But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. Matthew 5:39-40
Getting involved in secular matters isn’t a sin for Christians. Believers are simply carrying out the responsibilities that all citizens have—whether Christian or non-Christian. Yet believers have to consciously avoid sin and do what Christ expects of them. In contrast, the people of the world don’t do what Christ requires.
That’s why when Christians fight in a war, file a lawsuit, or impose a punishment, they are functioning in their role as a soldier, lawyer, or judge. But within these roles, Christians will want to keep their consciences clear and their motives pure. They don’t want to hurt anyone. So they live life simultaneously as Christians and as secular people. They live as Christians in all situations, enduring hardships in this world. They live as secular people obeying all national laws, community regulations and domestic rules.
In summary, Christians don’t live for visible things in this life. These things fall under the authority of secular government, which Christ doesn’t intend to abolish. Outwardly and physically, Christ doesn’t want us to evade governmental authority or expect us to abandon our civic duties. Instead, he wants us to submit to and make use of the organizational and regulatory powers of the government, which keep society intact. But inwardly and spiritually, we live under Christ’s authority. His kingdom isn’t concerned with governmental authority and doesn’t interfere with it but is willing to accept it. So as Christians and as individuals, we shouldn’t resist an evil person. On the other hand, as citizens with responsibilities in society, we should oppose evil to the full extent of our authority.
95 Theses are reproduced in their entirety, with an introduction and explanatory notes to aid readers in discerning the significance of Luther’s call to reformation.
The Ninety-Five Theses is a text that everyone knows, most refer to, but few actually read, writes Stephen Nichols. Nevertheless, it is such a crucial text that it deserves to be read widely. Toward that end, Nichols has prepared this edition with an illuminating introduction, explanatory notes, and several illustrations. Martin Luther has left a legacy that continues to enrich the church through his writings. . ., writes Nichols. All of this may be traced back to the last day in October 1517 and the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door.