Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 3, 1961

A Soldier In Two Armies

C. D. Plum, Paden City, West Virginia

(The following article is the essence of the spoken word, spoken in Columbus, Ohio, on January 9, 1952, on the occasion of the funeral of brother Ted Cossin, who died from wounds received in the Korean War.)

From the testimony read from the memorial concerning brother Cossin, a memorial written by those who knew him, containing the statements of his buddies on the battlefield with him, it seems we may well say that brother Cossin was a faithful soldier in two armies. While brother Ted was a soldier in the army of his country, he was also a soldier in the army of God. And to be a soldier in the army of God transcends being a soldier in any other army. When we think of armies, there are a number of things which come into our minds. Some of these things we shall call attention to at this time.

1. Naturally, when we think about armies we think about enlisting. That is how we get soldiers in armies. We either enlist voluntarily, or we enter the army by conscription, which is enlisting by compulsion. I do not know whether this young brother was a volunteer for the United States Army, or whether he entered by compulsion. But I am frank to state my own personal feelings about the matter. If he were I, it would be a matter of enlisting by compulsion.

However, in the army of God it is different. Only volunteers enter this army. "A volunteer for Jesus, a soldier true; others have enlisted, why not you?" Brother Ted enlisted, voluntarily, in the army of God. No one compelled him to believe the gospel, nor to repent of his sins, nor to confess Christ as God's Son, neither was he compelled to be buried with his Lord in baptism for the remission of his sins. All this he volunteered to do. In this way he became a soldier in the army of God, and in this way only.

2. But when we think of armies we not only think of enlisting but we think of the Captain. There are different names for different officers in the army of our country. Soldiers are expected to obey the orders from the officer in charge.

In the army of God, all soldiers are supposed to obey the orders of Jesus, who is referred to as "the Captain of our salvation."

3. But now I would call your attention to something else we think about when we think about armies. Yes, we think about flags. I suppose that every red-blooded American appreciates the freedom for which this flag which drapes this casket stands. Yes, we appreciate the Stars and Stripes above all other earthly flags.

But, in a figurative sense, our brother here fought under a greater flag than the Stars and Stripes. In the army of God he fought under the blood stained banner of the Son of God. Let me say to you that we owe greater allegiance to this figurative banner, than to any other banner raised by man and floated by the gentle breeze.

4. But now I would mention that in thinking of armies we think of armor. In days of old, there was much armor of metal. This was a protection, then, no doubt, but not so today.

As a soldier of God, however, each soldier must be clad in the armor designated by the Captain of our salvation. Each Christian soldier must have the following armor: "Loins girt about with truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, hope of salvation, sword of the Spirit, and prayer." With such armor the soldier is prepared to not only "stand," but to press the foe of righteousness.

5. Is it not true that in thinking about armies we also think about enemies. Each opposing soldier in combat in national armies is supposed to think of the other soldier as an enemy. And when we have an enemy, the idea is to destroy that enemy. And where there are enemies, there is hatred. (I do not mean to say by this that young men are fighting and killing because of personal hared. I don't believe that of this young brother today, nor of others like him. Most of these young men are fighting and killing, mostly because of compulsion. If the rulers of the nations of earth who want war were forced to go on the battlefield, and to face the bullets like this young brother had to do, we wouldn't have so much fighting.)

In the army of God it is different. This army is not out to destroy people. The purpose of the army of God is to save people. True, the army of God has Satan and all his for enemies. But in this army the soldiers are taught by the Captain: "Love your enemies." That is, among our fellowmen we should have love. We are taught by Jesus the Captain of our salvation that we must not hate people. If we love them we will try to save them. When we hate we will try to destroy. It is very hard to harmonize the teaching of Christ for his soldiers, with the teaching of man with his soldiers.

7. The last point I care to mention here is that in thinking of armies we think of old soldier's reunions. Even in my days there were a number of old soldier reunions among those who fought in the civil war. Maybe they are all gone now. Maybe all these reunions are over. Yet when I was a boy they still had them. These old soldiers would get together and talk over the days of the past.

There is, however, a reunion to look forward to, a reunion of all the soldiers of God. "When we shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord." This will be one grand, glorious, and unbroken reunion. "There shall be no more death, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former' things are passed away." In view of all of this, and more, do you not think it will pay you to become a soldier of God, and to remain a true soldier of God?