Have you ever taken a second to think of all the different ways a Christian is described? When one reads the New Testament, he can not help but to be struck by the many different ways God chose to describe His people. With this article, I am going to start a series of articles about the different designations that the Bible puts on Christians.
Paul tells Timothy to be a good soldier; "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." (2 Timothy 2:3-4). Christians are soldiers in God's army. But what does that mean?
It means that we are in a war; "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12). The war of a Christian is not a physical war fought against men and machines but a spiritual war fought against the evil forces of this world. Anyone who stands against God is the enemy. Our weapon is the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
It also means, as Paul stated in 2 Timothy 2:4, that we will endure hardness.
Paul tells us that all who follow Christ will suffer persecution; "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12).
Being a soldier of Christ also means that we must stay loyal to our commander and no other. One tactic that an enemy may sometimes use is to give orders to units in the opposing army attempting to mislead them. Satan is working that way against God's army. He has had his soldier giving false orders to believers. We see this through the huge number of denominations in the world. The sad fact is that these denominations are following men and not Christ. "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:9).
We must make sure that the orders that we receive are from our headquarters (heaven). Our orders come from the Bible and nowhere else; "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Finally, to be a soldier in God's army, we must enlist. How does one become a soldier for Christ? To do that, we must be added to the church. In order to do that we must hear the Word of God (Romans 10:17); believe that Christ is the Son of God (John 8:24); repent of our sins (Acts 2:38); confess our belief in Christ (Romans 10:10); and be baptized (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
Are you on the winning side?
Next week, Athletes -- Ralph Price, December 2001 --