Monday, December 3, 2007

The Second Meditation on Matthew 5:38

Here is some more thoughts I had on Matt.5:38

Do you realize that this text was used by a pacifist monk who Luther described as "letting the lice nibble at him and refused to kill any of them on account of this text, maintaining that he had to suffer and could not resist evil!" It was this text that Gandhi built his doctrine of Pacifism on! True Pacifism rejects the military forces, the police forces, and all other "evil resisting forces of the state." I think I finally see the tension!!!!!!! Check it out:
We are called to peace as individuals, but God uses governments (nations) to execute His wrath, and as members of society and of a nation, some of us are servants of God's wrath, others of us are not. Therein, lies the tension, WE ARE ALL CITIZENS AND INDIVIDUALS. Therefore, we must all struggle with where we fit within these Biblical truths.

I contend that Gandhi and all Pacifist reject these truths:

1. God uses nations (because He is sovereign over them) to exercise wrath on badness

ROMANS 13:3-6

for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation,
13:4 for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer. 13:5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath of the authorities3 but also because of your conscience.4 13:6 For this reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities5 are God’s servants devoted to governing.6

2. God uses Christians and unbelievers alike in government to execute judgment to suppress evil, this execution of judgment on the wicked is a beautiful picture of God's judgment on all wickedness. Killing is necessary here. See Romans 13 again.

3. Without resistance, this world would be a chaotic place and Jesus holds EVERYTHING TOGETHER (Hebrews 1), even the civility of civilization by individual peace and governmental killing (resistance, retribution, violence). This is where the truth of Exodus comes from (an eye for an eye). I think in Matthew 5:38, Jesus was correcting the traditions of men (the rabbi's were applying it to individual relationships, when it was clearly written to Israel's judges), and He was not correcting the Law of Moses to exercise fair judgment for crimes (this is God's way). The payment for sin is death (nothing worse, like condemning your whole family for your sins, and nothing better, sins cannot be forgiven without retribution) This is why Jesus was sent to be the retribution for our sins, so we do not have to die an eternal death.

Grace and PEACE to you :)



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