Soldiers of Jesus Christ

IN II TIMOTHY 2:3 Paul exhorts his beloved son in the faith, Timothy, to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” The use of this illustration of a Christian being like ‘a good soldier of Jesus Christ’ suggests that there are some of the human family who have come over to the Lord’s side, and have been accepted into his army through justification, and the begetting of the Holy Spirit. The Christian soldier, having in this way passed from death to life, soon finds himself moving in a direction contrary to the majority of those around him. This results in a warfare of righteousness versus unrighteousness.

The result of being brought more and more fully into the light of the Gospel of Christ is a continual warfare of light against darkness, truth against error. This warfare is not only against false standards of truth and righteousness such as we see all around us, but the fight also is to be within ourselves, because we find that we have been indoctrinated in many of these imperfect standards, and it is against these that we are exhorted to fight a good warfare, against “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”—I John 2:16

The Christian’s warfare of light against darkness reminds him that “darkness” covers “the earth, and gross darkness the people.” (Isa. 60:2) A part of his Christian duty is to scatter light which will dispel some of this darkness, and assist those being drawn by the Father to come from darkness into the light of truth.

In the days of the Apostle Paul, a valiant soldier needed to be well armed, in addition to possessing other good qualities. A good soldier, in order to be successfully led to victory, needs a brave and capable leader, and this, God’s people are privileged to have in the great “captain of their salvation,” Christ Jesus.—Heb. 2:10


This ‘armour’ of the Christian is brought to our attention by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:13-17. It is referred to as “the whole armour of God”; that is, the armor supplied by God that his battle might be fought successfully. In Romans 13:12 it is referred to as “the armour of light”—in other words, the armor of truth.

The truth of the Word of God is a protection to the Lord’s people at practically every point at which the fiery darts of the wicked one could come against them. When these fiery darts came against Jesus, ‘our Captain,’ he defended himself by means of the armor of light. ‘It is written’ was his wondrous defense. And similarly, a ‘thus saith the Lord’ is the sure protection of the Lord’s people from errors of all kinds. In view of this, faith in God’s Holy Word is a very necessary part of our armor.


When any of the fiery darts of the evil one come against our shield of faith—the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints”—they are instantly stopped from doing us any harm. (Jude 3) The “shield of the faith” (Eph. 6:16, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott) is a knowledge of the Divine plan of the ages—a wonderful protection. It is the shield of a personal faith and confidence in God. His wisdom, justice, love, and power protects us from being overcome by the Adversary’s attacks.


The Apostle Paul also speaks of the helmet of salvation as a part of the Christian’s armor. This suggests a protection for the head; in other words, an understanding of those features of the plan of salvation which serve as a protection for our confidence in the one hope of our calling. For example, an understanding of the philosophy of the ransom and other foundation truths enables us to give “a reason of the hope” that is in us to everyone that asks.—I Pet. 3:15

The Lord, through the Prophet Isaiah, says: “Come now, and let us reason together.” (Isa. 1:18) The context of this verse leads our thoughts to the sublime truth of I Timothy 2:5,6: “The man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price] for all, to be testified in due time.” Paul also said, in I Corinthians 15:21, “Since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Christ Jesus] came also the resurrection of the dead.”

The popular false teaching of evolution which claims that all things, including man, have been moving ever upward to higher and higher levels from the beginning of the world, is a complete denial of the ‘ransom.’ This sublime doctrine of the ransom has forever been under constant attack from the Adversary, from every possible angle.

