I will take this study slightly in a different direction then the first three. In the first three parts, I brought out examples of soldiers being blessed by God yet never being asked to leave their military service. In all the examples of scripture so far, not one opportunity was utilized to explain that it is wrong for a Christian to serve as a soldier or in any of the branches of the Armed Services. So far this includes Jesus, John the Baptist, and Peter who never informed any of the soldiers they encountered that it is wrong to be faithful to God and also be in the service of their government, either state or federally.
So let’s look at this from a different angle. Is it wrong to utilize the services of the Armed Services or Law Enforcement?
Let me make a point, if it’s wrong for a Christian to serve as a soldier or in law enforcement, then is it wrong for a Christian to ask for services of our Armed Forces? What about the police for that matter, while soldiers are for national defense, the police are for domestic defense. Police are, in this sense, the same as a soldier in the fact that violence may be needed to do their job properly and life can be taken. So if it’s wrong for a Christian to be in the profession of law enforcement then isn’t it wrong for a Christian to call on the police for help?
I mean if a person in one breath can say it’s wrong for a Christian to be in law enforcement and in the next call the police for help… is this just a little bit hypocritical?
So let’s look at this with a situation I read in Acts 23 involving Paul who discovers a plot that intends to kill him while he returns to a council v12-15. Over 40 Jews swear an oath to kill him in an ambush while he travels.
Paul’s nephew hears of this ambush plan and informs Paul. With this information Paul requests for a soldier to take the boy to the commander so that he can pass on the information v16-22.
This commander immediately dispatches a total of 470 soldiers to escort Paul to Caesarea and deliver him to Felix who is the governor v23-25. This is where Paul, a man who wrote a good portion of the New Testament accepts this service without any resistance.
Now, I fully understand that in the scripture Romans 13:1-2 Paul would be subject to the commander’s decision to escort himself with an armed guard.
1 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. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
However, Paul made the decision to inform the commander of this plot knowing that those who intended to kill him would be dealt with. Soldiers deal with assassins in only one way, with force. Either with lethal force or imprisonment of these assassins would be expected. This is where Paul made a decision to either have faith in God to protect him or utilize the local authorities. He chose to use the authorities so this is where we, as Christians, have to come to the understanding that if being a soldier is sinful then the use of soldiers is also sinful.
1 Timothy 5:22Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
Paul chose to inform that commander of the plot knowing that this commander would make a decision and not ignore the threat to his life. In today’s terms, he called the police, as the soldiers in his time were both for war and for enforcement of the protection of local population.
In today’s contemporary application, Paul made a 911 Call.
Would God allow Paul to sin or in this case share in the sins of others? For those Christian’s who are under the opinion that serving as a soldier is sinful then your answer should be, yes… if you stand by your opinion.
However, I realize that Paul did trust in God to protect him. In Romans 13:4 the commander and the soldiers sent to protect Paul was God’s way of protecting him. They are agents to bring down God’s wrath on these assassins and in so doing, kill them all if need be.
4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Let me remind you now, YOU as a soldier or in law enforcement, are an agent to bring God’s wrath to wrongdoers.
So we see that Paul is not sharing in the sins of soldiers who may use lethal force to protect him because they are in service to God. Even if some of the soldiers don’t have faith in God… they are serving God. Whether they know it or not, or for that matter, if they like it or not.
We have no way to determine how many of these 470 soldiers have put faith in God and have been baptized. We do know of some from the Gospels and we know for a fact that they all continued to serve as soldiers. These warriors continued to serve God as agents of wrath even after their baptism.
Are you, as a present day warrior praising God as you serve faithfully, obedient to this path that God has placed you on? Or may be leading you to?
In the final part to this study I will bring up one more situation found in scripture dealing with a man who is a jailer and after his baptism is not required to leave his profession. Then I will conclude the entire study.