It is loving to protect and defend the defenseless, and it is also loving to protect a wicked person, an enemy if you will, from killing others—to bring that person to the point where they lay down their arms and give up their own evil ends. Thus, God has appointed and legitimized government authorities for this purpose; it is loving to defend the defenseless and the evil person from carrying out wickedness.
Note: Daniel Rowlands served more than two decades in the United States Army as a helicopter and airplane pilot. He holds Master of Arts degrees in Biblical Studies and Theological Studies from Westminster Seminary California.
In response to the article “Christians and the Military,” the following comment was submitted by a Beautiful Christian Life reader:
I just read the article written today by Daniel Rowlands entitled “Christians and the Military.” I notice that there was no mention or comment about some of the most pertinent verses in the New Testament, Matthew 5:43-46, wherein Jesus himself commands us to love our enemies and do good to them. I would really appreciate Daniel’s perspective on this. Thank you very much. God Bless!
Surely this is an important topic since there are so many Christians serving in military forces around the world. As you correctly point out, Christians are called to love our enemies and to do good to them, even as God loved us while we were his enemies (Rom. 5:8-10). God is compassionate, merciful, and loving toward us.
God’s Moral Law That Teaches Us Not to Kill Also Carries with It the Value of Human Life
On the other hand, God is also just—the perfectly righteous judge. He has appointed government authorities as the means of carrying out his justice in this fallen world (e.g., Rom. 13:4). God’s moral law that teaches us not to kill also carries with it the value of human life. It includes the loving command to protect people from others who want to injure or kill them—to place a high value on all human life, even the lives of our enemies who are made in the likeness of God (James 3:9).