the ordinance of God and will come to the judgment, since he acts contrary to the command and ordinance of God, who wills that the pious should be protected and the wicked punished. But if you are obedient, you should know that you have rendered such obedience, not to the magistrate or to man, but to God himself, and have become a peculiar servant of God, just as the magistrate himself is nothing but a servant of God. For that the magistrate has power and authority to put to death the wicked, Paul plainly testifies when he says, "The power does not bear the sword in vain." If the magistrate has no authority to kill, why has he the sword at his side? He then bears it in vain, which Paul will not suffer. He adds also explicitly, "The power is a servant of God." Where are they then that say, "A Christian may not bear the sword"? If a Christian may not be a servant of God, if he may not obey the command of God without sin, then were God not good. He has made an ordinance which a Christian may not fulfil without sin—that is blasphemy!
Accordingly, I counsel you with true love, brothers, turn back, take heed to yourselves. You have stumbled badly, and under the cloak of spirituality and humility have devised much mischief against God and brotherly love. All affairs remain more peaceful where one sees a Christian ruler and his subjects agree in a manly, brotherly, and Christian fashion, and many a tyrant would cease his striving and urging against God and all reason, and sheathe his sword according to the command of God. Yet if God wills that we should suffer, his will cannot be hindered by our protection.
To sum up: no one can deny that to protect the pious and punish the wicked is the strict command of God,