Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that it set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart."Lay aside every encumbrance ..." When I read that this time, I was thinking of numerous passages on which I have written posts. Passages that recommended to believers humility, gentleness, and the turning of the other cheek. More than once, I wrote that, while it is possible to be humble, meek, forgiving, and willing to endure wrongs while armed, it certainly seems more difficult to do so. Weapons, it seems to me, would have to be classed as "encumbrances" in the emulation of Jesus. So I think the author of Hebrews is telling us to lay such aside.
And then, a single verse from the same chapter, verse 14:
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.And I'm back at my old lemonade stand, doing my old business: yes, an armed man can, in principle, pursue peace with others. There's no reason why he absolutely can't. But does the weapon make it easier to do so? Or is it an encumbrance, which ought to have been laid aside?
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