Scripture Reading: Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
Summary: The teachings and example of Jesus Christ demonstrate a life of love and nonresistance. Disciples of Christ are called to follow His example and meet evil and injustice with prayer, love, and forgiveness rather than with force and violence. God’s church historically and presently renounces military service .
Definitions: Nonresistance—The policy or practice of not resisting violence or established authority by force, even when tyrannical (dictionary.com).
Pacifism—Refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds (Merriam-Webster).
A. Jeremiah 31:31 A new covenant
B. Micah 4:2-3 God’s people will not learn war any more.
II. Two Kingdoms
A. Philippians 3:20 Citizenship is in Heaven.
B. John 3:3 Kingdom of God entered by spiritual birth.
C. Luke 17:20-21 The Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom (Romans 14:17).
D. John 18:36 Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world.
E. John 17:14-16 Disciples of Christ are in the world but not of it.
F. Hebrews 11:13-16 Strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
G. Ephesians 2:19-20 Fellow citizens with the saints.
III. Teaching of Christ—Law of Love
A. Matthew 22:36-40 Love is the great commandment (Romans 13:9-10).
B. Matthew 5:38-41 Resist not evil
C. Matthew 5:43-48 Instruction on how to love your enemies.
IV. Warfare of the Saints
A. Matthew 26:51-52 Put up thy sword.
B. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 Weapons of the saints are not carnal.
C. Ephesians 6:11-12 Fighting is to be spiritual, not physical.
V. Function of Government
A. Daniel 2:21 God removes and sets up kings (Psalms 75:7).
B. Daniel 4:17 The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men.
C. 1 Peter 2:13-14 Earthly leaders are appointed to punish the evildoers.
D. Romans 13:1-4 Governments are ordained to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil (Jeremiah 25:8-9).
VI. Role of Saints
A. 1 Peter 2:21-24 Called to follow Christ’s example of passivity.
B. 1 Peter 3:9 Saints are not to render evil for evil.
C. 1 Peter 2:13-15 Submit to earthly ordinances and government.
D. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 Pray for all in authority that the saints might lead a quiet and peaceable life.
E. 2 Timothy 2:3-4 Be not entangled with affairs of this life.
F. Romans 12:14-21 Bless them which persecute you. Avenge not yourselves.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps. —1 Peter 2:21