are in authority—even non-Americans. We are to pray for peace! See Jer 29:7.]

1 Tim 3:3—”not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;”                                                                                                                           [An elder must not be violent; he must not be violent as an individual nor for the nation-state.]

1 Tim 6:1—”Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.” [Paul does not exhort Christian slaves to rebel against their masters, but tells them to submit and endure while exhibiting Christian character and a Christ-like attitude toward their masters. Isn’t this applicable to much of what goes on in the worldly, greedy, strife-ridden wranglings of labor unions? Then, in v.2, after giving guidance for Christian slaves who belong to Christian masters, Paul ends the verse by saying…]

1 Tim 6:2-5—”Teach and exhort these things3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.”                                  [It simply amazes me how angry some Christians get when you teach exactly what Jesus and the writers of the N.T. teach on the subjects of non-resistance and money. Admittedly, these are the two most challenging subjects of the N.T. for most Americans (including me), but if we call ourselves Christians, then let us listen to what Jesus taught! Most American Christians would rather live by Old Testament morality or by the “common-sense” values of this evil world—they don’t want much to do with the New Covenant.]

1 Tim 6:11-12—”11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”                                                                                                                      [Flee greed and the seeking of worldly power. Pursue the things Paul says to pursue. The only Jihad or Holy War Christians should be involved in is the struggle to lay hold of eternal life!]

2 Tim 1:7-8, 12a—”For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God….12 For this reason I also suffer these things;”                                                          [Persecution and suffering are normal in the Christian life, but we are called to submit to these things and overcome the natural feelings of fear and timidity that may rise up within us—and we can do this with God’s help. Christians are not to be cowards (Rev 21:8).]

2 Tim 2:3-4—”3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”                                                                                                             [We are to endure hardship and suffering as we concentrate on furthering the kingdom of God; Let us not be distracted by kingdom of the world issues.]

2 Tim 2:9-10—”9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” [Suffering for the gospel and enduring suffering for the church is part of serving Christ.]

2 Tim 2:12a—” 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him.”                                                              [If we refuse to bear the cross, then we will not wear the crown. Reigning with Him is conditional upon our patiently suffering with Him.]

2 Tim 2:24—“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,”                                                                                                                                                                [How is it possible for a servant of the Lord to gently kill another human being?]

2 Tim 3:10-12—”10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra–what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”                                                                                                                                                     [Have you suffered any persecution lately because of the stand you have taken for Jesus and His kingdom?]

Titus 1:7—”For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money”                                               [Not violent—period!]

Titus 2:9-10—”9 Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.”                                          [Again we hear the exhortation to slaves to be submissive and to exhibit Christian character so as to be good advertising for Christ. Notice that they are advised not to answer back, which sounds a lot like not returning reviling for reviling. If we return anything to those who revile and curse us, it should be a blessing.]

Titus 3:1-2—”Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.”                                                                                                                                                                  [We are to be subject to the government under which we live, until it asks us to do something that conflicts with the commands of God—like not being peaceable and gentle and showing consideration to all men; we are never told to participate in government or to be an extension or a tool of the government.]

Heb 2:9-11—”9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting for Him [i.e. the Father], for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings11 For both He [i.e. Jesus] who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,”                                                                                                                                               [Jesus did not come as an earthly, conquering king—He was not a political success story. He humbled Himself in order to demonstrate the New Covenant way of conquering—through obedient suffering and death. Jesus is our pioneering captain or our forerunner (6:20), who blazed the New Covenant trail and acts as the church’s guide along the narrow path to God. In our journey of salvation, we are called to share in the sufferings of Christ—His way is to be our way, and in doing this we become His “brethren”. We grow spiritually through humbly enduring suffering. Patient endurance of suffering for the name of Christ is the path to victory.]

Heb 4:12—”For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”                                                                           [The “word of God” here can be interpreted as the written word or as the “Word of God” who was made flesh. Either way, this is weapon of the Christian. It is more powerful than any worldly, carnal weapon. The weapons of Christian warfare are not to be carnal!]

Heb 5:8-9—”8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,”

Heb 7:12—”For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.”                                                                                                                                                                             [In Jesus, Christians have a priest according to the order of Melchizedek, not according to the order of Aaron or the Levitical priesthood. We are under the “New Law” of Christ; we are under the New Covenant, not the Old.]

Heb 7:18-19, 22—“For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God…. 22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.”                                        [So let us no longer appeal to the Lex Talionis of the Old Testament. According to King Jesus, under the New Covenant we are not to retaliate at all.]

