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Sermon #3336

Christian and The State (3) - The Christian & War

A Sermon on Romans 13:1-7


Romans 13:1-7 ESV KJV
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to …

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Sermon Description

During times of international conflict, the national conversation inevitably moves to the legitimacy of war or the pursuit of peace. Christian conversations are no different. As those who acknowledge this is God’s world and are sincerely concerned about the well-being of their neighbors, Christians are called to engage the issue by bringing God’s word to bear. Historically Christians have supported (as a last result) wars that can legitimately be called “just,” while in the past century there has risen a competing position called Christian pacifism. In this sermon on Romans 13:1–7 titled “Christian and the State (3): The Christian and War,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues to draw out the implications of this passage by asking the question: what is the Christian position on fighting in war? While Dr. Lloyd-Jones is concerned about answering this question with regard to the individual Christian, he also engages the overall pacifist position in depth. He leaves no stone unturned as he examines the best arguments of pacifists and offers extensive critique of the position. While the Christian should always reject nationalism or jingoism, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says as a matter of Christian freedom that one is allowed to partake in a war if they are satisfied their country is pursing war as a last resort and for a righteous or just cause. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones navigates this hot-button issue and seeks to bring biblical clarity.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The Christian's position on pacifism arises in two main ways: when their state goes to war with another state, and when there is a rebellion or revolution in their state.

  2. Some argue that fighting and taking life is always wrong. However, God commanded the Israelites to go to war and kill in the Old Testament. Rejecting the Old Testament is rejecting the Bible and Jesus.

  3. Jesus never told soldiers to leave their occupation. There is no prohibition on Christians being soldiers.

  4. Turning the other cheek and loving your enemies (Matthew 5) refers to individuals, not states. Individuals should not retaliate, but states have a duty to restrain evil.

  5. Fighting in a war does not necessarily mean hating your enemies. You can oppose what someone stands for without hating them personally.

  6. Pacifists often exhibit more hatred and bitterness than soldiers. Pacifism does not guarantee a loving spirit.

  7. Jesus' death cannot be used to argue for pacifism. His death was unique and for the atonement of sins, not an example of passive resistance.

  8. For a state to go to war can be part of its duty to restrain evil, an extension of its role to punish wrongdoers. But war should only be used as a last resort, and the cause must be just.

  9. Jingoism, imperialism, and selfish wars are wrong. But pacifism is not always right either. Both extremes are wrong.

  10. A Christian can refuse to fight in a war, but should not say all Christians must be pacifists. A Christian who does fight should not despise pacifists. It depends on conscience and circumstances.

  11. The same principles apply to revolutions. If the cause is just, a Christian can participate, but they must consider the arguments around pacifism.

  12. Errors of pacifism: Expecting non-Christians to act like Christians (Pelagianism); Wrong view of Scripture, the gospel, sin, and the state's role.

  13. The relationship between church and state is the next topic to consider.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.