In his 2006 State of the Union address to Congress and the Citizens of the United States, President Bush made this the following statements with regards to the U.S. military involvement among the rest of the world:
“The only way to protect our people, the only way to secure the peace, the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership — so the United States of America will continue to lead.”
He goes on to say, “There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat.”
And finally our President speaks of our country by saying:
“…We must never give in to the belief that America is in decline, or that our culture is doomed to unravel. The American people know better than that. We have proven the pessimists wrong before — and we will do it again.”
I find these comments strangely interesting, considering that our President is a confessed Christian along with many of us who also live in the U.S.
I thought as Christians we believe that Jesus is our only security and peace. In fact I thought as Christians we believe Jesus showed true honor and peace by retreat and refusing to fight when the Roman soldiers came to arrest him and execute him. I thought as Christians we believe that every nation is in decline, even our own, and that the only everlasting nation/kingdom is the Kingdom of God.
I guess not every Christian believes that.
This post is not about whether the use and support of warfare and military power by a Christians is ever justified. This post is about the idolatry many Christians who live in the U.S. have bought into. Is our security and peace dependent on a government and its military force?
The Apostle Paul believed that Jesus had died and arose from death and therefore death had no more mastery over Jesus. Furthermore, Paul believed death had no more mastery over any Christian because Christians too had died with Jesus and therefore have also been raised into the resurrected life of Jesus (Romans 6.8-10). The death and resurrection of Jesus changed the reality of the world. Through Jesus death was conquered and therefore brought about the ultimate peace to those who believe in Jesus.
Because Paul believed in Jesus, Paul also believed death held no mastery over him (or any other Christian). This is why Paul can say in his letter to the Philippian church, a letter he wrote in prison:
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1.20-21, TNIV)
Paul knew he was facing a date with the executioner for being a Christian. However, the possibility of martyrdom did not scare Paul, it did not threaten his sense of security and peace because Paul knew that dying in this world simply meant gaining the reward of eternal life with Jesus Christ. Now that is true freedom!
Jesus Christ is the only true freedom and it is only in Jesus that a person can obtain true freedom. It is an idolatrous illusion to be a Christian and yet buy into the notion that our freedom, our hope, our security, and our peace is dependent on our government or any other nation/state.
I am sure that our President means well but he is wrong, dead wrong. And so are the Christians who believe that our freedom is dependent on any person or people besides Jesus Christ. When we Christians finally realize that we have been set free in Christ, we then, like Paul, can be free to live each and every day in complete surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and stop worrying whether some other nation, people group, etc… is going to persecute us. We can do this just like Paul did along with the rest of the Christians in the first three centuries and just like many other Christians today who live a “free” life under a tyrannical regime.