“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds…” ~2nd Corinthians 10:3-4
Gun laws… The topic of many heated debates. However, these debates are not only isolated to politicians. We also find many Christians, nowadays, fighting for their gun rights. Many feel that the government is attempting to strip the public of self-defense, thus, feuds escalate. But, what does the Bible say about such things? Let’s take a closer look…
Study God’s Word Carefully
As the old saying goes, “There are two sides to every coin.” Of course, the Bible never mentions guns specifically, since the weapons of that time consisted of swords, slingshots, clubs, bows, and such. However, let us look at the underlying principles of the matter – weaponry. Could a person search the Bible and find instances of weapons being used? Yes. Could a person search scripture and find the use of weaponry being discouraged? Yes. Since it is absolutely impossible for the Bible to contradict itself, one must look at each specific example in light of the surrounding verses. One must also understand how certain things shifted, in some aspects, from the Old Testament [Mosaic Law] to the New Testament. However, let us remember that the moral aspects of the Law in the Old Testament are still binding in principle – such as “Thou shalt not kill…” (Ex. 20:13).
When studying scripture, we must look at a few things. Are we evenly paralleling the scripture to our own situation to gain understanding on God’s Will? Or, are we twisting the scripture (which may be vastly different to our situation) to fit our own desires – or what we’d wish for it to say? For example, it would be unfair to parallel a scripture where men were at war with weapons, to our current situation of those petitioning for the right to carry a concealed weapon to their place of business. Again, let’s be careful in our study of God’s word and not make unfair comparisons.
There are battles and wars spoken about in scripture. But, what is God’s view of bloodshed? On the website, biblicalselfdefense.com, some thought-provoking insight is given:
We learn more about God’s view of bloodshed from David. David is a man who loved God and who was loved by God. God raised him up to defend Israel. God sent David to physically fight to defend Israel. When David killed Goliath and Philistines in battles, it was at God’s command. They were righteous killings. Now, with that understanding, let’s look at a few passages:
1 Chronicles 28:3 “But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.'”
1 Chronicles 22:8 “But the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.”
David wants to build a house for the Lord. This is a good desire. But God says, “David, you are disqualified from doing this.” Why? Not because of the murder of Uriah. Not because of his adultery with Bathsheba. It is because of the wars, and because David had “shed much blood upon the earth in My sight.” David had killed men in the sight of God, and that disqualified him from this spiritual service.
But wasn’t David obeying God in engaging in these wars? Yes. Did David sin in shedding this blood? No. But shedding blood is so significant to God that David was unfit to for certain “ministries”.
Life is very precious to God for He breathed into man the breath of life (see Gen. 2:7). He loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die and shed His blood for mankind. This was the most costly, precious, sacrificial gift He could have gave – His blood. (see John 3:16).
Man’s Wars and God’s Wars
If God commands a war and the people are doing battle on his behalf, so be it. But, we must never create our own ‘wars’ to justify bloodshed. In the time of war, scripture often shows of how God’s followers trusted in Him to do battle for them. Also, there is a time and season to everything – even war. Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 makes this so clear by stating there is “a time to kill, and a time to heal”… as well as, “a time of war, a time of peace.”
Here’s something to ponder… Jesus said, “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 [an evil person]: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Of course, this scripture is most likely applicable to those being persecuted for Christ’s sake; however, could it also be teaching us not to take revenge? In Romans 12:19, it states: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
Don’t Trust in Weapons
Ultimately, we find that even the Psalmist did not put his trust in his weapon. In Psalm 44:6-7 he says, “For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. But Thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.”
Also, in Luke 11:21-22 there is given a parable, of sorts, which states: “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” Although this story was told to bring out another point, we can see that weapons, even armor, cannot always be trusted; for there is always a possibility of being overcome by one stronger (or nowadays, one with a faster gun and better aim).
Furthermore, in Matthew 26:51-53, we read of an account when Jesus was about to be taken to be tried and crucified – and how Jesus reacted when one of His followers used weaponry as defense… “And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” In other words we should always look to the Father to protect us and not the sword (or weaponry of any sort); because the ‘sword’ is uncertain and it can fail us. As the aforementioned website so aptly put it, “There is greater protection than swords.”
