2019-08-08 The Gun Debate

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God
For salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Romans 1:16

It’s been a horrible week with regards to mass shootings, simply horrible. Let’s face it, these events did not happen in decades past like they are now. Sooner or later, there will be big changes made to the gun laws. Some will think they will change too much; others not enough. So it goes with politics. Let’s remember one thing, God is the one who institutes government – all forms of it – and it is our duty to obey insomuch as the government does not directly violate God’s law. See Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 for clear instructions on that.

Having said that, is gun ownership a God-given right? Good question. God has instituted a republic-style government for us. That means that he gives us the freedom to make, enforce, and judge our own laws. Given the trend in mass-shootings, I think it’s inevitable that change will happen.

How should we respond to this? Fight, as the saying goes, “I will give up my gun when you pry my cold, dead fingers from it,”? Personally, I would prefer to make that kind of commitment only for Jesus. As John says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21) Don’t get me wrong, I am in favor of gun ownership. I also know that many things can easily get between me and my Lord.

One of the problems I see with politics as usual is the lack of compassion from one side toward the other. Both see the other side as a part of the problem if not the problem itself. If that is so in the gun debate, how might we, Christians, be salt and light to a dark and dying world? To answer that, we must determine what is the most important message to send? Would we be salt or light if we put a NRA bumper sticker on our car? Or one from the other side, for that matter? Or would we be wise to avoid that firefight so that we might have an opportunity to share another message?

Folks, we clearly see that Jesus did not come to start a political revolution. He paid his taxes and encouraged others to do so, too. He kept his legions of angels at bay. They will serve on another day. I see good instructions from Paul to Timothy:

1 Timothy 2:1-7 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this sake I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

In these few verses, we have the gospel message. We pray. For what? That we might have the opportunity to share the gospel. Why? Because God desires all to be saved and know truth. How might they be saved? Through faith in Jesus Christ, alone. How are they to come to faith? By us sharing the gospel with them.

All of us have the same commission.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded to you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If we believe Jesus, then we believe that we are not of this world. He is our Lord and the only one we give allegiance to. We will have no other gods besides him. Does that mean we avoid politics? Listen, God established a representative government for us. Shouldn’t we use this priviledge to promote God’s will for man? At the same time, shouldn’t we be careful to avoid putting our trust in princes and horses? (Psalm 146:3)

Might we also find opportunity to share the gospel with individual people? We all have the same problem. Our sin separates us from God just as much as the sin of those who commit mass murder. We all desperately need a savior. Might not this be the unified message the world needs?

Father, guide us. Amen.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

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