Heb 7:25-26—”25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;”                                                                                                                               [We come to God “through Jesus” only when we follow Jesus down the path that He blazed for us. We are to imitate Him or emulate Him. We are to strive for Christ-likeness. We are to let our minds be conformed to the mind of Christ. When those who are supposedly “mature” Christians vehemently advocate that it is “common-sense” for members of the church to adopt the ways, means and thought patterns of the world—regardless of how inconsistent it is with the teachings of Jesus and the N.T.—this shows that they are babes in Christ in their learning and that they are still carnal and worldly-minded.]

Heb 8:6-7, 13a—”6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second…13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete.”                              [Because Jesus’ priesthood is superior to the priesthood of the Old Covenant, Jesus teachings are also superior. Because the New Covenant is superior to the Old, we should not maintain a “flat theology” by which we accept the Old Testament on the same level as the New Testament as we formulate our theologies. Jesus clearly overruled some of the commands in the O.T. by some of the commands He gave us in the N.T.]

Heb 10:32-34—”32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.”                                                                                                        [We can only endure these things willingly and joyfully if we have a heavenly, eternal perspective.]

Heb 11:8-10—”8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”                                                                            [We too are to live in the land as if it were not our country—because according to the Bible, it isn’t.]

Heb 11:13-16—”13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”                                                                                                                            [Shall we give our lives to serving a worldly kingdom when we are citizens of heaven? If we set our minds on a version of the kingdom of the world, we may abandon our citizenship in the kingdom of God.]

Heb 11:25-27—”25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.                                 [Using this O.T. example of Moses, we are exhorted to apply these principles to our Christian walk. Egypt is a picture of “the world”; let us be first and foremost citizens of heaven, preferring to suffer as God’s people rather than living for this world.]

Heb 11:35b—”And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”                                                                                                                              [Sharing in the sufferings of Christ brings greater eternal rewards.]

Heb 12:1-4, 7-8—”1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin…. 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all [true sons] have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.”                                                   [Looking Jesus as our example, His disciples should be willing to resist sin to the point of shedding their blood. In the way of Christ, it is better to be killed than to kill—and we should not be concerned that this looks like foolishness in the eyes of the worldly. If we do not receive or endure “chastening”, we should be concerned about whether or not we truly belong to the family. ]

Heb 12:11—”Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”                                                                                                                                        [When we undergo God’s painful sharpening process, let us remember what it leads to if we are willing to learn and grow through it. Trying times may be God’s chastening work in our lives! If we view them in this way, we will be more apt to submit to them and persevere through them, rather than complaining about them.]

Heb 12:14—”14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:”                                                                                                                                                        [Pursue peace with all people, not just some; failure to do so may disqualify us from seeing the Lord.]

Heb 13:1—“Let brotherly love continue.”                                                                                           [Would carnal war or worldly party politics support this goal?]

Heb 13:6—”So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”                                                                                                                                                            [Christians who strive to live a non-resistant life do not do so because they are cowards! They do so because they are boldly following the way of Christ!]

Heb 13:8—”Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”                                                   [Christ does not change, so His teachings do not change. His apostles taught their hearers exactly what Christ had taught them. And just what was it that the hearers of the Apostles and the next couple generations believed on the issues being dealt with in this paper? Do the research for yourself and see! Because if I tell you the truth about what the early faith was on this matter (or show you from the N.T. and the writings of the early Christians)—you will not believe me. The sad fact is that churches are filled with Christians who do not care what the true and original teachings of the Christian faith actually are, they simply prefer to believe what they want to believe.]

Heb 13:12-14—”12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.  14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. ”                                                                                                                                                                  [This is but another way of saying that we are to share in the sufferings of Christ. Because He carried a cross for us and voluntarily died on it, we are to bear our cross for Him and die to this world. This world is not our home.]

Heb 13:20-21—“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”                             [If God is the God of peace who has spoken by His Son in these last days, and if God has commanded that we are to listen to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and follow His teachings in order to be considered as doing the will of God, and if the Scriptures are given so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work, then what passage in the written, inspired ‘red-letter’ teachings of Jesus Christ would give anyone the impression that engaging in carnal warfare would be a good work for one of His followers to be involved in? What passage in the whole N.T.?]

James 1:1—”James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.”                                                                       [“Scattered abroad” in the Greek is diaspora, which originally referred to the Jews in exile (who were collectively considered to be one nation); but here, James applies the term to the Church, which contains Jewish and Gentile Christians alike. The Church, as a whole, is a holy nation that is presently scattered abroad and on pilgrimage here in this world. We are sojourners or aliens who are to stay for a while in a strange place with no intention of permanently residing there. God’s people are to reside in the world in this way, for we are citizens of the heavenly world to come.]

