Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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The Use of Force


We are familiar with the use of force by our military and police. We are even familiar with the use of force with children to help them internalize external discipline as self-discipline. Some parents choose to indulge their children to such an extent that it becomes necessary for the police to apply force to them later in life. Force is necessary because there is that within all of us that would harm ourselves and others. In a society that is mostly Christian, the indwelling Holy Spirit can manifest through Christians to such a degree that many mistakenly come to believe that force is unnecessary. Many progressive ideas of the natural perfectibility of man are mistakenly drawn from observations of Christian behavior.

When looking at the use of force, it is not often that subtler forms are considered/ Advertising is an interesting use of force in that it seeks to create a force within a person that will drive them to make a particular purchase. For example greed, vanity, or fear can be tapped into and a particular product of service can be associated such that making a purchase will (in the mind of the target) either acquire what is desired or avoid what is feared. Here the manipulation of someone is accomplished by creating a “reality” in the mind of the target such that the purchase seems not only logical, but even necessary.

Both the gang member and the salesman use the tactics they have available to them to get what they want. One may use a gun, the other may use persuasion, but both have objectives they are trying to achieve. If we consider the objective of God, we can see that he would have all people saved and come to a knowledge of truth (1Tim 2:4). However, even though God has all the power in the universe to accomplish his goals, he has allowed us the free will to ignore him.

When Jesus came to offer the promised kingdom to the nation of Israel, he did not use force. In fact, he even occasionally avoided clarity so that those who were unworthy would not understand (Matt 13:13). At first glance this may seem inconsistent with the objective that all would be saved. However, it might clarify things to say that the objective is that all would choose to be saved. However, the use for force (of any kind) would be antithetical to free will.

The “force” of God will be observed in his wrath. This can be seen with the flood. This force was not to persuade, convince, implore,or cajole. Rather God’s force is used to cleanse. Similarly the future tribulation will cleanse the earth of iniquity. This can seem unlikely to some in that God is not constantly pouring out his wrath on the wicked every day. The bible describes a process of “storing up wrath” until a level is reached that triggers the dispensing of wrath. This delay allows people to deceive themselves into thinking that their choices have no consequence (Gen 15:16).

Consider the principle of land defiled by the shedding of blood (Num 35:33). When a people practice murder like those that worshiped Molech (Ps 106:38), the land accrues a debt that has to be paid. Since Jesus paid the full price for all the sin of the whole world, he has the right to execute judgment (Rom 12:19). Unlike children who are to learn from the force their parents apply to their actions, God tolerates our sin up to a point where wrath is poured out to cleanse.

People frequently ask, “If there is a God, why does he allow suffering and inequity”. The answer is that God tolerates (up to a point) the result of our own evil so that some may come to him in faith. For God, our ease and comfort is not the highest good. He did not design the world to be our amusement park. Rather it is an arena where we can discover that his way (selflessness) is a more sure thing in which to trust that selfishness (which is self destructive)..



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