Does Freedom Need Our Wielded Sword?

By admin On September 22, 2016 Under Christian Issues

freedomEver since the Israelites stripped the swords from the bodies of the Egyptians whose corpses washed up on the banks of the Red Sea men have felt like they needed—through force of arms—to defend God and freedom against evil. Yet history has proven this course of action wrong even though many today believe that we must defend God and freedom through war.

Did Jesus Wield A Sword?

The actions of Jesus when He came to earth and the history of Christianity since then have shown that freedom needs no violent defense. Jesus is our example, and He came to earth at at time when freedom and goodness were at record lows. Indeed, before He came, God’s people tried again and again, through force of arms, to obtain freedom. They failed at every hand.

Did Jesus support their course of action when He came? No. Jesus had the power to do so, but He did not use force of arms to defeat evil. Then what did He do instead? He allowed evil to kill Him. He died at the hands of the enemy. God triumphed though apparent defeat—through death.

More Effective Than A Sword

Did this change after Jesus returned to heaven? No. Christians were slaughtered in droves after He left. It wasn’t battle or weapons of war that gave power to Christianity. It was the attempted genocide of Christians and the mass witness of their selfless love and dying that proliferated them all over the globe, eventually procuring their civil freedom.

This has happened again and again. The death of Christians is seed. Take a Godless country like China, where Christians have been brutalized for decades. What is the result? Today, at over 100 million, Christians outnumber their communist commrades and are changing the face of China. What did the Master say? “Except a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” The blood of Christians is the seed that conquers evil.

God Showcases the Weakness of the Sword

So though it seems to us like good needs our wielded sword to overcome the overwhelming citadels of evil in this world, it’s simply not true. The philosopher Peter Kreeft explains:

The weakness of evil is that it cannot conquer weakness. No matter how much power evil has, it is always defeated by the free, loving renunciation of power. It can be defeated in Middle Earth as it was on Calvary: by martyrdom. Scripture’s image of the last battle between good and evil is a battle between two mythical beasts: Arnion, the meek little lamb, and Therion, the terrible dragon beast. And the lamb overcomes the Beast by a secret weapon: His own blood.

Evil is limited to power; it cannot use weakness. It is limited to pride; it cannot use humility. It is limited to inflicting suffering and death; it cannot use suffering and death. It is limited to selfishness; it cannot use selflessness. But good can. (The Philosophy of Tolkien)

Therein lies the invincible power of good.

Not The Death of the Enemy

The ineffectiveness of our guns and swords is not a very popular position because we have come to believe that our violent battles against the forces of evil have been effective in preserving our freedom and defending God’s cause. However, let’s be clear. Though it saddens us that so many of our brave young men have fallen in war defending “God’s cause,” let’s not be confused about what is going on here.

It is death that wins the victory, but not the death of the “enemy,” however evil. It’s the death of those who would rather die themselves than see even their enemy—and especially their enemy—die.

The Most Powerful Weapon

As Christians we know this is true, because it’s by our death that we win the war against the evil within ourselves. There is no sword we can wield that can kill the enemy within us, for our internal foe dies when we are crucified with Christ and who can crucify themselves? We might manage to get one wrist nailed to the cross, but then who will nail the other? So it’s true. No action but our consent to surrender and die can can bring freedom to our hearts—or to our world.

It is only by our death then, figuratively and literally, that love and freedom can come into our world. Our beloved fallen in our wars against evil may, indeed, have battled successfully in defense of freedom, but they did so with their lives, not with their guns. No Christian surrenders his or her life without effect, because surrendering our lives is the most powerful weapon the we can wield in the battle against the enemy.


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