How does a Christian “give up his life for others”?

Remembrance Day honours those who gave up their lives to rid the world of evil.

But is that what God calls Christians to do, to sacrifice their physical lives in war to stop evil?

Two answers come to mind, the first being that we will never be able to stop evil by the sacrifice of human life. We’ve already proved that many times over, where an evil is stopped but another soon takes its place, or the evil simply continues in another form, like those who taught and practiced terror tactics in World War 2 taking their craft and teaching terrorists elsewhere after the war, the results of which we are still experiencing today.

Human sacrifice, therefore, no matter how well-meaning, is not the solution to evil. That’s because the sacrifice required to rid this world of evil was never ours to make in the first place.

That job went to Jesus, according to 1 John 3:8, which says: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” And it so obviously took him to do it too, because for thousands of years before he appeared on Earth we humans had never been able to destroy the devil’s work. Evil ran rampant in the pagan nations. Vicious empires came and went, leaving an endless trail of human misery and death. God’s chosen people, the Israelites, were never able to stop evil either. They were supposed to be God’s instruments in saving the world from evil (Isaiah 49:6), but they ended up needing to be rescued themselves. Only Jesus has been able to resist evil and defeat it, so the only need for human sacrifice to stop evil was his to make, not ours.

The second answer that came to mind was the statement in Romans 12:1 about Christians being a “living sacrifice,” not a dead one. In other words, the days of God’s people going to war and killing and being killed – like they did in the Old Testament – are over. Jesus has replaced that in the New Testament with a better way for his people to give up their lives for others.

It’s in verse 2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The “pattern of this world” in stopping evil has always been war, so Christians do not conform to that. What they do instead is seek to get rid of the evil in their own heads, which is exactly what Jesus said he’d do for us in 2 Corinthians 3:18. So, again, Jesus is the only solution to evil, which he’s now demonstrating in the lives of living Christians, not dead ones.


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