Making Sense Of War (Part 2)
Updated: Apr 8, 2022
By bro Justin Kwan
How Should Christians Respond?
How then, should we respond to the evil that is unfolding in Ukraine? First of all, we need to remember that Vladimir Putin’s evil is no match for God’s sovereignty. At first glance, we may think that Putin seems to be out of control, but he is not out of God’s control. Daniel 2 tells us that God raises kings and removes kings.
And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise (Dan 2:21)
At the end of the day, Putin is no more than a piece of lint on the pages of history that God will flick away as soon as He decides to. In the meantime, we can know that no matter how much evil he does (not that we should not resist it), God can take evil and use it for good. This does not mean that God sanctions evil; He does not will evil, nor does He condone evil, but He can use evil for good. When we look back at the story of the Hebrew slaves living under Egyptian bondage, we see how God used the circumstances that the Hebrew people were under to work His wonders, humble Pharaoh, and establish the Israelite nation; and it was through Israel that God was magnified, as many surrounding kingdoms came to fear God when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.
Yet the most significant biblical event that portrays this must be the story of the Cross. Our Lord Jesus suffered innocently and cruelly at the hands of evil men. His crucifixion, torture, and death were also nothing short of evil, yet God used that evil to achieve his ultimate purpose of redeeming mankind.
Secondly, we must pray for all parties involved in the conflict. As the conflict intensifies, so must our prayers. We need to pray:
For Christians living in Ukraine, their faith will not be shaken. That they can find solace and motivation from the Word of God. (Eph 6:18)
For Christians living in Russia who may be persecuted for their faith. That they will continue to hold fast to moral and biblical principles should they be forced to make hard decisions concerning the war.
For the safety of innocent victims caught in the conflict. That their suffering will be lessened and that the suffering will bring about an avenue for them to know God. (1 Tim 2:1)
For world leaders that are directly and indirectly involved in the conflict. That God grants them wisdom and discernment on how to handle this complex issue and that a peaceful resolution can be found quickly. (1 Tim 2:2)
For God’s judgment against those who do evil. (Ps 58, 59)
For the growth of the Lord’s church in that region. That the outcome of the war would be a positive one for the Lord’s church, just as God was glorified through the events of the Exodus and the Crucifixion.
After the two devastating World Wars of the 20th century, it would be reasonable to assume that mankind would strive to preserve the hard-fought peace and not repeat the mistakes of the past. Gone are the days when wars were waged to expand territory – or so we thought. Hence, it would have been preposterous to imagine an unprovoked invasion of the kind we are currently witnessing. Yet the Russian invasion of Ukraine has proven that assumption wrong.
In the final analysis, we can conclude that the world has been corrupted by sin and it has shown that successive generations of humanity continue to be plagued by it. There will be no end to the fighting, murders, and wars as long as the seeds of hatred continue to take root in the hearts of men. Throughout history, God has enacted laws to stop people from doing evil; to prevent anarchy and lawlessness; to prevent a world based on "might is right", or where "the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." But what is more important than blind adherence to the law is that people act in good conscience. The spirit of the law "Thou shalt not kill" implies that we love our neighbour as well as our enemies.
Jesus does not mean that we resolve to like everyone, but that we act in goodwill towards those we do not favour as much as to those we do. This command may seem unreasonable and absurd, but that is only because of our carnality. The antidote to hatred is love. Hatred, the spirit of murder, destroys fellowship with God and man. If one hates another, one proves that he does not love God, because God is love. No one with the spirit of murder within him bears the image of God within him. Such an attitude must be overcome, should one desire to enter heaven.