Jesus Christ, Faith, and Freedom

Here’s a bit of a rant, so beware!

Today someone suggested to me that I might one day appreciate the sacrifices made by the American Military and the freedom that such sacrifices provide me with.  So let me clarify a few things about what I believe as a Christian, as one who is trying to follow Jesus and take Holy Scripture seriously.

First, regardless of my convictions about war-making and political violence, I appreciate the sacrifices made by those who serve in the armed forces.  I know a few people who either have or do serve in the military and to my knowledge, all do so for noble reasons.  That is, they choose to serve believing that their service is done so to serve others rather than themselves.  So for that, they have my admiration.  Further more, I believe it is my duty as a Christian to pray for them that they may return home to their families safely and soundly (we should pray the same for the military personnel of all militaries).

But…  Our freedom to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ does not depend one iota on any government and its military, be it American or not.  We need not the sword of the state to live as a faithful disciples but the Spirit of God dwelling within us which “testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children… heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Rom 8.16-17, NIV).   This is so because it is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone which brings liberation from death (Rom 8.18-21; 1 Cor 15.20-26) and overcomes the powers and authorities of this world (Col 2.15).

It was suggested that I just need to exercise some more common sense.  Really?  What is common sense?  Is common sense not the wisdom of this world which God has made foolish through the cross of Jesus (cf 1 Cor 1.18ff)?

To say that our ability as Christians to live as a disciple of Jesus who take Holy Scripture seriously depends on anything in addition to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ makes a mockery out of what God has done in Christ.  Either the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is all sufficient or it’s useless!  If it is all sufficient then it is idolatrous and unfaithfulness to claim we need any person or nation for our procure our life.  If it is not, then the gospel of Jesus Christ is a fraud and all Christians who do not have the political and military support of a nation are to be pitied.  And if this is the case, and it is the case that we Christians do need American political and military support then it might be worth asking how the earliest Christians (and other groups of Christians in subsequent eras of history) were able to live faithfully to Jesus Christ without the political and military support of Rome.

In case you’re wondering why I am so passionate about this…  Well, it is because I swore my allegiance to Jesus Christ alone, as my Lord and Savior, when I confessed my belief in him and surrendered my life to him in the waters of baptism.  That is why…I’m trying to live (and preach) by the faith God has made me a part of.  Nothing more, nothing less!

Thanks for reading.  Leave a comment (or two) if you like and whether you agree or disagree, please remain civil and courteous.

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7 responses to “Jesus Christ, Faith, and Freedom

  1. Totally agree! I might live in the US but I’m no more or less freer than my brothers and sisters in Christ in North Korea.

  2. Makes perfect sense to me!

  3. For an international power to survive, it must convince its citizens of the necessity of military service (or force them to serve). There are several ways this can be done, from idolizing those who serve to raising the specter of death or bondage should the citizenry not serve.

    I’m not surprised to see it in the country as a whole. I’m continually dismayed to see it in the church. Thanks for offering a more biblical view.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  4. Well said. Perhaps the phrase regarding our religious freedoms…… which are God-granted…..not militarily derived, could benefit by a clarifying statement.

    Our democracy, which has at times been defended (not by all wars) simply makes the freedom we have through God, free from excessive persecution and unpleasantries. (Persecution and unpleasantries, history teaches us, sometimes leads to more robust faith and discipleship.) I certainly don’t wish it upon anyone.

    I’m deeply thankful for the privileges and comforts I enjoy, tend to take for granted and am spoiled by….. but the freedom comes from God.

    • Gary,

      I can see your point about clarification regarding a democracy where there is freedom “from excessive persecution and unpleasantries” as you say. Yet what immediate came to my mind was the words of James 1.2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (NIV, ’11). I’m not sure that James would have us view persecution as an unpleasantry but rather as a joyous occasion that leads to the “crown of life” (cf. Js 1.12).

      Now having said that, I know that it would never be easy to see any persecution (or any trial) as a joyous occasion. I’ve never been really persecuted for my faith but I have faced other trials and I know that the counsel of James is easy said than done.

      Any ways, thanks for leaving your comment.

      – Rex

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