The cross and the sword

By Benjamin Budde - Contributing columnist

Did Jesus bring division? Yes, He did. But wait, is there love in division? Is there a separation of the two? Yes. There has to be a willingness to give your affection more to the one or the other, which can make the one feel farther away or closer. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to provide us with the strength to separate our flesh from our spirit, inwardly.

When you walk in the spirit, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. In the words of Jesus, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) He was saying if you don’t confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior, making a covenant like a marriage covenant and acknowledging Him, you are denying Him. You are denying God. Tough words. By confessing Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, you’re saying not my will, but Your will be done. It’s like we’re taking a sword and separating our will and giving it to Jesus at the cross. That resembles a sword stuck into the ground as Jesus hung there, His blood running down, paying the ransom for our sinful nature. For it’s our will that brought the sword.

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” James 4:1-2.

From the diary of World War I German storm-trooper officer, Ernst Jünger, on the Western Front, “Thrust fall men beside each other, it’s a carnival from hell, raging across the earth. Fellow after fellow he who waivers will die.” Many have died for the sake of what we call progress. In other words, greed of whatever holds the power of the time that demands worth at the expense of a life. As one soldier once said, “When one dies, it’s a tragedy; when thousands died, it’s a statistic.”

All to often we forget that Satan was an angel and what bent his will was him trying to define what was right and wrong; not God. Making the separation for life, and what happens when you separate from life? Death. Have you ever noticed, we can’t live without good, but we can live without evil? The wrong has been, and it painfully affects us all. We have a choice to wield a worldly sword or to pick up the spiritual sword. The Holy Bible is referred to as a double-edged sword. It’s not meant to be used to fight against one another but to fight the battle within us. To love our enemy as Jesus said. All too often the worst enemy we have is the one looking back at us in the mirror.

How do we know love? By what we see. How would things change, if we judged people by their needs and not by their problems? But all we do is look to ourselves were like a pack of wild wolves fighting for what we think is best for our pack at any particular time. The Bible says God is love. What about all the suffering? God has a witness: the Ten Commandments. This is His witness not only for love, but self-control, kindness, goodness, and justice. What’s amazing is God calls the Ten Commandments His testimony. When you have ears to hear a witness, you become a witness. A law is only a knowledge of something, we have to put it into action to see its benefit. 1 Timothy 1:5, “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.” A sincere faith is without hypocrisy and hypocrisy destroys our neighbor.

Jesus said, blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Jesus said, if you love Me, keep my Commandments, as I keep my Father’s Commandments. God is motivated with compassion to the point that He sent his only Son to save us. Jesus went against the grain of human nature; He was spit on, they beat Him and stabbed Him, they said He was demon possessed, and everyone left Him to die on the cross, and the words He spoke were, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus fought for our souls with the sword of the spirit, the word of God. Jesus is the Word of God, and He cut through the darkness for us, in hopes to receive a ray of light to see how to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father; to be empowered by the Holy Spirit; to stand in the trenches to fight for the truth even though stones are thrown.

We’re to take those stones and build the church on the Rock of Christ Jesus. Let us not twist the cross of Christ unto a sword that shuns people away. Let the sword be put to the ground as the headstone that marks the death of our will and we let God’s will be done.

By Benjamin Budde

Contributing columnist

The writer is a husband, father, preacher, writer, artist, musician and songwriter. Ben and his wife, Missy, reside with their three sons in St. Marys.

The writer is a husband, father, preacher, writer, artist, musician and songwriter. Ben and his wife, Missy, reside with their three sons in St. Marys.