“The Christian: A Soldier In God’s Army – Part 1”
The Christian: A Soldier In God’s Army – Part 1
The Bible gives us a number of pictures of the Christian. These pictures show us who God wants us to be and what God wants us to do. The first picture that we noticed was that of a farmer. The second picture that we are going to notice is that of a soldier. It was natural for Paul to use the image of a soldier. Roman soldiers filled his world. Commonly a prisoner, Paul had much time to observe them and to learn about their work (Eph. 4:1; Phil.1:12-13). He used military references throughout his epistles - 1st and 2nd Corinthians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Ephesians, and Philippians. What are some things we associate with soldiers?
Strength: Soldiers are put through extensive training to make them physically and emotionally strong. Think of the early morning runs, the push ups, and the pull ups. To the saints at Ephesus, Paul wrote, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13). The Christian needs strength to fight and to overcome the enemy (1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7; 1 Tim. 1:18; Jude 3). Repeatedly, individuals in the Scriptures were instructed to be strong. As you likely recall, God told Joshua: “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them” (Josh. 1:5-6; cf. Heb. 11:34). In like manner, Paul told the saints at Corinth, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13; cf. 15:32). To the young men, John wrote, “I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:14).
Separation: Soldiers are often separated from those who are not soldiers. For one thing, they go through intense training or bootcamp to prepare them as soldiers. During this training they are separated from family and friends. In addition to this time of separation, soldiers often live on base which separates them from those who aren’t soldiers. Deployment is another common time of separation. In addition to physical separation, there are many other ways that soldiers are separated from their civilian counterparts. They are different in their thinking, in their dress, and in their actions. Although they may one day be back in civilian ranks, they will likely always be different. In like manner, the Christian soldier is to be separate. To Timothy, Paul wrote, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:3-4; cf. 2 Pet. 2:20). In like manner, to the saints at Corinth, Paul wrote, “Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:17-18; cf. Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:9).