The following passage is an excerpt from Peter Kreeft’s book How to Win the Culture War: A Christian Battle Plan for a Society in Crisis (2002, pp 19-20). I don’t agree with everything he says, partly since he’s Roman Catholic. But in the passage below and in others, Kreeft and I understand each other – and God – perfectly.
Isn’t it true that “God is love” (1 John 4:16)? God is a lover, not a warrior, right?
No, God is a lover who is a warrior. The question fails to understand what love is – what the love that God is, is. Love is at war with hate and betrayal and selfishness and all love’s enemies. Love fights. Ask any parent. Yuppie love, like puppy love, may be merely “compassion,” but mother love and father love is war. “God is love” indeed, but what kind of love? Back to our data: does the Bible call him “God the puppy” or “God the yuppie”? Or is it “God the Father”? In fact, every page of his Book bristles with spear points, from Genesis 3 through Revelation 20. The road from paradise lost to paradise regained is soaked in blood. At the very center of the story is a cross – a symbol of conflict if there ever was one.
The theme of spiritual warfare is never absent in Scripture and never absent in the life and writings of a single canonized saint. But it is never present in the religious education of most of my “Catholic” college students. Whenever I speak of it, they are stunned and silent, as if they have suddenly entered another world.
Jesus Christ is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 19:16), the “King of saints” (Revelation 15:3). He is “king forever” (Psalm 10:16). Jesus Christ is also a “man of war” (Exodus 15:3) and the “mighty One of Israel” (Isaiah 1:24). He is the great Avenger (Leviticus 26:25, Deuteronomy 32:43, 1 Samuel 24:12, 2 Kings 9:7, Isaiah 1:24, Jeremiah 46:10, Hosea 1:4, Luke 18:7-8, 1 Thessalonians 4:6).
At his first coming, on the cross Christ fought and gained victory over Satan for the souls of his brothers and sisters – true children of the Father. Christ the Bridegroom died for his bride the church. At his second coming, with his bride beside him Christ will avenge his enemies. In righteousness he will “judge and make war” (Revelation 19:11).
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. – Revelation 19:11-16, KJV
True love wars for souls. True love fights. It doesn’t sit on the sidelines and do nothing.
If you’re a Christian who loves God, are you fighting for the souls of your families, friends, co-workers, and neighbors – or are you doing nothing? Do you even know that you’re in a spiritual battle and must use the spiritual weapons of the Word, faith, and prayer?
If you’re not a Christian, God is fighting against you. He calls you his enemy. That’s the strength of a relationship without phileo (covenant) love. It’s like hate. You have violated God’s holy covenant by sinning daily in motive, thought, word, and deed – and by rejecting Christ the Son.
But God has made a way, the only way. Jesus fought for you against Satan on the cross. If you want God to fight for you – not against you – as you walk through life, you must accept the victory of the cross through repentance and faith. You must sign the covenant in Christ’s blood. Through conversion, God will make you a lover of and warrior for souls in his kingdom.
Christ the Bridegroom is also Christ the King. He’s fighting for you in the throne room. Love is war, so prepare for battle!