I hear a lot of people saying, “there is no right answer” to the gun control issue. Yet, as a Christian, I believe there is an answer to every issue. You can find answers given by God in His word (aka the B-I-B-L-E). The issue isn’t that there isn’t a right answer, it’s that it takes digging into the Word to find the answer – which requires study, wisdom, and understanding. Here is my attempt at discovering a Bible-based answer to the growing call for banned guns in America.
*You can peruse my study notes after the blog, feel free to give your insight*
In just one generation of humanity, murder entered the scene; by the 18th generation, we read about the first recorded war. In Genesis, we find that after the fall of Adam, things spiraled out of control revealing that the sin nature causes humanity to be inherently evil though it is seeking to be inherently good (something unachievable without the acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice).
There is nothing “new” under the sun. This includes mass murder.
We know from Paul that the Law was enacted to set the parameters for sin and boundaries for righteousness. Again, without the sacrifice of Jesus, humanity could never abide by the righteous standard. God, being awesome, gave instructions for offerings and rituals to atone for sin – something that was never supposed to sustain mankind forever. He wanted us to experience the same freedom Adam and Eve did in the garden.
The Old Testament (hereafter referred to as OT) is God working within a culture of sin bringing His will into it. The New Testament is God-in-flesh radically changing the culture by His will. In the world he is restricted, he needs believers to bring “Heaven to earth”. Are there mass murders in heaven? Well, no. Are there guns in heaven? Probs not. However, the means of killing isn’t the issue. Cain killed Able with a rock, before guns, there were swords, lances, spears, and bows and arrows. A desperate person can use just about anything to bring about death (including one’s own body). Where there are no guns, there will always be something else because people who live by their sin nature, commit sin.
“Do not kill” is one of the ten commandments. In fact, that word encompasses just about any type of killing you can think of including accidental. There were grave consequences for killing laid out in the Law. It is not God’s heart –will – for people to take the lives of others. A man who killed a thief in his home at night was not held culpable, but a man who killed a thief in his home in daylight was. God’s heart is not for violence to be the believers (or any’s) first resort. If there is another way, take it.
There are plenty examples in the OT of the Israelites having to defend themselves from extinction. Esther was placed in a position of power to enact a law that would legally allow her people to defend themselves from slaughter. To prevent genocide, the Hebrews fought back (this was prior to the Law, but doesn’t change God’s heart on the matter). David’s sin brought consequences on his house “the sword will not depart from it”, and his life was full of violence up until the day he died. Jesus rebuked Peter for drawing his sword and initiating violence – something that had to happen to fulfill prophecy concerning Jesus (Isaiah 53:12). With all the war in the OT, one would think we have a schizophrenic God, but we don’t. God is just. There were judgments for sin taking place all through the OT. Now, because of Jesus, final judgment is being held back (for our own sakes, Romans 2:4) until we die. Though we may face consequences for our sin, we don’t have final judgment for them (and the Christian’s judgment is different than the unbeliever). And so, we look to Jesus, our perfect theology to help navigate today’s violence.
The bottom line: Christians should be acting like Christ.
In a five-mile radius, there are 25 “churches” in relation to Westerville, OH– if the average church has seventy people, that’s 1750 people (not including children) who should ACT LIKE JESUS. Who should be DOING what he DID. If, in a city the size of Columbus, Christians actually advanced the kingdom like Jesus did (and then his disciples did)– what would Columbus look like?
Christians should be in every arena of society from government to special needs classes. We need to be counselors, we need to be doctors, we need to be in psych wards, prisons and rehab centers; we need to be on the police force and in the military (Pfc. Doss, anyone?), we need to be in the highways and byways bringing light into darkness, nipping issues in the bud before they happen.
We see in the OT that it was not a sin to protect the innocent from evil. It was a sin to accuse the innocent of evil-doing, and it was a sin to kill when it wasn’t necessary (so, maybe we should rethink “shooting to kill”). Because of abortion we have taken the most of innocents and reduced their value to “clumps of cells”. When we devalue life in its purest form, how can we be surprised that life across the board is no longer valued? When we see movies full of cold-blooded murder (brushed off as collateral damage), video games encouraging rape and crime, TV shows pushing the boundaries for the “shock factor”, how can we be surprised by the rise in mental illness, violence, and emotions in a state of stupor? It is just humanity seeking value but only finding ways to treat the symptoms, and when that doesn’t work there are disastrous results.
