How did the Christian walk get tangled up with gun rights and gun ownership? I’ve wondered this before but recently this question has poked me. How does the ‘far right’ conservative Christian justify carrying and using a gun? (And I don’t mean a gun for hunting; I mean a gun for self-protection, a gun for defending one’s family and home).
I can’t imagine Jesus carrying and using a gun for self-defense. Remember Jesus taking the sword from Peter’s hand on the night of His crucifixion? Peter was defending God Himself, God in the flesh. Who or what could be more important to defend than Jesus? Yet, Jesus warned Peter that those who take up the sword often die by that same sword. He took the sword from Peter’s hand and told him not to strike out at the enemy.
How did the Christian come to believe that it is a fundamental human right to take up arms against another human being? Have we forgotten that Jesus Himself said, “If the thief wants your coat, give him your shoes, too.” (Yes, I know. It’s a paraphrase!) And Jesus also declared, “If he strikes you on your cheek, turn your face and offer him the other one.”
So, if Jesus didn’t care to be defended by the sword, why would He approve of one of His followers defending property with a gun? Why would Jesus approve of killing another human being in self-defense?
What does it mean to “share the divine nature?” How is that possible? The author of Hebrews writes of Jesus calling us brothers. Paul writes of us becoming sons of God – and if sons, then heirs of all God possesses, including the divine nature. (No wonder Jesus warns against spiritual pride! No wonder Paul tells us not to be “puffed up!”)
Through him God has bestowed on us high and treasured promises; you are to share the divine nature, with the world’s corruption, the world’s passions, left behind.
The part that throws us is the truth that somehow – while we remain locked in these shells we call bodies – we are to leave behind “the world’s corruption, the world’s passions.” Just as having the divine nature seems wild to our imaginations, so does leaving behind “the world’s passions.”
For what is the world passionate? Money? Power? Fame? Sex?
Hard to deny that to some extent those are normal passions –
Maybe it’s really the world’s corruption of those normal desires that we are to leave behind. After all, everyone wants to have enough money on which to live; most people want power over their own lives; many desire to be recognized for their good efforts; and everyone needs some form of sexual fulfillment.
Each of these normal desires has been and is being corrupted by the world.
Peter writes we leave this corruption behind us when “through Him” – that is, through Jesus Christ – we become partakers of the divine nature. We are radically changed from the inside out, not from the outside in. No amount of soap and water is going to cleanse us from the world’s corruption. No amount of self-flagellation will accomplish this cleansing either. Rather, the indwelling Holy Spirit – God Himself – through His great promises will bring us out of the world and into His Kingdom.
For the Kingdom of God is at hand.