ANSWER: The content of your letter suggests that we look at three aspects of our life as Christians in this world – our service, our task and our privilege – before answering your question. The Lord Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (Jn. 18:36 NKJV). If the Lord did not want His servants to fight to defend Him when He was being cruelly mistreated and facing death by crucifixion, He does not want His servants fighting to right the many wrongs in this sinful world. Nowhere in the New Testament are Christians ever told to battle non-Christians or opponents of God’s truth. In this, Christianity is just the opposite of Islam. Matthew 26:52, Ephesians 6:12 and Matthew 5:44 are some of the many verses that show us that the Lord does not direct His people to engage in battle or warfare, even for good causes.
Christians have a calling to higher service in this world, and Paul presents it this way: “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20). Ambassadors represent their leader and their country by peacefully pleading their cause in a foreign land. They are neither generals nor common soldiers.
By international law today, when war breaks out ambassadors are allowed to leave the country they are serving. Nations do not always observe these rules. The imprisoned Paul called himself “an ambassador in chains” (Eph. 6:20).
Christians are sent into the world to represent their Lord Jesus Christ. His Great Commission to us says: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:18-20). This is our task.
To the woman He met at the well in Samaria, Jesus said, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:23-24). If our service is to be ambassadors and our task is to evangelize, our privilege is to be worshipers.
Now as to the Christians’ hope, it is the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ti. 2:13). We often refer to this hope as the Rapture. To the new Christians at Thessalonica Paul wrote: “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Th. 1:9-10).
This hope shows up in many of the epistles. To the Philippians the apostle wrote: “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20-21). Earlier in the same letter Paul said he had “a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:23). And at the close of 1 Thessalonians 4, where he told them how the Rapture will take place, he concluded by telling them and us that “we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
While we wait for our Lord to take us to Himself, our goal should be that “we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5:9).
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org