Soldiers & Citizens For Christ

Volume 4, No. 12
"We have no king but Caesar."
(John 19:15)

The Jewish people in the first century made a very unfortunate choice. They chose to pledge their allegiance to the Roman Emperor, and rejected Jesus their Messiah as their King.

We may be able to look back on the Bible record and realize their mistake. The question is, will we make the same error?

WHO IS OUR KING?

We make choices each day of our lives. Some of those choices are equivalent to the choice that the Jews made when they said: "We have no king but Caesar"

Choosing our king is really all about who we place our confidence in. Who do we trust to take care of our welfare? Where do we turn for protection from the enemies of this world? Who do we place our confidence in for the solution to the problems of this world?

WHICH GOVERNMENT?

We have no king in the present system of government, but the president and the elected representatives in Washington are the powers that be.

Do we place our confidence in the government of the United States for our welfare, our protection?

ANOTHER CHOICE

Do we trust in the princes of this world for our peace and security?

There is another choice. There is only one power that can take care of all of our needs.

It is the Most High God that really rules in the kingdoms of this world. The government of our country has no power to guarantee welfare or security, unless God has allowed it.

We must look to the Heavens for our help. We need to recognize that it is the Lord Jesus Christ, who now sits at the right hand of his Father in Heaven, who has been given all power and authority in heaven and on earth.

CHRIST OUR KING

Christ is our King. He is our president, our Commander in Chief, our Master.

"No man can serve two masters." (Mathew 6:24) We cannot pledge our allegiance to Christ and to the governments of men.

We can only serve faithfully under one King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

SUGGESTED READING: PSALM 146

"Strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
(Hebrews 11:13)
OUR LOT IN LIFE

When we consider the various duties and obligations related to our citizenship, we might be inclined to think only about those issues that are related to this present life.

Serving this country with all of its patriotic responsibilities is not what we are all about.

In the 11th chapter of Hebrews, we read about a great multitude of the faithful servants of God, and we are reminded in verses 13-16, that these individuals were first of all, "strangers and pilgrims on the earth."

They were not connected to this present world, but they were seeking a better country to come. They were looking afar off, to the coming Kingdom of God. They were confessed strangers to this world, but they willingly aspired to be citizens of the coming Kingdom.

OUR CITIZENSHIP

Once we really understand that we are citizens of a coming Kingdom, we will be able to let go of our need to fulfill the obligations of a natural citizen, in this world.

When we have learned to identify with the faithful of old, who are mentioned in Hebrews 11, we will be able to put into prospective, the duties of this present society.

Our attitude and actions relative to war will be associated only with our commitment to Christ and his Kingdom.

We are strangers and pilgrims in this world, but we are active citizens of the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

Our instruction to fight will be at the command of the Master; in his time and for his purpose. For this present time, we are conscientiously opposed to war.

CONSISTENT LIFESTYLES

It is not enough to say that we are a stranger and a pilgrim, and that we pledge our allegiance to Christ.

When the government of this country calls young men and women for military service, it will be our reputation, not our words that will convince them of our sincerity.

When we say that we are conscientiously opposed to violence and killing, will our manner of life have been consistent with this confession?

OPPOSED TO BATTLE?

When we were on the playground at school, were we opposed to battle? Or would we have been classified as a bully?

When we chose our recreational activities, were they peaceful? Or did we prefer football, and self-defense classes?

How are we with the computer games? Do we ever consider how many of these habit forming games are based on the violent elimination of our enemy?

We may even want to examine our passion for verbal conflict. Does the sharpness of our tongue deny our claim to be a conscientious objector.

"Good soldier of Jesus Christ."
(2 Timothy 2:3-4)
GOOD SOLDIERS

The Apostle Paul, wrote to Timothy about the importance of being strong in the faith. His instruction can apply to us. Good soldiers of Christ should have no demanding relationships in the affairs of this life. His advice is as follows:

"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)

Our obligation is not to be a good soldier that will please the commander of any natural army in this life. The weapons of our warfare are not natural. We are preparing now to be good soldiers in Christ's future army.

ENTANGLED IN THIS LIFE?

We must not allow ourselves to be entangled with the affairs of this life. What are these affairs?

Jesus refers to some of these as activities that are related to our natural desires and ambitions, such as getting married. Even eating and drinking, buying selling, planting and building may be snares. (See Luke 21:34-36, Luke 17:26-30)

These common everyday activities can consume us so that we have no time for our commitment to Christ.

BURDENS OF LIFE

When the soldiers were selected to go out to battle for ancient Israel, there were certain normal activities of life that would exempt them from being chosen.

If they had just built a house, planted a vineyard, married a wife, or if they were afraid to go into battle, they were not selected. (See Deuteronomy 20:1-8)

A man who had his mind on his own security, or on pressing activities at home was not considered to be a good soldier on the field of battle.

OTHER DISTRACTIONS

in addition to these entanglements that are so much a part of life, we must also be careful not to become ensnared by commitments related to the social, religious or the political activities of this present world.

Our social obligations should be exclusively connected to our relationship with our brethren, who are also strangers and pilgrims on this earth.

Our religious associations must be limited. We have no place in the activities of any church group that does not promote the Truth of God's Word.

Man has no power to resolve any of the real issues in this world. We must never involve ourselves in the vain political aspirations of men.

"My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight" (John 18:36)
THOU SHALL NOT KILL

It has always been difficult to understand the proper application of the commandment: "Thou shalt not kill." (Exodus 20:13)

Historically, we can see evidence that God's people lifted their swords in battle and prospered with His blessing.

We are also aware that Jesus repeated and added more emphasis to the commandment to not kill. (See Mathew 5:21-22)

A TIME OF WAR, A TIME OF PEACE

Solomon, using the wisdom that he had received from God, stated very simply that there is "a time of war, and a time of peace."

Jesus spoke of both of these times in the quotation at the top of this page, taken from John 18:36.

In the first century era, even though Jesus was taken by wicked hands and crucified, it was not the time for his servants to fight.

His instruction was always consistent. He told his followers that they should "resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." (Mathew 5:39)

TIME OF PEACE

It was obvious that Christ intended that his disciples refrain from fighting during the first century era.

We have every reason to believe that this instruction to observe a time of peace would be in effect until Jesus has returned to this earth to be the King.

TIME OF WAR

The time to fight was identified as a time when Jesus' kingdom was of this world. (See reference at the top of the page)

The servants of God are under the direction of their Commander in Chief (Jesus). When he tells them to "put up the sword", then they must refrain from the battle.

When Jesus returns to set up his Kingdom on this earth, there will be a time of war. His servants will be asked to help bring all nations into subjection to the King of Kings.

You can read about the saint's role in these coming battles in Psalm 149: 5-9.