Being that I spend a lot of time with military, I get “told” by them that they know they are going to hell. They assume because of their job that there is no way God’s grace would ever flow to them. While, of course, I have my own responses to them, starting with Joshua and David, I would like for you to discuss this topic for my further education and for those who are not sure how to answer when it comes to them. So, put the question how you want, but I’m sure it is something like . . . Can our military personnel be saved? ~ Beverly
As your pointing to Joshua and David proves, yes, our military personnel, along with any other living human being, can be saved.
There are two serious problems here. The first is easy enough to solve. It is that people think that some sins are so bad that they cannot be forgiven, and therefore, God will send them to Hell. In the first place, even if that were true, the only sin the Bible calls unforgivable is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (see Matt. 12:31-32). Killing people, especially in war, doesn’t make the list of unpardonable sins! On the contrary, there have been many murderers who were forgiven and are today in Heaven. David is one such example (see 2 Sam 11). It is also worth noting that even if murder were on “the list” our soldiers still don’t have to worry, because the Bible distinguishes between killing and murdering. The sixth commandment is “You will not murder” (Ex. 20:13). Most people, however, will quote it as “Thou shalt not kill,” as per the KJV. Modern translations have it correct by translating the word ratsach as “murder.” The word for killing generally is shachat, which is not necessarily a sin. Simply put, our soldiers may be killers, but they aren’t murderers.
In other words, their job doesn’t require them to commit any sins, forgivable or not. Second, even if their killing was murder, there is no place in the Bible that says murder is not forgivable. In fact, we have clear instances of true murderers being forgiven!
The second issue is a bit deeper. Our soldiers, along with all Christians, need to understand that no one goes to Hell for sin, so even if murder were an unforgivable sin, that still would not mean they were going to Hell! Let me quote the passage in the NT where people are actually described as being thrown into Hell:
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15, NIV)
This is the Great White Throne Judgment to take place at the end of the world. Notice that books (plural) were opened at this judgment and a book (singular) was opened. The books record all the deeds we have ever done. The second is the Book of Life. What are people thrown into Hell for? Their deeds? No! They are thrown into the Lake of Fire for not being found written in the Book of Life. An amazing fact about the Bible that most people are shocked t discover is that the Bible nowhere condemns people to Hell because of their sin, and thank God it doesn’t, because all of us, even Christians, have sin! We are condemned for not being in the Book of Life (cf. John 3:18). The only reason the books are opened is because God is fair. Most people actually think that they are good enough to get into heaven. God is going to give them a chance to make their defense. Their works, of course, will show that they really aren’t good in the first place. As such, God will then turn to see if they are in the Book of Life. If not, then they will be condemned.
So how are we placed in the Book of Life? By being born again and receiving eternal life and that is by simply trusting Jesus for our salvation. Can our military do that? Yes, and, for that matter, anyone can. Anyone can be absolutely, 100% sure they are going to Heaven. All they have to do is simply believe that Jesus told the truth. It comes down to that simple question. Do we think Jesus told the truth, or is He a liar? Is it true that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but has everlasting life, or was Jesus wrong?