the dou­ble dan­ger

In which we discover the love that creates hate and the peace that drives to war.

Not A Great Escape

It would be wrong though to think from earlier discussions that a Christian lives behind walls and somehow must stop interacting with other people all together. This would be to ignore that the majority of God’s laws are in fact there to command not only in how to interact but to demand that we have have to interact with people Lev 19:18, 34, Deut 6:5. You will see in the verse that God commands love. For those who follow Him, they HAVE to interact with other people. How does this work?

Separated But Inseparable

Let us again turn to the cell. We have said that the cell has both an outside and an inside. The cell cannot exist without the wall that allows it to prevent its insides from spilling out to the outside. It is the wall that creates the outside and the inside. These two critical areas (outside and inside) define what the cell is going to be. In fact, even though the inside of the cell is different from outside the cell, the inside of the cell is still intimately connected with the outside. The reason is simple. Both the inside and the outside are mostly made of water.

Every cell in your body contains mostly water and is surrounded by mostly water. Too much water in and the cells swell up but too much water out and the cells shrink up. When the cell shrinks, we say that it has become dehydrated. Dehydration when severe enough can lead to death. This intimate relationship means that the cell needs what is outside itself as much as it needs what is inside itself. In addition to this, the cell is constantly secreting water outside of itself into the environment even as it takes up water from its environment. Some cells in your liver and kidneys use this property to help remove poisons from your blood and to help secrete important chemicals into your blood. So, so, what does any of this have to do with the Bible?

Re-Definition, Not Ob-Literation

What is true on the level of the cell is true for human society as a whole. Every person has an intimate connection with their inside and outside. We are connected to ourselves but also everyone around us. This intimate connection between the inside and the outside means that no human being can function well for long in the absence of community. In fact, it has been shown that babies that do not experience human stimulation are more likely to die. Unless imprisoned (and even then), a Christian cannot withdraw from other people as a means of living. Besides being impossible, he will die if he does this. What then is the Christian goal if it is not to escape the world? God’s goal through His Law and Sacrifice in the Bible is to help us redefine our relationship with Him, with ourselves and with other people. That is, you first have to have the right wall, the right inside and the right relationship with the outside.

The Double Danger

Our preceding discussion is about how we should make God our wall. We should make our relationship with Him the fundamental thing that defines who we are. Every other wall will fail and cause us to lose ourselves. Once we make God our wall by relating with Him, however, two critical things immediately happen. 1) Our identity, our insides and boundaries are instantly redefined. 2) We are instantly separated from from the world around us.

A New Man

1) This new identity through our relationship with God is both a life and a death. It is both a peace and a war. It is marriage that produces divorce. It is a love that produces hate. It for this reason that Jesus said, we abide alone unless we die John 12:24 and later repeats that unless we take up the cross, we cannot follow Him Matt 16:24. He makes it clear that our love for Him cannot exist in the absence of hatred Luke 14:26. This means that our old identity based on self-idolatry has to die even as our new identity through our relationship with God continues to grow.

But this death is not easy and neither is it quick. This is why the Bible says that our flesh wars against our spirit Gal 5:17. Not only does it hurt to die, but our old and oh so familiar ways and identity does not want to die. It’s even harder when the world around us is doing the things we used to do. It becomes even more tempting to be the people we used to be. So against such odds from both the inside and the outside, it is impossible to change by one’s own power. We must trust God to fulfill His promises. And He has promised to build us into His temple by the creative Power of His Spirit Zech 4:6, Joel 2:28, John 1:12.

The Power To Be

This new identity causes us to declare by our words and actions by the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus is the Lord 1 John 4:2. Now all the laws that once seemed so hard and burdensome become suddenly very very easy. Now where anger was the answer, love thrives. Condemnation is replaced with the embrace. Where we once sought to gain status by putting down our neighbors, we now choose instead to cover their shame through relationship. All these things we never would have thought to do or despaired at not having the power to do are all possible when God becomes our wall and our glory within Zech 2:5. Let it be said though that this is a constant fight against our old self and old ways which only dies as we kill it. In essence, God does not presume that because you have chosen Him once, you have chosen Him forever. When you choose Him, He essentially says yes. He surrounds you and embraces you. He washes you clean through the sacrifice of His Son and gives you His Spirit that you might have the power to serve Him.


At this point you think, this is niiice. I’m saved. No need to do anything. At this point you have taken Him for granted and also take it for granted that He has taken you for granted. So that you think the passion you feel now will always be there and will be status quo. But like every good relationship, there must be repetition. Like the covenant of the sun with the sky, there must be repetition. It is through repetition that the relationship is strengthened. For this reason, the husband constantly seeks for ways to show and reaffirm outwardly the love he feels inwardly. For this reason the husband feels inwardly what he has shown outwardly. Therefore, once covered, cleaned and empowered, the Lord then hands you a sword Eph 6:17 and says, “go to war against your old self. Go to war empowered by me. You say you love me, then say it over and over again by affirming that our relationship is more important than your life, more important than having your own way”.

How Peace Brings War

The Christian life is full of peace that passes understanding. It passes understanding for many reasons but among these is because it is a peace that creates war Matt 10:34. But this should not be surprising. It is light that reveals darkness. Before light, all was darkness and no one knew any better. It is true love that reveals hate and even produces the right kind of hate Psalms 139:21-22.

This is not unusual even in human relationships. A husband learns to hate his selfishness more and more as he becomes practiced in loving his wife. So also then true peace with God reveals that there are wars we must fight. But we do not fight wars as the world often thinks to do. According to worldly understanding, wars are fought to bring or secure the peace. In the Kingdom of God, we fight wars only after the peace has been established. Our peace surpasses understanding because it precedes understanding. Our peace, mathematicians would say, is axiomatic not derivative. Our peace is the foundation and not the pinnacle. It is only after I am at peace with God that I am able to make war against my self. The war against my self does not secure the peace with God. Instead, it is the peace with God that secures the war against myself.

The Christian life then is one lived only through constant offense Matt 11:12. Yet in paradox, the offense begins because we have an impenetrable defense. We begin fighting after God becomes our wall. The first war is internal, against myself and everything in me that wants to do its own thing. Progress in this internal battle changes my identity and repetition affirms the new man that I have become.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that per­tain to life and god­li­ness, through the knowl­edge of him who called us to his own glory and excel­lence”
- 2 Peter 1:3

Wanna reach out and ask me some ques­tions? Or do you want clar­i­fi­ca­tion on some­thing writ­ten here? If so, write me a let­ter. I’d love to hear from you and I’ll respond. I bet your hon­est ques­tion will pro­duce insights that will ben­e­fit other read­ers.