This raises the topic of identity. It also raises the topic of trust, or rather, who or what is your functional place of trust in the day-to-day parts of your heart. It is possible to say on Sunday morning, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” but then by Friday most of your friends and family members have been convinced that your trust is really in being a right-wing conservative and 2nd amendment-defending American citizen. Here is an important question: Are you better at being an American than a Christian?
You might be, if you think that the present gun-control tactics by the President and his supporters causes you to think that it is a Christian Right to bear arms. You might be, if you spend more time fussing and fuming over the incremental loss of our political and human rights rather than saying like David, “He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken” (Psalm 62:2). But it is not a Christian Right to Bear Arms, though it is an American one. If you blur that line in your heart, then you will not be able to let your light shine before men because your identity as a Christian is an unbiblical one. Most Christians and most of Christianity has lived life with no political right to gun ownership and the Church has done just fine.
Those of you who know me know that I was raised as a hunter, a fire-arm owner, and a person whose family routinely enjoyed marksmanship competition. I’m thankful to have grown up where I did and how I did, dropping my first 8 point buck at age 13 with a .243 bolt-action Remington, in Clay County, WV. Yum-Yum! But in the words of Erwin Lutzer, “Yes, we must fight, but we must fight like Christ, who never wavered from His message of spiritual redemption in the midst of depressing political and social abuses. We have a message that can do what politics can’t” (in Why The Cross Can Do What Politics Can’t, 1999, pgs. 28-29).
Let’s hear more from Pastor Lutzer – remember, he wrote this in 1999:
“. . . many of us want a civil religion because we fear that we might lose our creature comforts if our nation goes into decline. We can be glad that Americans have supported mission agencies around the world, but I fear that one reason we are so anxious that the economy remain strong is not because we want to continue to spread the gospel, but because we all enjoy the American way of life. Our tendency is to believe that a strong America always translates into a strong church. Many Christians today are concerned about corruption in government, the wasting of our taxes, the national debt, and funding of certain types of art projects. However, we are angry not because Christ is daily dishonored and the true God not worshiped, but because we fear that our taxes and family values are not being protected.”
He goes on:
“To put it clearly: for some Christians, lower taxes, a strong national defense, a rollback of government regulations, and a balanced budget amendment are more pressing issues than whether their neighbors and friends will spend eternity with God or be lost forever. Our creature comforts are the issues that really stir our ire . . . I’m convinced that many Christians who are angry today would become pacified if somehow we could return this country to the fifties . . . they would be satisfied with this change even if no one were converted to Christ in the process! They would be content if Christ were accepted as lawgiver to restore order to society even if He were not accepted as Savior to rescue society. In other words, it is not because people are going to hell that we are upset . . . rather, it is that our way of life is being disturbed (ibid, pgs. 43-44).
So if I have to one day surrender my American Right to own fire-arms, I will. And say to those who take them, “I will joyfully accept the plundering of my property, since I know that I have a better possession and an abiding one that will not be shaken – my citizenship is in heaven” (Hebrews 10:34, 12:27-28; Phil. 3:20).