James 1:2-3—”2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”                                                            [Is this “common-sense”? Or does it sound the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:11-12)? If we think with an eternal mind-set, this advice will make sense to us. Why get angry at trials and tests when they are opportunities for spiritual growth! Let us think Biblically, not worldly!]

James 1:8—”he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”                                  [Double-mindedness speaks of one who has two loyalties (Mt 6:24). James is passing on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount teachings to the church.]

James 3:17-18—“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

James 4:1-2—“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.”                                                            [This is the source of much of the strife that is in the world today. The less we are attached to things, the less grasping and the more at peace we will be. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary has this to say about this passage: “….Not probably in the case of professing Christians of that day in a literal sense, but ‘kill and envy’…that is, harass and oppress through envy… and so are ‘murderers’ in God’s eyes…God promises to those who pray, not to those who fight. The petition of the lustful, murderous, and contentious is not recognized by God as prayer…” It is a general principle to be heeded!]

James 4:4, 8b—”Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God….Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”                                                                                                                                                [We are to renounce the world, not cling to it. We are not to have divided loyalties.]

James 5:6—”You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.”[Why not? Because Jesus said: “…not to resist an evil person” (Matt 5:39a). We are to resist sin, and the devil, but we are not to resist suffering.]

James 5:9—“Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”                                                                                                [If we are in danger of being condemned for grumbling against our fellow Christian, then how much worse will it be for us for killing each other when nation wars against nation!?]

James 5:10-11—”10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”                                                                                         [Again we are exhorted to the patient endurance of suffering.]

1 Pet 1:1—”1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,…. ”                                                                         [Regardless of what land Christians are living in, they are simply pilgrims or visitors that are passing through—it is not our home; it is only a temporary stay, so we shouldn’t get too comfortable! Regardless of the boundaries of the earthly nations Christian reside in, together, like the dispersed nation of Israel, we make up one nation or the kingdom of God.]

1 Peter 1:6-7—”6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,”                                                                                [Enduring affliction in a Christ-like manner would appear foolish to the world, but faith under trial is precious and it bears more glory and honor as it continues to stand even while under trial.]

1 Peter 1:13-14, 17b—” 13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;…. 17bconduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;”       [The battle for holiness begins in the mind. We are not to conform to the world’s ways of thinking or its standards of morality. We are resident aliens here, so we should be different. We live here for now—it is a temporary stay. It is not our home sweet home—or at least it is not supposed to be.]

1 Peter 2:9-249 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men–16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness”
[When the “Gentile king” asks citizens of the kingdom of God to set aside Christ’s teachings and to obey the earthly ruler’s command to kill people (some who may even be Christians), then what? We should refuse to do so, come what may—in other words, we should choose to suffer. When people revile us, we are not to revile in return—we are to serve and bless them. Jesus is our Pattern and we are to imitate Him.]

1 Peter 3:8-18—”Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For ‘He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. 11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’ 13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’ 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit…”

1 Peter 3:21—”21 There is also an antitype which now saves us–baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”                                                                                                                         [The wordanswer is sometimes translated as “pledge.” It implies that baptism was a process of question and answer for the prospective convert; the candidate underwent an examination, during which certain stipulations were given and once these were accepted the candidate gave a profession/confession—they took the oath; they signed the contract. We pledged allegiance to God in our baptism. Shall we pledge allegiance to another?]

1 Peter 4:1-2—”1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”                                                                                                                                                                             [If we are willing to follow Christ to the extent of suffering in our flesh for Him, then we will not be as likely to take a dip back into sin—we no longer live for the things of this world, but for the things of the new heaven and earth.]

1 Peter 4:12-16, 19—”12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you….15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter…. 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”                                                                                                                                             [Like Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, Peter teaches that we are to accept innocent suffering.]

1 Pet 5:9-10—”9 Resist him [i.e. the devil], steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.                                                                                       [As we resist sin and Satan, let us remember that the brotherhood suffers worldwide. Are we Americans above sharing in this aspect of the Christian life when it comes our way?]

2 Pet 3:14—“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;”

1 John 2:3-6—”by this we know that we know Him [Jesus], if we keep His commandments.
4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”                                                                                                                                             [The words that Jesus taught may not be “commonsense” according to the thought patterns of this world but we must accept them as being for us—because they are. Then we must strive to put His teachings into practice and begin to look at His life as our example.]

1 John 2:9-11—”9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”                                        [We are to love, not to hate.]

1 John 2:15-17—”15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” [Why cling to this world or the kingdoms of the world? It is not our home and it is all passing away. Think bigger than this!]

