To Resist Or Not To Resist

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Hi J____,
Thank you for your question.
You ask,

Here are those two verses:

Mat 5:38  Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Mat 5:39  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

These words are part of Christ’s “reformation” and “change of the law”, which He came to accomplish as He revealed to us His Father for the first time.

Heb 9:10  Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
Heb 7:12  For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Mat 11:27  All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Now let’s look at what James tells us to do.

Jas 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Here we have Christ, in Mat 5:39, telling us “resist not evil”, and here in Jas 4:7 we have the holy spirit telling us to “resist the devil”. Isn’t this an obvious contradiction since God is in control of both the devil and evil?
The answer is, absolutely not! God has made it clear that He is in complete control of both the good and the evil and is actually the creator of all good and all evil, and there is not one thing that ever happens which is not being worked by Him to His own ends and “after the counsel of His own will”.

Pro 16:4  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil
Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

So how do we reconcile these to sections of scripture? Very easily. Mat 5 is telling us not to resist outward evil that God sends to us to try us: “That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
James, on the other hand, is telling us to resist inward evil and the desire to retaliate when we are smitten on the right cheek. In so doing, the devil and his enticements will “flee from us”, and we will become patient and strong in spirit as we become more like Christ. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you“.
I hope this helps you to better understand these two verses of God’s Word. If not please let me know.

Your brother in Christ,
Mike

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