Matthew 5:29 appears to compel non-violence while Matthew 21:12 appears to suggest that there is a time for "righteous" anger. How are they reconciled in Scripture?
ESV - 29 And he answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind and went.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
Beyond Rom. 12:19, we have the example of the apostles, who defied orders from the Sanhedrin to stop spreading the Gospel (Acts 4:19). Still, there are no examples of physical resistance in the New Testament. However, we cannot say it teaches us to become doormats or punching bags, and it gets especially important when it comes to protecting others from physical harm. In Luke 22:36 Jesus advised his disciples to buy swords if they could, though commentators understand him to speak of spiritual preparation there. Yet again, consider that there were believers in the Roman army (Acts 10), and nothing says they were to quit the army after trusting Jesus. Paul in Rom. 13 wrote of the need for secular police. So we can say that while Christians must not be the aggressors or try to resist unlawful arrest with violence (Paul used legal means in Acts 22:25), there is no command against defending ourselves and the innocent from physical harm.
"And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him. In this way, love has been perfected among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment; for in this world we are just like Him." (1 John 4:16-17). Christians divide themselves from each other primarily because they each have their own separate ideas about who Jesus really is and what He embodies to them. They each have "favorite" characteristics embodied by Jesus throughout scripture and then characteristics they tend to deemphasize as less important, or at least not as clear cut to them. "Turn the other cheek" is a prime example. However, Jesus didn't always "turn the other cheek." In fact, the only scenario where Jesus did turn the other cheek is the very specific scenario He is describing in the passages where the practice is directly mentioned. Specifically, Jesus is unveiling the commands related to what the Holy Spirit calls "supreme authorities" (Biblical Greek: "hyperecho exousia" Romans 13:1). A "supreme authority" is any power in society that can do the specific three things described by Christ: 1) Physically access you and lay hands on you; 2) Sue you and literally come to enforce the collection; 3) Compel you by literal force to serve them physically, (Matthew 5:39-41). Romans 13:1-2 tells us that God Himself establishes all such powers, so to struggle against them is to fight God and the lessons He is teaching to the respective populations under the power of these special authorities. He alone causes them to rise and fall according to His will and purposes. Jesus recognized, for example, that an "angry mob" was not a "supreme authority." He demonstrated to us how to escape unharmed from their violence. He did not "turn the other cheek" to it and allow Himself to be stoned to death or cast off of cliffs, (Luke 4:28-30, John 8:59). From this we know from scripture that we are to learn the difference between supreme authorities and lesser authorities as well as learn the inspire arts of hiding and escape. The apostle Paul demonstrates this for us by escaping from certain death numerous times, including once inside a basket while escaping arrest by a king who had militarily surrounded an entire city just to capture Paul personally, (2 Corinthians 11:32-33). Despite being buried deep in scripture where most Christians would rather it stay, Jesus gives us two distinct sets of commands for when we are under "commission" from His holy government, or operating under secular rule. One of these two sets of commands directly calls us to deadly arms and even gives us the proportion of "two in twelve" as the proportion required for our safety when not operating under divine commission and protection, (Luke 22:35-38). We are to be "well moneyed, well supplied, and well armed." This "two in twelve" scenario later became the basis of the Holy Christian Knighthood and America's "right to bear arms." The further we drift away from the deterrent this proportion of armed citizens creates, the more violence we see in society. Too many armed citizens can have similar effects. The other parallel set of commands describes the Christian system itself, which is self-sustaining, requiring no deadly arms, (the brotherhood is protected from the outside), no internal economic system, health care system or individual supplies, (Luke 9:1-6). God Himself, (who is love), has a military representing the ultimate deterrent to evil. Jesus was under its protection with a personal protective detail that had to stand down before He could yield to His Father's will and endure the cross, (Matthew 26:53). We are under that same authority as Christians, but we are still obligated to acknowledge and honor each human authority that God establishes while teaching the world about who He is and where we are all headed; obeying Christ in both ways according to those two separate sets of commands.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.