May 25, 2009

Fallen Christian Soldiers

Memorial Day

Christians have their own "fallen soldiers." Some of them we call "martyrs." These died for their loyalty and witness to Christ. We honor their memory. We identify with them. We pray for those today who are murdered for the sake of the gospel and who suffer great persecution for his name. Many of their names are in the New Testament's "hall of fame," or "hall of faith," as enumerated in Hebrews chapter eleven.

But, every Christian is a "witness," and the Greek word for "martyr" literally means "witness," though not necessarily a dead one. If he is a true witness, with genuine convictions, he will die for his faith.

Christians are "soldiers."

"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." (II Tim. 2: 4 KJV)

Christian soldiers! Warriors of righteousness! Recruits of Jesus! What a battle we face from day to day!

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 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, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6: 10-18 NIV)

If we are genuine soldiers of Commander Jesus, then we can be assured that though we often lose battles with sin, temptation, error, etc., we are assured of final victory in the war. But, we must become good soldiers, prepared for the battles, and so the need for preparation and training in the use of God's armor, the "armor of light." (Romans 13: 12)

So, today as we remember the "fallen in Israel," those who have given their lives for the gospel and for the sake of Christ, as the apostles, so today do we living soldiers re-dedicate our lives to the fight.

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