Tag Archives: Love

What God Says About War

“Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.” ~ I Samuel 15:18

What God Says About War | William Cody BatemanMany people make the mistake of reading what the Bible says in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not kill,” and then seeking to apply this command to war. However, the Hebrew word literally means “the intentional, premeditated killing of another person with malice; murder.” God often ordered the Israelites to go to war with other nations (1 Samuel 15:3; Joshua 4:13). God ordered the death penalty for numerous crimes (Exodus 21:12, 15; 22:19; Leviticus 20:11). So, God is not against killing in all circumstances, but only murder.

War is never a good thing, but sometimes it is a necessary thing. In a world filled with sinful people (Romans 3:10-18), war is inevitable. Sometimes the only way to keep sinful people from doing great harm to the innocent is by going to war.

In the Old Testament, God ordered the Israelites to “take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites” (Numbers 31:2). Deuteronomy 20:16-17 declares, “However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them…as the LORD your God has commanded you.”

Obviously God is not against all war. Jesus is always in perfect agreement with the Father (John 10:30), so we cannot argue that war was only God’s will in the Old Testament. God does not change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17).

Jesus’ second coming will be exceedingly violent. Revelation 19:11-21 describes the ultimate war with Christ, the conquering commander who judges and makes war “with justice” (v. 11). It’s going to be bloody (v. 13) and gory. The birds will eat the flesh of all those who oppose Him (v. 17-18). He has no compassion upon His enemies, whom He will conquer completely and consign to a “fiery lake of burning sulfur” (v. 20).

It is an error to say that God never supports a war. Jesus is not a pacifist. In a world filled with evil people, sometimes war is necessary to prevent even greater evil. If Hitler had not been defeated by World War II, how many more millions would have been killed? If the American Civil War had not been fought, how much longer would African-Americans have had to suffer as slaves?

War is a terrible thing. Some wars are more “just” than others, but war is always the result of sin (Romans 3:10-18). At the same time, Ecclesiastes 3:8 declares, “There is…a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” In a world filled with sin, hatred, and evil (Romans 3:10-18), war is inevitable. Christians should not desire war, but neither are Christians to oppose the government God has placed in authority over them (Romans 13:1-4; 1 Peter 2:17). The most important thing we can be doing in a time of war is to be praying for godly wisdom for our leaders, praying for the safety of our military, praying for quick resolution to conflicts, and praying for a minimum of casualties among civilians on both sides (Philippians 4:6-7).

What God Says About Marriage

“The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” ~ Genesis 2:23-24

What Does God Say About Marriage? | William Cody BatemanGod created man and then made woman to complement him. In the Bible marriage is God’s “fix” for the fact that “it is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).

As the Bible describes the first marriage, it uses the word helper to identify Eve (Genesis 2:20). To “help” in this context means “to surround, to protect or aid.” God created Eve to come alongside Adam as his “other half,” to be his aid and his helper. The Bible says that marriage causes a man and woman to become “one flesh.” This oneness is manifested most fully in the physical union of sexual intimacy. The New Testament adds a warning regarding this oneness: “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6).

Several of Paul’s epistles refer to marriage and how believers are to operate within the marriage relationship. One such passage is Ephesians 5:22–33. Studying this passage provides some key truths concerning what the Bible says marriage should be.

  • The Bible, in Ephesians 5, says a successful biblical marriage involves both the husband and the wife fulfilling certain roles: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior” (Ephesians 5:22–23).
  • “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:28–29).
  • “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31).

When a believing husband and wife institute God’s principles of marriage in the Bible, a solid, healthy marriage results. A biblically based marriage keeps Christ as the head of the man and the wife together. The biblical concept of marriage involves a oneness between a husband and wife that pictures the oneness of Christ with His church.

What God Says about Shame and Regret

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” -Romans 8:1

William Cody Bateman | LeaderspeakEveryone experiences a certain amount of shame and regret over sins committed in the past. The Bible has much to say about shame and regret, and there are numerous examples of people in the Bible who experienced these negative feelings.

