When Does God Sanction War?

Article Index

(© istockphoto/small_frog; shipov)

Coming ashore in Pusan, Korea, in June of 1950, U.S. soldiers saw the desperate plight of the Korean people who had been driven from their homes and villages by the murderous army from North Korea. Most realized right away that their presence and sacrifice there was justifiable, but for reasons that were different from those of the politicians.

In Vietnam, soldiers entering the hamlets and villages where the Viet Cong had brutalized the local inhabitants and robbed them of any hope for a future of self-determination knew that fighting for these people was justifiable. They were warriors with little regard for politics. Furthermore, they knew that the media and the academics had their own agenda, and that it wouldn't allow them to see the just side of the conflict.

Remembering the Biblical Picture

As stated earlier, war is a biblical concept. It began in the Garden of Eden when the serpent tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. That was the original example of the war between good and evil. It was spiritual warfare.

That war continues, and every warrior has a strong awareness of the realities of this underlying struggle.

Myriad wars are described in the Bible, many of which were initiated at God's direction to bring justice or to fulfill His promises to His people, the Jews. Stories of warriors and warfare are prominent in Scripture. And God routinely used warriors to do great things for His kingdom in addition to fighting wars.

God has called men to war repeatedly. Moses had to make war on the Amalekites at Rephidim as he led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt (Ex. 17). When Joshua stood on the banks of the Jordan River and looked into the Promised Land, he was assured by God of the victory over the enemy that was waiting for him. God exhorted him to "be strong and courageous" as he led the men of Israel into battle against the current inhabitants of the land (see Josh. 1:1-9).

Later, Gideon was selected by God to lead 300 men in a preemptive strike against the Midianites (Judg. 7). Even later, the psalm-writing and mighty King David was a great warrior who fought many battles to protect his people and secure their borders. God showed him favor in war, and even called him a man after His own heart.

Those who choose to characterize Jesus as a pacifist are entitled to that view, but I for one see Jesus as the ultimate warrior who makes clear that we must fight for justice.

One especially revealing verse in this regard is Luke 22:36, in which Jesus directed His disciples to arm themselves in preparation for building His church. Bible scholars have tried for centuries to explain what Jesus really meant in this verse. Some insist that He was using a metaphor and didn't really mean "sell your cloak and buy a sword." But I believe He meant exactly what He said—buy a sword.

He wasn't directing them to build His church with the sword; He was simply communicating that in building the church, they could expect to encounter physical battles and would have to be prepared. Although their battle would be primarily spiritual, there would be times when their spiritual enemy would be manifest in a physical threat. Remember that all the disciples were eventually martyred for their faith and obedience.

Jesus was, is and will be a warrior, and He expects His followers to be the same. But His warriors must fight for justice and to overcome evil—and never for revenge or personal gain.

Make no mistake: I am not advocating that readers grab their AR-15s and join a militia that is bent on fighting a domestic insurgency. Our founders gave us what we need to peacefully change our culture, environment and government. The U.S. Constitution allows us to elect our own leaders. It is called the "consent of the governed." When I talk about "fighting" for justice, I am referring to being willing to stand on principle. It means having the courage to stand publicly for what you believe.

How many leaders have you seen who compromise on their fundamental beliefs? Either they don't know what they believe or they lack the courage to stand for what they believe. Compromise on principles is not an option. Political correctness is the result of a lack of courage, plain and simple. So decide what you believe and how far you are willing to go to defend your beliefs. The Bible says, "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all" (Isa. 7:9, NIV). Does your faith matter to you? Are you willing to stand firm and defend it?


It's said that you never hear the bullet that hits you. Well, that could be true, but I wasn't so sure. I was in a UH-60 Black Hawk, and the noise from the rotor blades was drowning out the guns on the ground that were shooting at us. When the .50-caliber rounds slammed into my chest and shoulder, I knew I was hit pretty hard. Pain set in quickly after a brief period of numbness, and I began to lose a substantial amount of blood.

Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective