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Treasure Digest: Be Ready to Give an Answer: Why Don't You Serve in the Military?

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Be Ready to Give an Answer: Why Don't You Serve in the Military?

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The Fundamental Beliefs of the United Church of God, an International Association, booklet states:

"We believe that Christians are forbidden by the commandments of God from taking human life directly or indirectly and that bearing arms is contrary to this fundamental belief. Therefore, we believe that Christians should not voluntarily become engaged in military service. If they are involuntarily engaged in military service, we believe they should refuse conscientiously to bear arms and, to the extent possible, refuse to come under military authority (Exodus 20:13 Exodus 20:13You shall not kill.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 5:21-22 Matthew 5:21-22 [21] You have heard that it was said of them of old time, You shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: [22] But I say to you, That whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
American King James Version×
; 1 Corinthians 7:21-23 1 Corinthians 7:21-23 [21] Are you called being a servant? care not for it: but if you may be made free, use it rather. [22] For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. [23] You are bought with a price; be not you the servants of men.
American King James Version×
; Acts 5:29 Acts 5:29Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
American King James Version×
).

"The way of God is the way of love, sacrifice and sharing (Romans 12:1 Romans 12:1I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
American King James Version×
, 10). The teaching of God for an individual regarding the taking of human life is summed up in the Sixth Commandment, which says, 'You shall not murder' (Exodus 20:13 Exodus 20:13You shall not kill.
American King James Version×
). Christ repeated a great principle when He said, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' (Matthew 22:39 Matthew 22:39And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
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)... 'Love does no harm to a neighbor' (Romans 13:10 Romans 13:10Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
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).

"Jesus stated, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight . . .' (John 18:36 John 18:36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
American King James Version×
)... People from all nations... are a part of the spiritual Body of Christ (Romans 2:25-29 Romans 2:25-29 [25] For circumcision truly profits, if you keep the law: but if you be a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision. [26] Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? [27] And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge you, who by the letter and circumcision do transgress the law? [28] For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: [29] But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
American King James Version×
)... We now have our citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20 Philippians 3:20For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:
American King James Version×
). We are to emulate the actions of Jesus (1 Peter 4:1 1 Peter 4:1For as much then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin;
American King James Version×
, 13-16). Christ did not respond in kind when He was reviled, and He did not threaten when He suffered. He suffered for doing good and endured suffering patiently because of His desire to please God (1 Peter 2:19-24 1 Peter 2:19-24 [19] For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. [20] For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. [21] For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: [22] Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: [23] Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously: [24] Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
American King James Version×
). He taught that to be angry with our brother can result in sin (Matthew 5:21-22 Matthew 5:21-22 [21] You have heard that it was said of them of old time, You shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: [22] But I say to you, That whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
American King James Version×
). We are to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us (verses 43-44). We are not to avenge ourselves; vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12:19 Romans 12:19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, said the Lord.
American King James Version×
).

"Our warfare as Christians is in the spiritual arena (Ephesians 6:10-20 Ephesians 6:10-20 [10] Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. [11] Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. [12] For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. [13] Why take to you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. [14] Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; [15] And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; [16] Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. [17] And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: [18] Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; [19] And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, [20] For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
American King James Version×
). We do not war against flesh (2 Corinthians 10:3 2 Corinthians 10:3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
American King James Version×
), but against wicked spirits in high places (Ephesians 6:12 Ephesians 6:12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
American King James Version×
). We are to be good spiritual soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3-4 2 Timothy 2:3-4 [3] You therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. [4] No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier.
American King James Version×
). This is our calling in life. As such, a Christian must at times face a conflict between man's laws and the laws of Almighty God. When that happens, the Christian must obey the laws of God (Acts 5:29 Acts 5:29Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
American King James Version×
; 1 Peter 2:13-14 1 Peter 2:13-14 [13] Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; [14] Or to governors, as to them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
American King James Version×
).

"In most countries, the military has its own rules and regulations. A person in the military is not free to decide what he or she can do. The wisest course of action is to refrain from putting oneself in such a position, since a person in the military is subject to its authority and may be called upon to take human life... Therefore, [United] supports the conscientious objection of its members toward military service and war."

For More Information: The Ten Commandments (pages 43-47), Teen Bible Study Discussion Guides: "Military Service and War" (www.ucg.org/teenstudy/militarywar.htm) and "Can There Be a 'Just War'?" March/April 2003 United News (www.ucg.org/un/un0303/justwar.htm).

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