Dear beloved: There is much discussion at this hour and season in our country, about the threat that ISIS (Islamic State) presents to this country, and what does the Bible say about our authority and responsibility to defend ourselves. While I can respect those who take a pacifist position, I do not hold that position for myself, nor do I recommend it for the United States at this time. What does the Bible say about our authority to pick up our sword and defend ourselves?
In Luke 22:35, Jesus is giving instructions to His disciples prior to His death on the cross, and eventual resurrection. He was preparing them for a time of persecution and great trial; He knew that for them to go out and preach the gospel in a hostile world, would expose them to great danger in many ways. v35 And He said to them, "When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?" So they said, "Nothing." v36 Then He said to them, "But now, he who has money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." What Jesus was saying was that prior to His death on the cross, they had no need for a defensive weapon such as a sword, primarily because the message they were speaking to their followers was not offensive; but after the cross, the message would be offensive, and they would be in danger as they traveled to preach the gospel to those who did not know Jesus. The sword was not to be used as an offensive weapon, but to be used as a defensive weapon against robbers, wild beasts, and others who would attack out of hatred for the gospel messengers.
In Romans chapter 13, the Apostle Paul lays out the ground rules and parameters by which government can operate to protect its citizens, and the citizens response under the authority of the governing authorities. In verse 1 Paul says, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. v2 Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. v3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. v4 For he (the civil authority) is God's minister to you for good, but if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
Beloved, if God has given the civil authority the responsibility to avenge wrath on those who practice evil, I believe that includes those who practice evil and present a threat to us from outside our borders. We have a right, and an obligation, to not only defend ourselves, but also to help those in danger of being beheaded, raped, killed, and in many other ways suffering at the hands of evil. Those who are practicing evil in the middle east and Europe, are anxiously waiting and plotting to do the same within our borders. It is our responsibility to protect this nation from these barbaric, demonic killers. As Paul states, the authorities who are practicing righteousness are ministers of God, and it is justifiable for them to take vengeance against perpetrators of evil.
We should never jump into war without much prayer and consideration of all the factors; however, I believe at this time it is the appropriate response to the evil threat we see before us. Pray for our President, the Congress, and the military men and women who will be asked to sacrifice the most in defense against evil. Pray also for Muslims all over the world, that they would have a Saul of Tarsus experience and come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, that they will not be deceived by the hatred and lies of the enemy. May God bless you as you pray, in Christ, Jim