1 John 3:1b, 13-18—”Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him….13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”                                                                                                                                     [Feeling misunderstood? Verse 1 shows that this is normal for us aliens. How could verses 13-18 apply to brethren in opposing armies on the battlefield? This passage shows the peaceful spirit and nature of Christianity.]

1 John 5:19—”We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”                                                                                                                                                     [While earthly government is put in place by God for the ordering of society, we must remember that it is also under the sway of the wicked one, and that not everything it does is necessarily according to the will of God.]

1 John 5:21—”Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”                                             [Part of keeping ourselves from idols would include keeping ourselves from idolatrous nationalism. Our country and its flag should not be our religion “on the side” or our “supplementary” objects of worship and devotion.]

Jude 3—”Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”                                                             [Christians are not to contend or fight the good fight of faith by using carnal weapons or physical violence. It is part of the unchanging faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, that Christianity, in its very essence, is a religion of peace. It is a religion that teaches patient endurance of suffering with Christ without retaliation. Its adherents are called to be nonviolent, world renouncing, and heavenly minded.]

Jude 10—”But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.”                                          [In other words, they corrupt themselves by following their worldly “common sense”.]

Rev 1:5-7 [NAS]—” 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— 6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.”                                                              [Jesus has more authority than any earthly ruler; He has made the world-wide body of believers into its own kingdom. Does your primary identity belong to the kingdom inaugurated by Jesus or does it belong to one of the tribes of the earth? If it is the former, then let us not act so tribalistic!]

Rev 1:9—”9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.                                                                                                                    [If we are in the kingdom of Christ, we should expect tribulation and patiently endure it. When we are being true to the word of God and faithfully giving testimony concerning Jesus, then opposition is going to be encountered—even from those who claim to be Christian. True Christians are commonly charged with treason or sedition because they pledge ultimate allegiance to Jesus, not the earthly rulers—this may be why John was put on the island.]

Rev 1:15a—”His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace…”                                       [This image of Christ’s feet stand in stark contrast to the feet of clay found in Dan 2:33 & 43 illustrating that the kingdoms of this world are not permanent, nor are they ultimately triumphant—but the kingdom of God will crush all earthly kingdoms; His kingdom is everlasting and is built on a permanent foundation.]

Rev 2:10—”Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.                 [Our suffering here on earth has a limit. We must be faithful through it, even if kills us, if we want to receive the crown of life.]

Rev 2:13—”And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.” [According to tradition, the early martyr Antipas was bishop of Pergamos and was martyred in A.D. 92 by being burned to death in a heated bronze bull because he witnessed before the Roman governor that Jesus is Lord. Whenever Christians advocate obeying Christ over and above the earthly rulers, they will be accused of being traitorous, treasonous, and seditious.]

Rev 3:21—”To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”                                                              [Those who are willing to share in Christ’s trials will share His throne in His Kingdom.]

Rev 5:5-6a—”5 But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’
6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain.”                                     [The way of Jesus is to prevail, conquer, or overcome through suffering and voluntary self-sacrifice. In fact, the central theme of the book of Revelation is victory through sacrifice. When we are faithful witnesses or martyrs, we are victorious even as we are slain like lambs led to the slaughter.]

Rev 5:9-10 [NAS]—”And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.'”                                                         [The slain Lamb’s people that make up His kingdom are dispersed throughout the various kingdoms of the world. Collectively, they constitute the people of God.]

Rev 7:14—”These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”                                                          [Coming thru the tribulation, they were overcomers.]

Rev 12:10-11—”Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”                                                                                                   [Notice that the accuser was not overcome by overwhelming military force, but by Christ’s self-sacrifice and by the self-sacrifice of the martyrs as well.]

Rev 13:10—”He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”                   [The patience and faith of the saints is that they have suffered these things—not that they themselves have committed these things.]

Rev 14:12, 13—”12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”             [Christians, when persecuted, must exercise patience and the faith that Jesus delivered to His apostles—with labors and good works.]

Rev 19:15a—”Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.”                                                                                                                                                             [Jesus will strike down the nations; therefore it is not wise to align ourselves too closely with them.]

Rev 21:7-8—” 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”                                                                                                  [Only those who overcome, who persist in giving their primary allegiance to God, will inherit the Kingdom. Following Jesus is not for cowards! Those who fall or drift away due to loving the world and not being brave enough to be in the minority because of taking a stand for Christ will miss heaven—same as the murderers. Let us not make the mistake of making an idol out of either “Old Glory” or “the republic for which it stands”. We are to have one religion—not two or more. No matter how hard we try to pass it off as being so, the popular “God and country” religion is not N.T. Christianity.]