Can you imagine the shame and regret Adam and Eve lived with after their sin? They spoiled the perfect creation God had made. Adam and Eve were in a perfect world, had perfect minds and bodies, and had perfectly close fellowship with God. When they chose to sin against God, all of God’s creation was made subject to sin’s effects, including disease, decay, death, and separation from God for eternity. Every human being afterward was born with a sin nature—the natural inclination to sin. Thankfully, God is sovereign, and He had a plan even then to redeem His world through His Son, Jesus Christ, and give mankind a choice for salvation and eternal life with Him. But Adam and Eve must have lived out their lives on earth with much regret over their loss of innocence and its associated blessings. We know they were ashamed at their nakedness (Genesis 3:10). They must have lived the rest of their lives in regret—after all, they remembered paradise.

Another biblical example of shame and regret is the experience of the apostle Peter. John 13:37–38 describes the night of Christ’s betrayal. Right after the Passover meal, Peter tells Jesus that he would lay down his life for his Lord. Jesus responds by telling him that on that very night Peter would deny three times even knowing the Lord. Later that night, out of fear of losing his own life, Peter denied ever knowing Jesus (John 18:15–27; Matthew 26:31–35, 69–75). After Peter’s denial of Christ, “he went outside and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). Later, Peter was restored and grew in his faith, becoming one of the founding fathers of the early church. Peter did indeed “strengthen his brothers” after being forgiven, just as Jesus had foretold (Luke 22:32). While Peter must have lived with much shame and regret over his public denial of Christ, his deepened understanding of the person and work of Christ overcame his feelings of failure. He realized that he was forgiven by the grace of God, and he moved past his personal regret to feed Jesus’ sheep (John 21:17).

The Bible teaches us that, when we confess our sins and have faith in Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, we become children of God (John 1:12). We are cleansed from all our unrighteousness (Colossians 1:15–22), and our salvation is eternally secure (John 10:27–30; Hebrews 7:24–25). As we grow spiritually by spending time with God daily in prayer and reading His Word, we find ourselves loving and trusting Him more. We trust that God has cast our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).Yes, we regret our past mistakes, but that is not our focus. We keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Paul put it this way: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of [the goal]. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14). Shame and regret are part of what is behind us. We must learn to forget.

We are sinners, but we are justified. We have a shameful past, but we have a better future.

We used to walk in foolishness and rebellion, but now we walk in newness of life (Titus 3:3–7; Romans 6:4). God has forgiven those sins we feel shame and regret over. We can move on. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

How to Handle a Multitude of Sins

“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” (Proverbs 10:12)

There is an old familiar cliché to the effect that we should “hate the sin, but love the sinner.” This may sound a bit trite because of overuse, but it is nevertheless both biblical and practical. It is easy and tempting to be critical and condemnatory toward someone who has sinned (especially if the sin has affected us directly), but such an attitude seldom, if ever, produces repentance on the part of the sinner. As the above proverb reminds us, it will more likely generate an angry, defensive response and further strife.

An attitude of loving concern, on the other hand (not of condoning the sin but of personal understanding and sincere interest in the person) will much more likely lead to a genuine change of heart and restoration. Two New Testament writers (Peter and James) cite this Old Testament text in their own advice to Christian believers. Peter says, for example, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). “Charity,” of course, is the Greek agape, which is more often translated “love,” even in the King James Version. The translators used “charity” here, no doubt, because “love” might be, in this context, misunderstood as erotic love, or even brotherly love (different Greek words), whereas “charity” (as an attitude toward others) more nearly describes the agape kind of love. Note also that this “charity” is to be fervent charity.

James, like Peter, understands “all sins” in the Proverbs text to imply “a multitude of sins,” and he stresses the true goal in using this kind of love in dealing with a sinner. “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:20). HMM

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