Summary: We must become effective soldiers of the Cross; following our Commander to total victory over the enemy!
2 Timothy 2:3-4 (NIV), Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
This phrase, good soldiers, is very appropriate. Christ is our Captain and we as soldiers have a very real and on-going battle with the forces of evil within and without. The Christian Soldier is to Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, (Ephesians 6:11-14a) (NIV)....
We must become effective soldiers of the Cross; following our Commander to total victory over the enemy!
The soldier's first article of faith is summed up nowhere more eloquently than in an 1865 letter from William Tecumseh Sherman to U.S. Grant: 'I knew wherever I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would come--if alive.' This is the unwritten, unspoken but unbreakable contract of the battlefield: You will leave no one, dead or alive, in the hands of the enemy. ___U.S. News and World Report, July 29, 1991, p. 5.
Those who would be soldiers must meet qualifications. Here are a few qualifications for consideration: acceptance, separated, consecrated, persevering, and self-emptied.
Now, let us examine these qualifications in some detail. Soldiers of Jesus Christ are chosen and accepted. John 15:16 (NIV) says, You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
Not everyone is fit for a soldier. Moral and spiritual defects may hinder. Confession of and repentance of sin is required. We are told in Jesus' manual for service (The Holy Scriptures) that if we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Through redemption accomplished and applied we can be accepted in the Beloved. It is not the righteous things we have done, but by His mercy and grace He has brought us into this vast army of spiritual warriors. Jesus is the Captain of the LORD'S host, so then He is very much qualified to conscript and muster the Christian Army.
Let us allow Scripture to speak for itself in these matters. 1 Corinthians 1:27 (NIV), But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. Next, please consider Ephesians 6:11-14 (NIV), In him [Christ] we [apostles] were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Having become accepted in the Beloved through the redemption accomplished and applied we can agree that, indeed, God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.
Another qualification of a good Christian Soldier is that quality of being called to separation--separated from the world and separated unto Jesus and the things of God. In this army there is no time to entangle oneself with other affairs. One must forsake everything that would hinder service to the Captain of the LORD'S host. Nowhere is precise and constant focus needed more than in Christian living and service. We cannot serve two masters. We must be seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven and Jesus' righteousness in order to become fructiferous workers and soldiers in the kingdom.
"We are not to be isolated but insulated," said Vance Havner, "moving in the midst of evil but untouched by it." Separation is contact with[out] contamination. Jesus was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" (Heb. 7:26), yet He was "a friend of tax collectors and sinners" (Luke 7:34). Vance Havner.
Consecration or one that is consecrated is an interesting quality for a good Christian soldier. Definition of consecrated is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service. This quality is essential in Christian service because we soldiers of the Cross want to please the Captain of the LORD'S hosts (Joshua 5:14).