Onward Christian Soldiers
The Christian Connection
By Myra F. Smith
Bible Verse: “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, Who is with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17)
Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, who wrote this hymn in the mid 1860’s, actually composed it as a children’s marching song. Neighborhood children were marching to a Sunday school rally, and Sabine wanted to give them a marching song. Listen to some of the words of this song:
Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Like a mighty army moves the church of God; brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod. We are not divided, all one body we, one in hope and doctrine, one in charity. Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane, but the church of Jesus constant will remain.”
We are in the midst of a war today; a war of religious and cultural extremes and fanaticism. If you watch the news, you have to know that we, as a nation, are in the midst of a violent and unsettling time. We have citizens vs. the police; Muslims vs. Christians; blacks vs. whites vs. Hispanic; the wealthy vs. the poor, and so on. For these wars, weapons of destruction are used to kill and cripple the enemy.
But, look at the words of this song. We are encouraged as a Christian army to be armed with the cross of God as our weapon. What do we take with us into battle? According to the song, we are to be armed with hope, doctrine, and charity. Are you kidding me? These are our weapons against assault rifles, and terrorist bombs?
How could this possibly work? Jesus showed us. Without weapons, a king’s crown, or even a shield, He conquered hate, injustice, abuse, inequality and disbelief, and promoted peace, justice, equality, love, compassion, and hope. His army was His word, and the cross was His weapon against sin, giving all of us a future of hope through salvation.
Truly, if ever there has been a time when Christians need to arm themselves with the cross of Christ, it is now. Join the army of God, and win the only battle that counts: the battle of love versus hate.