Before we answer that question, it is important to know that God established government and law enforcement. Shortly after Noah and his family stepped off from the ark onto a new world, God told Noah, “Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. ‘Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:5-6…NKJV). Here we learn that God instituted CAPITAL PUNISHMENT for premeditated murder and thus the “reins of government” were put into Noah’s hands. Now let’s read Romans 13:1-4, “Let every soul be subject to the GOVERNING AUTHORITIES. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for HE DOES NOT BEAR THE SWORD IN VAIN; for he is God’s minister, AN AVENGER TO EXECUTE WRATH ON HIM WHO PRACTICES EVIL.” This passage reinforces what we saw in Genesis 9:5-6; God has established government which includes police officers, and they are “God’s servants” to “execute wrath on him who practices evil.” This “execution of wrath” may take many forms, but surely “capital punishment” is one of those forms. The words, “he does not bear the sword in vain” confirm this.

There are two views which Christians have adopted in response to your question. The first view could be called the PACIFIST VIEW and the second the JUSTICE VIEW. Those who espouse the PACIFIST VIEW say that a police officer may be called upon, in certain circumstances, to harm or kill someone and they believe that this is contrary to what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:38-39, 43-44: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also…You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless them who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” In this view it would be wrong to be a law enforcement officer where you would be responsible to “execute wrath on him who practices evil.” They also believe the same principle holds true for joining the military and going off to war where you might be forced to harm or kill your enemy.

Those who hold the JUSTICE VIEW would cite the passages we have already quoted from Genesis 9 and Romans 13. They would also say that KILLING ONE’S ENEMIES IS JUSTIFIED throughout Scripture, not only in the Old Testament but also in the New Testament. When the Lord Jesus returns to earth to establish His kingdom we are told in Revelation 19:11, “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and IN RIGHTEOUSNESS HE JUDGES AND MAKES WAR.” Later, in verses 15 and 21, we read, “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp SWORD, that with it He should strike the nations…and the rest were KILLED WITH THE SWORD which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse.” We saw from Romans 13:4 that God’s governing authorities “do not bear the SWORD in vain” and thus killing evil doers is an ACT OF JUSTICE that is in keeping with God’s holiness. In response to those who advocate the Pacifist View they would say that “there is a definite distinction between a Christian’s PRIVATE AND PUBLIC VIEWS. The verses in Matthew chapter 5 present the responsibility of a Christian in his PRIVATE LIFE and the passage in Romans chapter 13 shows us the Christian’s responsibility in PUBLIC LIFE.” Thus they say it is not only okay to become a police officer to restrain evil in society, but that it is actually a noble career. I would close by saying one must be “persuaded in their own mind” on this issue and avoid judging those with the opposite view.  (408.3)  (DO)