Is it a sin to serve as a soldier, a Policeman or as a security personnel?
It is not easy to answer this question without first considering what the bible teaches about how a Christian should relate with the civil government.
Romans 13:7 – Teaches us that the government is a God ordained institution and we are commanded to pay taxes and obedience to civil law.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 – We are taught to pray for kings and those in authorities so that we can live in peace and quiet lives.
Titus 3:1-2 – We are taught to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good. We must refrain from talking evil about our leaders.
Never did Jesus teach that we be disobedient to the civil law; the only time that a Christian should disobey is when the law forbids God’s law (Acts 5:29) – “We must obey God rather than man”).
People ask prejudicial question like: Is it okay to kill an enemy as a soldier or a robber as a Policeman?
To answer that question, we must remember that God has charged the government to punish evil doers – 1 Peter 2:14
Those in authority are God’s servants for our good. “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer”. – Romans 13:4
We can see that God has delegated vengeance/punishment of the evildoers to the government. Those who govern are also accountable to God, and they have been commanded to dedicate their full time to governing, and make good use of the taxes they collect – Romans 13:6 (NIV)
Luke 3:4 – John and the Soldiers
John did not tell the soldiers to leave the army/service, but rather to exercise honesty and be content with their pay.
Philippians 4:22 – Saints in the Household of Ceaser
These refers to members of the Imperial Civil Service serving the government and not Caesars relatives.
Acts 8 – We see the Ethiopian Eunuch who a royal official was serving his government. After his conversion and baptism, he was not told to stop serving as a royal official.
Acts 10 – Records the first Gentile to receive the gospel, a Roman Centurion (a Commander) in the Italian regiment. He was a religious man who prayed regularly and helped the poor.
He was not told to resign from service in order to receive salvation with his household.
Acts 16:35-36 – Talks about the Philippian jailer – He continued to serve even after his conversion.
Acts 23:12-13 – Paul used about 470 Roman soldiers when 40 men wanted to ambush him. This is a case of soldiers/policemen providing security to citizens from criminal threat.
2 Kings 5 – Records the story of Naaman; a valiant Syrian army commander who was cured of leprosy. He came to believe in the God of Israel who cured him. In v.17 – He said that one of his duties required that the King leans on his arm as in Rimmon’s (an idol) temple, and he had to bow too. He asked for forgiveness from the Lord when that happens. Elisha the prophet did not tell him to abandon his military duties, but rather wished him well; the intention of his heart was right. He even carried some soil from Israel to go and erect an altar in Aram/Syria, and be offering sacrifices to the true living God.
We can earn from Naaman about the importance of soldiers fortifying/protecting their hearts and minds with the word of God while in service.
Therefore, serving as a Soldier, as a Policeman or as security personnel is a God ordained service which should be done with honesty. Those who discredit this service as sin should not depend on the military/police/security services. If they do, that is hypocrisy.
Written by: Chaplain Stephen.