In I Thessalonians 5:8, Paul speaks of the helmet as representing “the hope of salvation.” This further emphasizes the thought that in order to wear the helmet we need constantly to study the Word of God that we may become very familiar with its teachings. If the Adversary can weaken our confidence in the Divine plan, the great hope of the Christian may speedily be lost, or measurably obscured. But a clear knowledge of the truth and an ability to give a ready reason for our hope will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


Another part of the Christian’s armor to which the Apostle Paul calls our attention is the breastplate. (Eph. 6:14) This is a protection for the front of the body, particularly the life-sustaining organs, such as the heart and lungs—vital organs upon which life depends. The great truth upon which our very existence as New Creatures rests is a faithful holding fast to those features of the Divine plan which enable us to understand how God, after having justly condemned man to death, can be “just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”—Rom. 3:26; 8:1

This piece of armor is also spoken of as “the breastplate of faith and love.” (I Thess. 5:8) This suggests that our receiving justification—the forgiveness and covering of all unintentional weakness and imperfections, is granted not merely on account of our faith in the ransom sacrifice of Christ, but that this knowledge of God’s love in the gift of his only begotten Son leads us to a full consecration of heart and life to the Lord. Only upon this basis are we justified. As water quenches fiery darts of a literal kind, so the apostle tells us that with the shield of faith we shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.—Eph. 6:16, RSV


The Roman soldier of Paul’s day used ‘greaves’ as a protection for the front of the legs and feet. Corresponding to this piece of armor, as a protection in this evil day from the many dangers, difficulties, and temptations in our pathway, we need that our feet be shod “with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.” (Eph. 6:15) Wherever our feet go, the Gospel of peace must go with us, upon our lips or on the printed page, to use as opportunity arises. Earnest endeavor to use every opportunity for giving a witness to the true Gospel is a wonderful protection from the many temptations which might otherwise beset us.


The Christian’s one and only offensive weapon is his sword—“the sword of the Spirit.” This, as well as the rest of the armor, is associated with “the Word of God” in its various phases. (Eph. 6:17) If used wisely and faithfully, the Word of God will overthrow every error of the Wicked One, either of faith or of conduct, which may be presented to us. Our Master and great Exemplar used the same sword—“It is written” (Matt. 4:4-10)—to overthrow the errors and strong delusions brought against him.

We are to be ever mindful, as already noted, to wage a good warfare within ourselves, using the Word of God in an aggressive warfare against “the lust of the flesh [desires for the things of the flesh for the gratification of the old nature, which, although not necessarily evil, will seriously hinder us from running the race set before us in the Gospel], and the lust of the eyes [for example, temptations to entertain ambitions along earthly lines such as a follower of the Master should lay aside], and the pride [vainglory, ASV] of life [desires for earthly advantages that would give one a slight feeling of advantage or superiority over others].”—I John 2:16


This kind of warfare is a united or collective one, and as the Scriptures teach, there is not only to be the personal warfare in which all the Lord’s followers are called to be engaged, but there is a warfare participated in by the church as a whole against all the entrenched foes of truth and righteousness which go to make up “this present evil world” of which Satan is the prince. (Gal. 1:4; John 12:31) Paul says, “We wrestle not [merely] against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [spiritual hosts of wickedness, RSV] in high [or heavenly] places.”—Eph. 6:12, Marginal Translation

This suggests a great warfare against every phase of the dominion of darkness of which the Adversary is in control, and this conflict began at our Lord’s First Advent, when he, as the Captain of our salvation, began to lead his little army into battle.

The Revelator pictures our great Captain and Leader engaging in this conflict by means of the sword “out of his mouth.” (Rev. 1:16; 2:12,16; 19:15) This is a conflict, as Paul stated, “against principalities” and “powers” (Eph. 6:12) in the earth, built up by Satan to strengthen his position as “the god of this world.”—II Cor. 4:4

As the Lord’s people collectively, and as individuals, we are to “do all things without murmurings and disputings,” in order, the apostle continues, “that ye may be blameless and sincere, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the Word of life.” (Phil. 2:14-16, Marginal Translation) The same writer exhorts: “Stand fast in one Spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.”—Phil. 1:27

The good soldiers of Jesus Christ, whether isolated under circumstances over which they have no control, or whether cooperating with others, are attentive to the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 24:14: “This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” In this connection much important work is still being accomplished by cooperating with others of “like precious faith,”—valuable services, indeed, which could not possibly be done by isolated brethren.—II Pet. 1:1

Dawn Bible Students Association
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