The 2nd amendment is to prevent a tyrannical government from coming to power (such as Hilter’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, and Jong-un’s N. Korea). Meaning, guns used in any other form to cause harm is not in accordance with the 2nd amendment. American laws prohibit murder, and even accidental killings are punished (manslaughter). Getting rid of the 2nd amendment creates vulnerability and inspires evil to take action. The Christian, however, is held to a higher standard. We know that our fight is not against flesh and blood and that our weapons of warfare are far more effective in preventing evil than a physical weapon.
For argument’s sake, if America banned guns, would the Christian go to war against her own government in order to get them back? Or would Christians turn to God for wisdom and protection (as the persecuted church around the world does)? Would refusing to give up their guns and plunging head-long into a civil dispute be God’s will for his Church? Or would she be an example of how to act? If violence isn’t a God-approved answer, what would the Christian do? Your answer to this may reveal something about your heart that you otherwise would not be confronting.
Violence in this natural world will never bring a person to salvation. Passionate violence against the kingdom of darkness will. And that is what it boils down to: the eternity of the individual. It isn’t a sin to uphold the 2nd amendment and it wouldn’t be a sin to repeal it (shocker!).
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord…do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21
We have established – by the Word of God (which doesn’t change) – that violence and killing is not God’s will for the earth. Peaceful, non-violent activism can and has created change in the earth (MLK for example versus Malcom X, his violent counterpart).
So, what would Jesus’ position on banning guns be? He addressed the laws of the land to his followers encouraging them to adhere to the governing authorities. Again, He worked His will into the culture since we know that in a perfect world, there would be no violence against each other by any means. We live in a constitutional republic – for the people, by the people – which means we get a SAY in what our government authorizes. And so, through this republic, we can uphold the 2nd amendment for the purpose of protecting ourselves from tyranny. However, bearing arms does not give us permission to kill nor does it give us permission to bicker amongst ourselves (and to unbelievers) from a place of hate or indifference. Those committing crimes will continue to commit crimes regardless of the law – it is in their sin nature to be lawbreakers.
We need to care more about the people than the problem. If an issue, an amendment, or an OBJECT, becomes more important to you than the lives of the men and women whom Jesus DIED FOR, it is time for a heart change. Instead of hearing a teenager call for gun control, hear their fear of entering a school vulnerable to potentially unstable persons intent to harm. Speak to them from a place of compassion and love, they are just scared and looking for answers. Give them Spirit inspired conclusions IN LOVE.
Instead of blindly calling people “Trumptards” and “libtards”, perhaps meet them on a place of common ground – “Yes, I agree, something needs to change. I understand your concern. I’m concerned too.” Instead of listing all the reasons why you are right, pause and listen.
And, at the end of the day, love people more than you love being right. At the end of the day, vote for your beliefs. At the end of the day, ask God his opinion on matters that concern our country and get His perspective. At the end of the day, the Spirit of Wisdom (hopefully) dwells within you and can give you an answer others haven’t thought of.
Christians cannot boast that God is love, and use their actions and words to showcase a God of impatience, intolerance, and pride when someone disagrees with them.
Be a BIG PICTURE Christian and see the tumultuous landscape of our country as a massive invitation to bring light, truth, and love into the storm. There will never be world peace, but there is, already, peace on earth; that peace dwells within you as you house the very Spirit of God.
And who knows, if you begin to be like Christ everywhere you go, you may just intercept a plan meant for evil and turn it into a testimony. Don’t despise the power of interaction. That is where change happens, in the throes of battle; on the front-lines, in the MIDST of people. We need to be in contact with darkness, otherwise light cannot consume it. Your Facebooks, Instagrams, Twitter, and the rest should be beams of light in the darkness, but that shouldn’t be your only outlet – your entire life, every bit, should be demonstrating the Gospel.
Jesus defended himself with the Word of God, never violence.
Paul defended himself, but never did he do so by comprising the Gospel from which he lived.
Steven didn’t defend himself with violence though his life was at stake.
Could you love another person so much that you would be willing to die in their stead because you knew that your eternity was secure while theirs’s was in danger of hell? If we can establish the answer to that question, we can approach gun control with clarity.
