There shall be no negotiated peace.
That’s what Winston Churchill says in his address to his Outer Cabinet toward the end of the movie, That Darkest Hour. The movie focuses on the tumultuous events of May 20-28, 1940. England and France had previously declared war on Germany in September of ’39 (after their invasion of Poland). However, this became known as the Phoney War, since almost nothing of military consequence took place. Meanwhile, Hitler invaded Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.
Chamberlain resigned as Prime Minister on May 20th. Churchill replaced him, but along with Lord Halifax, Chamberlain continued to use his influence to try to pressure Churchill to pursue a diplomatic back channel with Hitler (through Mussolini). With British forces stranded at Dunkirk and the possibility of France falling, the situation looked bleak. But Churchill was unflinching and publicly declared so the 28th, “There shall be no negotiated peace.” It was clearly the right thing to do, and the world benefited from his bravery.
In the same way for the disciple of Jesus, there can be no negotiated peace with sin. Sin seeks to take over our lives and establish its reign. And the path it pursues to accomplish this is to convince us to allow it to have just a small portion of our lives. Not the entirety of it, mind you. And quite agreeably many allow it just that—an area or two where no resistance is offered. After all, they will still be “in charge” everywhere else. But once entrenched, sin never wants to stop there, does it? That’s how the little drink turns into alcoholism, the glimpse of pornography turns into an addiction, harmless flirting turns into adultery, etc. Make no mistake about it, a negotiated peace is a Phoney War approach to sin.
Christ told His disciples, “Do no suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). His complete thought goes on to v. 39 and it’s worth your time to read it. Whatever else these words apply to, they certainly apply to sin. There can be no negotiated treaty! Christ was so opposed to sin that He gave His life to end its reign in our lives—how can a person call themselves a disciple and commit to anything less?
We do sin of course. Battles are lost in any war. But they were battles! We didn’t surrender, we fought. And as Jesus’ followers, we are committed to continue fighting. Someone (maybe Churchill) said, “Success is not final, failure is not final, it is the courage to go on that counts.”
Sin is a defeated foe. It was vanquished through the death and resurrection of Jesus. And one day it will be no more in our lives as well.
Until then—swords out!