“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NKJV).
“Put on the whole armor of God… For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God…” (Ephesians 6:11-13 NKJV).
This is not the best of time for Christians especially in the northern part of Nigeria where they are faced with persecutions of all sorts like killings, maiming, and destruction of properties from Boko Haram (one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world), “Fulani” herdsmen, and discrimination from hostile communities and even government. These persecutions have continued unabated for decades, but they are being intensified recently. Christians are indeed second-class citizens in most places in the northern part of Nigeria that are dominated by Muslims.
Interestingly, there has been a trend among some “fiery Christians” that Christians should take arms and start killing these persecutors. It has become a debate on social media whether Christians should yield this call or not. Should Christians take arms or kill? Is that the best way to defend themselves or stop this menace? What does the Bible teach about this?
These issues indeed are ethical, situational and most especially theological issues that one has to handle carefully. The thrust of this write-up is not about the ethical and situational aspects of these issues. Admittedly, they are very controversial. Nevertheless this write-up’s thrust is to briefly highlight the biblical teachings on Christian warfare and how to deal with one’s perceived enemies.
It is a fact that Christians are in warfare, but Christian warfare is not carnal or physical one because Christians are not really fighting against human beings, but against spiritual forces that are behind the human beings (see 2Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-12). It will be a misplaced priority and miscalculation of efforts to face the wrong target in warfare of this magnitude. In fighting this warfare, Christians are to clothe themselves with some virtues that will serve as weapons. These virtues referred to in Ephesians 6 as “the whole armor of God” are truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the word of God and prayer (see verses 14-18). This list is not exhaustive considering other passages like 2 Corinthians 10:6 that mentions obedience; James 4:7 that mentions submission to God; Romans 13:12 that mentions light; 1 Peter 4:1 that mentions resolution to suffer for Christ; Luke 21:36 that mentions watchfulness, among others.
Moreover, in spite of the hostility of the enemies, Jesus Christ and the apostles taught that Christians should love their enemies and do good to them (see Matthew 5:43-45; Luke 6:27-28; Romans 12:17-21; 1 Peter 3:9). Jesus Christ and the apostles did not only teach this, they lived it (see Luke 23:34; Acts 7:59).
Christians should NOT take arms or aim at killing anybody. Rather, Christians should be ready to fight the good fight of faith – the Christian warfare – by putting on the aforementioned “whole armor of God”, then, victory is sure and the kingdom of God on earth will be expanded.
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: Pray that you will engage in the Christian warfare rightly by putting on the whole armor of God.