They’re Not Ready for Heaven…
In a sermon by C. Philip Green (found on Sermon Central’s website) he says:
The movie, The End of the Spear, tells the true story of five missionaries who gave their lives to reach the violent Waodoni tribe in the jungles of Ecuador in the 1950s. Led by Nate Saint, the missionaries were eager to reach the Waodoni people before they all died off from their intertribal warfare and vicious revenge killings.
As Nate prepares for his adventure, his family gathers around him on the dirt airstrip in front of their house. As he kisses his wife goodbye, his son, Steve, looks at the gear in the plane and notices a rifle. Obviously worried, he turns to his father and asks, “If the Waodoni attack, will you use your guns? Will you defend yourselves?”
Nate looks his boy dead in the eye and responds, “Son, we can’t shoot the Waodoni. They’re not ready for heaven. We are.”
Nate Saint understood the fate of the unbeliever as compared to his own fate. He knew he could withstand some temporary pain, but he didn’t want the Waodoni people to experience the eternal pain of hell, at least not before they had a chance to hear the gospel.
The Problem with Guns
“The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence, his soul hateth.” ~Psalm 11:5
Perhaps it is not a sin to merely own a gun; and some innocently enjoy the sport of target shooting. However, what causes an unsettling within my spirit is Christians that cling to their guns, defend them, trust in them, and cherish them – even more than they do the Bible! The problem is with the love of guns, the infatuation with them, the near-worship of them. To me, this is problematic.
More problems that happen with guns are…
*Guns can be turned and used on gun owners.
*It makes people love violence, in a sense – the very thing they are trying to ward off by owning a gun.
*Accidental shootings resulting in injury or death. This could be due to mistaken identity, accidental misfiring of the gun, or a child accessing a gun.
*Guns have a negative connotation with violence. Guns shoot, harm, and kill. It makes people more apt to kill and desensitizes us to violence and the sacredness of human life. Also, guns kill – the Bible tells us not to kill.
*Guns often get into the wrong hands. No matter what gun laws are or aren’t in place, criminals will find ways to obtain guns. Nonetheless, the more guns that are accessible to the public, the greater chance there is of guns getting into the wrong hands. Guns are regularly stolen from people’s homes that have them as self-defense.
*Even if one kills in self-defense against an evildoer, they are snuffing out life – they become a killer (the very type of person they disdained). That person whom they shot dies in their sin, goes to Hell, and has no hope of changing their ways.
Remember, we are not more capable than God to protect ourselves. Of course, we don’t look to die or make foolish decisions that put us in harm’s way. It is only wise to lock the doors at night. But, let’s not live in fear. There is nothing to fear if we are secure in our faith in God; for even if we die, we’d go to be with our Lord – the ultimate goal, anyhow!
Proverbs 3:31 teaches: “Envy thou not the oppressor [a violent man], and choose none of his ways.” Don’t the violent kill? Why then, should the good kill to overcome killers and imitate/envy the evildoers ways? In such case, again, we’d become what we despise. Scripture teaches us to overcome evil with good (see Rom. 12:21).
People nowadays say that it’s not a ‘gun problem but a heart problem’. This is only partially true. Sure, it is a heart problem – as it is wrong for people to desire in their hearts to shoot innocent bystanders. Nonetheless, disarm them and others don’t get killed. So yes, it is also a gun problem. Their darkened heart, as sinful as it may be, does not kill others until they get a gun (or any type of weapon) in their hand.
Scriptures to Ponder
Perhaps, this blog might seem (to some) like it was written with a slant. However, I want to make clear that I strive to base every teaching on scripture. Let me also make clear that I am not condemning those who own a gun to Hell. Nonetheless, it matters not what I think or say – all that matters is what God’s holy Word teaches. Opinions – we all have one; but let’s always look to the Bible for our guidance. Study the Bible and see where God leads you in your decisions and moral stances.
Romans 13:1-4 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” (This is speaking about authorities – perhaps, police officers, etc.)
Romans 3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood… “ (This is referencing the unrighteous; let us not be like them.)
Luke 22:36 “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” (Scripture is not clear exactly why Christ instructed them to buy swords – whether to slay animals or as a defense. However, let’s also remember the other teachings of Christ – those who live by the sword, die by the sword.)
Ephesians 6:10-12 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Video by Pastor David Williams with Jesus Ministries
“Show me one passage of scripture, just one, where any Believer under the New Covenant of the blood of Jesus Christ used a weapon for any reason – any reason – where he was not rebuked for it. Just show me one passage and we’ll end this discussion…” ~Pastor David Williams