My conclusion is this:
- Killing, in any form, is not God’s will.
- Christians are not pacifists.
- Protecting yourself from evil is not a sin.
- Our energies should be just as diligent in spiritual battle as they are in the natural (this is where landscapes are changed).
- Christians should follow the Spirit in EVERY situation and trust Him with their lives.
- It is not a sin to try and change legislation, it is a sin to disobey established legislation (unless legislation is immoral according to the word of God).
- God is just. Trust Him.
Thanks for reading!
Cain and Able, by rock
MO: Pride/Jealousy (2nd generation)
Cause of Flood
“Every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” Genesis 6
“Corrupt and full of violence” – 6:9 (9 generations removed from Adam)
Consequences of Adultery (even unknowingly)
First Recorded War
Genesis 14 (ten generations removed from Noah, 18 generations removed from Adam)
First Record of Sexual Immorality
Sodom and Gomorrah Gen 18 and 19 (18 generations removed from Adam)
“…play the judge!” – because he was offering women instead of men, but they weren’t interested in NATURAL sexual relations – and they knew it was wrong.
POINT: In the first book of the Bible, we are faced with sin and consequences of sin. As Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
How did God deal with it sin?
- Laid out the LAW
- He set the parameters for righteousness in the OT
- Laws out offerings
- He presents a way out of sin’s consequence(s) through sacrifces in the OT
- Sends Jesus
- The end-game that destroys sins powers and equips the believer to walk in righteousness through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus
MURDER – Genesis 20:13
A primitive root properly to dash in [pieces] that [is] kill (a human [being]) especially to murder: – put to [death] [kill] )ma-) slay ([er]) murder (-er)
To murder, slay, kill
(Qal) to murder, slay
slayer (intentional) (participle) (subst)
(Niphal) to be slain
to murder, assassinate
murderer, assassin (participle)(subst)
(Pual) to be killed
The OT is putting His will into the culture vs. the NT, which is changing the culture according to His will
“His will is that none shall perish.” 2 Peter 2:9
“He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
Jesus’ View (Perfect Theology)
“But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag: and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written:’ and he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” Luke 22:36
Transgressor – also meaning rebel. Jesus was counted among the rebels, because Peter (and we can assume the other sword owner unsheathed his as well) drew their swords to fight against Jesus’ arrest (flimsy, but legal).
“Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Matthew 26:52 Jesus’ true attitude towards violence.
No force, earthly or heavenly, stopped the scriptures from being fulfilled.
- Did not defend himself with violence. Up until his capture, he defended himself with the Word.
- Did not defend himself with violence. Defended himself with the Gospel, knowledge of his rights as a Roman citizen.
No record of disciples defending themselves with violence.
Old Testament said,“eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” yet Jesus negated that by giving a higher standard of operation, putting the person before the offense and encouraging non-violent activism.
Do not resist an evil doer.
Don’t respond in kind.
Turn the other cheek.
Do not meet personal offense, with personal offense.
Give him your coat.
Settle the matter before court.
One mile, go two.
Go above and beyond as a representation of Christ’s nature.
Give to the one who asks, don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Be generous on every occasion, turning every scheme into an opportunity for charity (God’s nature) to work.
If you enemy is hungry, feed him, if your enemy is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing you’ll heap burning coals on his head.”
Burning coals: were carried in pots on the head to share warmth on cold nights. This is a good thing!
Jesus was an activist. He was CONSTANTLY acting for the Kingdom and against the darkness. He was not drifting through life, he was actively pursuing his purpose (ultimately to die, but leaving an example for all to follow).
Christians should not be pacifists.
Moses wasn’t punished for killing the Egyptian, however, he was punished from entering the Promised Land because of his disobedience.
“Obedience is better than sacrifice.” 1 Samuel 15:22
What commands did God give us to obey?
- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- The Great Commission
The Christian response to violence: there is a better way. The Christian response to self-defense: defend yourself, but not at the expense of the Gospel.
Shoot to kill? Is there any instance in which kill/murder is allowed?
Even in the OT you were punished for killing a thief in daylight.
According to the GOSPEL, there is no free-pass for killing someone. It is a sin that required the shed blood of Jesus to receive forgiveness.