Thank God for our Soldiers

Thank God for our Soldiers

This Memorial Day the Christian Church thanks God for the men and women of our military who have given their lives in service to our nation.  Holy Scripture tells us that our soldiers are instruments of God who bring about justice and peace in His creation.  The Apostle Paul writes:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience (Romans 13:1-5).

What Paul is saying is that whether or not a soldier is a Christian, we believe that as enforcers and protectors of the laws and freedoms of our nation soldiers are doing a good, godly work.  This is especially so when they do their duty with courage and honor.  Nevertheless, Martin Luther writes of what a blessing it is when soldiers do see their work as a holy calling from God.  Luther urges that all soldiers should be exhorted to do their duty in this way:
 “Dear comrades, we are gathered here in service, duty, and obedience to our prince, and, according to God’s will and ordinance, we are bound to stand by him with body and goods. Although, before God, we are poor sinners, as are our enemies, nevertheless, since we know that our prince is in the right in this case, or at least do not know otherwise, we are therefore sure and certain that in serving and obeying him, we are serving God. Let everyone, then, be brave and courageous and let no one think otherwise than that his fist is God’s fist, his pike God’s pike, and cry with heart and voice, ‘God and the Emperor!’ If God gives us victory, the honor and praise shall be His, not ours, for He does it through us poor sinners. But the [wage] we will take as presents and gifts of His goodness and grace to us, who are unworthy, and thank Him for them from our hearts. Now God grant the victory! Forward, with joy!.”1

Not only does the Christian Church thank God this Memorial Day for soldiers as instruments of God’s providential care, we also thank God for giving to us through the selfless sacrifice of soldiers a faint reflection of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross for us all. Jesus says in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”  This verse absolutely describes our nation’s soldiers who have laid down their lives while protecting us from enemies who threaten our ability to live peaceably and for the good of our neighbor. This verse, though, most fully describes Jesus who laid down his life for us on the cross in order to save us from the enemies of sin, death, and the devil.  Therefore, when we reflect this Memorial Day on the sacrificial love of our soldiers who have died in the line of duty, we will see the love of our Lord’s saving death proclaimed through them and the example they have left for us.

If you would like to learn how the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod supports our military and chaplains in prayer, thanksgiving, and support all year long, you can visit

+Soli Deo Gloria+
Pastor Thomas Cowell 

1 Martin Luther, Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved, 1526, p. 58-59, accessed from: 
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Thomas Cowell