The Good Soldier of Christ Jesus
2 Timothy 2:1-4
The call to be a good soldier in Christ
As a good soldier, you have to follow orders. When the command of “attention” is given, all movement ceases and soldiers remain still until the next order is given. The training that one gets in the military is not too different from the training that we get in our lives of faith. The Apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son Timothy and said, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus" (2 Tim 2:3). To be a good soldier in Christ Jesus, the first is to love your country and the second is to serve.
A good soldier is to love their country
One’s own land or country has certain boundaries and its own identity. We should be ready to fight and defend our land. The military teaches soldiers that they are doing the work that nobody else wants to do and that their lives are a life of sacrifice. Likewise, we have done well to come into the church and to believe in Jesus Christ and we are doing the work that nobody wants to do. Jesus said there is no greater love that you can have than to give up your life for your friends (John 15:13). As soldiers and members of the military, you realize that at any given time, whether at war or combat, you can die. But soldiers are not doing this for themselves or for their own glory but so that the country can prosper and so that future generations can live. And that is a life of sacrifice. Jesus loved us so much that He laid His life down for us and there is no greater love than this.
Soldiers in the military must respect the rank of their superiors but the obedience is not to the superiors themselves but to the nation that put them in their positions to teach others how to serve their nation. Likewise, we must be obedient to our pastors and evangelists for it is the Kingdom of God that has established these people in their positions. Leadership is also important in the military and soldiers must listen and keep in step with the commander. In the same way, in our lives of faith we all need to listen to the Word of God. Today, we have been given the mission of evangelism and we need to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to others. Just as a nation trains up its military forces to fulfill the needs of the country, in the same way God is training up His children to do and fulfill the needs of His Kingdom. In Korea’s national anthem, it says, "God will protect the nation forever." We have to love our country and that is what true patriotism is. We need to remember Redemptive History and the culture of belief and faith in Jesus Christ.
A good soldier is to serve their country
As fellow citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, what can we do to serve our country as good soldiers? The Apostle Paul’s definition of a good soldier is, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:3). Thus, you suffer hardship with somebody in the same pain and the same suffering. Timothy was not physically related to Paul, but he is saying to suffer with me in this hardship with me. Paul addresses Timothy as his “beloved son” (2 Tim 1:2). Paul was never married and never had any children of his own, but Paul addresses Timothy as his “beloved son.” Paul tells Timothy suffer hardship with me for no soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life (2 Tim 2:4). Things that take you away from the Word and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit only entangle you and keep you away from your true work. Paul is saying, “You have a duty. You have a mission for the Kingdom of God.” As soldiers of Jesus Christ, this applies to us today. We have to be cut off from the world. If we are cut off and separated from the world, that makes us holy and sanctified. As soldiers of Jesus Christ, we are set aside to be used specifically for the purpose of service to God and His glory (Deut 7:6-9). Because God loves us, He has chosen us; this is what the Bible teaches.
Conclusion: We are a chosen nation and God chose us so that His Kingdom can thrive. Therefore, we need to defend and protect God’s work and the hope of eternal life for later generations. We need to protect and defend the promise of eternity. Korea lives forever and God’s Kingdom is forever. However, that Kingdom has not been perfectly realized. Until it is, we need to be ready to protect and defend the Kingdom of God from Satan. When Paul says to suffer with me in hardship as a good soldier in Jesus Christ, we need to understand that the hardships that we suffer are such because we are soldiers already in God’s Army.