There are two ways in which soldiers usually leave the Army: Dead or alive. There are also two different ways in which a soldier may be able to retire: They can have either an Honorable or a Dishonorable Discharge.
Deserters, traitors and rebellious soldiers are usually dishonorably discharged. In addition to this, many of them are sent to prison and they lose most (if not all) of the privileges afforded to veterans for their service.
On the other hand, a soldier that retires with an honorable discharge enjoys a plethora of benefits and honors. Retired veterans have access to pensions, medical benefits, financial aid for education and preference for many civilian and government jobs.
Every believer in Christ was once a soldier in the enemy’s army. We were God’s enemies ourselves (Romans 5:10) in our unredeemed state. Moreover, we served in the kingdom of darkness (Colossians 1:13) until we were delivered by God and placed in his kingdom of light (1 Peter 2:9).
Any soldier with our tainted record of sin and rebellion would be dishonorably discharged and hanged. Additionally, an enemy soldier captured by the opposing army, would be imprisoned and promptly executed.
This is exactly what we deserved for deserting God’s army (Genesis 3). God created man and placed him (and his wife) in a paradise, but Adam (and all of us in him) chose to follow a dark prince (Ephesians 2:2) instead of worshipping the King of kings (Revelation 17:14).
We deserved (and still deserve) death and hell, but the grace of God in Christ turned sinners into saints; worms into worshippers; apostates into apostles and deserters into dedicated believers.
Only God’s unfathomable love can give an honorable discharge in Christ to an enemy soldier. In Colossians 2:14 we read that Christ gave us life and forgave all our sins, “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way having nailed it to the cross.”
In Christ we are honorably discharged. Hell has no claim on us. Satan has no dominion over us. Sin has been defeated and we are forgiven in Christ. Furthermore, we have more benefits, blessings and privileges as Christians than all the veterans put together.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).