Rev 22:14-15—”Blessed are those who do His [Jesus’] commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”                                                                                                                                               [In this church age, we must do Jesus’ commandments, not only to blessed, but in order to eat of the tree of life. Let us prefer Jesus’ commandments over the commandments, expectations, and teachings of men. Let us beware of becoming murderers and idolaters by way of devotion to an earthly kingdom.]

In Conclusion

The New Wine that we are called to drink savors of a suffering love for one’s enemies. The N.T. breathes a spirit of non-retaliation throughout its pages. It calls us to imitate Jesus—to go forth as sheep, ready to do good, to patiently endure persecution and to live separately and differently from the world around us. Shall we desire the Old Wine? Shall we desire a king like all the nations around us? We have our King—let us follow Him into the bosom of the Father, living as aliens and strangers amongst the Gentiles until we arrive at our final destination. Let’s not give our hearts to a kingdom of the world, but let us seek first the kingdom of God!

What is the Historical Evidence? Is There Any Evidence That There Were Some Christians in the Military During the Ante-Nicene Period? Yes!

Does This Mean the Church Approved of It? No!

Pages and pages of quotations could be given that would clearly demonstrate that the teaching authorities of the pre-Nicene church were universally opposed to war (and violence in general), worldliness and to Christians holding positions of governmental or political power. However, it is also a hard fact that there were some Christians in the military during this time frame. The reason for this seeming contradiction becomes clear when we consider the following two quotations.

Hippolytus [c. 200 A.D.]: “A soldier of the civil authority must be taught not to kill men and to refuse to do so if he is commanded, and to refuse to take an oath. If he is unwilling to comply, he must be rejected for baptism. A military commander or civic magistrate who wears the purple must resign or be rejected. If an applicant [for baptism] or a believer seeks to become a soldier, he must be rejected, for he has despised God.” (Apostolic Tradition 16)

Tertullian [c. 211 A.D.]: “Of course, if faith comes later and finds someone already occupied with military service, their case is different. For example, there is the instance of those whom John [the Baptist] received for baptism, and of those most faithful centurions. I mean the centurion whom Christ approved, and the centurion whom Peter instructed [i.e., Cornelius]. Yet, at the same time, when a man has become a believer and faith has been sealed [i.e., they have been baptized], there must be either an immediate abandonment of the military office, which has been the course of many—or else all sorts of quibbling will have to be resorted to in order to avoid offending God. And such quibbling is not allowed even outside of military service.” (ANF, Vol. 3, p. 100)

Thus, we can see that although the ante-Nicene church did not allow people who were already Christians to join the military, the church (at least towards the end of the second century) allowed soldiers who had been converted while in the military to remain in it so long as they did not use the sword, take oaths, or take part in idolatrous practices. I have also found some early evidence that indicates that there were some Christians who, going against the Church’s teaching on the subject, were in positions of governmental or political power. But simply because exceptions can be found does not mean that the teaching authorities within the Church approved of them. It is clear that they did not approve, but rather, some church members just stubbornly chose to ignore what their church leaders taught on this issue. But the Church leaders knew that these types of occupations were in conflict with the teachings of Christ—and they still are today. In these occupations, there is too much pressure to compromise and to set aside the teachings of Christ in favor of “doing your duty” to the empire or the nation-state. The bottom-line question is this: To which kingdom does your ultimate allegiance belong? I mean, if Jesus’ focus was not on the political or military issues of the nation-state or earthly kingdom in which He was residing during His earthly sojourn in the flesh, should we make those types of things our focus despite the example that He has given us? Let us guard our hearts. Let us prefer to give our allegiance to the kingdom of God instead of giving it to a certain version of the kingdom of the world.

[1] Sacred means something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or the worship of deity; or it can mean something that is worthy of religious veneration—something holy, not secular or profane. In other words, when a person speaks of something being desecrated, this is a clue that they believe it to be something that is sacred, or having to do with worship or religious veneration.

[2] The Greek word used here for “violence” is diaseio. It means to shake thoroughly or to do violence to. When used figuratively it means to intimidate.

[3] Jonathan Dymond, An Inquiry into the Accordancy of War (London: Philadelphia Friends’ Book Store, 1892), 36.

[4] According to my dictionary, idolaters are those who commit idolatry. Idolatry is defined as either the worship of a physical object as a god, or as an immoderate attachment or devotion to something. If something is idolatrous it has the character of idolatry—and the dictionary gives this example of how the word “idolatrous” might be used in a sentence:  “<the religion of idolatrous nationalism>”. [information taken from Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary]

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