Military Service

Dear Brethren,

Should a Christian join the military and fight for his country?  Since the Scriptures say that we should be subject to the government, do we have a duty to serve if drafted (Romans 13:1)?  Should we help to defend our country against foreign enemies?  King David and ancient Israel fought many battles - are they our example that we should be willing to go to war?  Should a Christian be a conscientious objector?  What if no one was willing to join the armed forces - what would happen in a time of war?  These are difficult questions, and we need to be ready to give an answer of the hope that lies within us (1Peter 3:15).

Our minds tell us that we must rely on our strength and our overwhelming power to vanquish our enemies and deter our foes.  But, God says that it does not work that way.  God says that no king, president or nation is saved by a powerful military.   "There is no king saved by the multitude of a host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength."  (Psalm 33:16 )

It is God, who in His spiritual law, forbids man from purposely taking any human life, directly or indirectly. "You shall not kill, you shall commit no murder."  (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17)  The bearing of military arms is contrary to this fundamental commandment and doctrine of our belief.  Christians, therefore, conscientiously refuse to bear arms.  The taking of any human life, in any way, is an extremely serious affront to God.  Christians do not take part in killing; not in wars of aggression or defense, and not in abortions, or euthanasia.

"Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."  (1John 3:15)

Our faith is that God is our ever-present defender - and that He will fight our battles for us. "Fear you not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you to day: ...The Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."  (Exodus 14:13-14)  God is telling us to stand down, and let Him be our help and shield (Psalm 144:2).  We either believe God by taking Him at His word, or we fight our own battles without God's help - it is up to us.  It simply boils down to a matter of faith - faith, that God will do what He says.  Do we totally believe that if we put our trust in God - he will deliver us, save us, and protect us?

>If drafted into the military, or compelled by the government to enlist, we refuse to serve in any capacity that would violate the spirit of the sixth commandment against murder.  The government refers to this as conscientious objection.  Conscientious objectors are against all forms of war and military action.  Conscientious objection to war requires the faith that God's Will is being done when we refuse to engage the enemy.  We must be totally convinced that it is wrong to support war or take part in it.  Our Christian duty to God is of a higher nature than our duty arising from man's government.  Christian conscientious objectors are often ridiculed as cowards, but God applauds the heroism required in obedience to Him.

Because it is God who sets up leaders and rulers, not only do we not fight wars, we also do not participate in voting in political elections, or take part in jury duty.  "God removes kings, and sets up kings."  (Daniel 2:20-21)  Speaking of leaders and rulers, Paul said, here is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."  (Romans 13:1)

Some people will draw the conclusion that we are not patriotic, do not love our country, and do not support our government, and are not good citizens. Quite the contrary!  We are definitely subject to our government and its laws (Romans 13).  We pay our taxes.  We pray for leaders of the government, and honor our leaders.  Paul put it well: I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”  (1Timothy 2:1-3)

We must remember that our primary citizenship is in heaven. "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."  (John 18:36)  "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds."  (2Corinthians 10:3-4)

"Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."  (Romans 12:17-21)


Sermon:  "Military Service