“Call it what you will…perfection, holiness, entire sanctification…it is not only possible, it is not only our privilege, it is God’s commands. No Christian should make excuses for his own imperfections, but should recognize them as failures to keep the commands of Christ, and to strive earnestly to overcome them. Perfection is the goal. This is the Christian’s basic training.” – A.A. Allen
At Paris Island Marines boot camp in South Carolina, a sign states before entering, “Where the difference begins.”
It says Honor – to hold in high esteem. It says Courage – bravery and valor. It says Commitment. These are the requirements to become a full-fledged Marine.
The drill sergeant goes on to explain, “On the very footprints that you are standing, tens of thousands of men and women have stood before you, many of which have given their lives in defense of corps and country.”
Revelation 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
The drill sergeant then asks, “Are you willing to do the same?”
Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-25, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
Keep in mind that 11 of the 12 disciples were martyred.
In basic training for the Marines, you are conditioned for War.
For the Christian, Paul said, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
Before getting off the bus, some of the recruits were interviewed. One of them said, “You just have to keep your mind set on your goals” – that being to come out on the other side as a Marine.
Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Another recruit said, “My family thinks I am crazy!”
Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (This does not mean you “hate” them; Christ is showing us what our priorities are).
This particular recruit also said, “I’ve served myself for 8 years now. It is time for me to do something for my country.”
John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
The Marines believe that in order to function successfully as a team, recruits lose some of their individuality to by removing certain words from their vocabulary such as I, you, and me.
Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
To make sure that they worked in unison as well, they also did a drill where they had 8 recruits on 2 logs, each leg on a log. The front recruit would say, “Move” and they would all move together.
1 Corinthians 1:10; “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
The drill sergeant says, “It is my job to make sure that they become the Marines they seek to become.”
Gal. 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
The Marines motto is, “The few, the proud (gratified), the Marines. The Church of Christ’s mottos is the few, the tried, the overcoming, faith-filled, Christ-like conquerors through Him that loved us.”
Again, when they get off the bus they are told, “When you are told to do something, you will do it.” “Yes, Sir” is the reply, no questions asked. It is not, “I don’t agree with that command,” or “I didn’t interpret it that way.” Christ gave commandments, folks, not requests!
After they get off the bus they go through something called, “hygienics”. They get their heads shaved; they are stripped of all their civilian attire; and are then rebuilt from the bottom up.
2 Corinthians 5:17; “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
On their first day, they are told by their commanders “From this day forward you will treat all commanding officers with the highest respect.” Sounds like double honor!
The drill sergeant goes on, “You must give 100% of yourself at all times. You must obey all orders quickly, willingly, and without question. Above all else, you must never quit or give up.”
Hebrews 10:38-39, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition.”
The Marines have a banner that says, “Spirit, Discipline.”
1 Corinthians 9:25, 27; “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
During arms training, one of the drill sergeants says to the recruits, “Order arms, position of attention, correct thyself.”
As the church, we are to do as 1 Timothy 4:16 says, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
After the screaming and yelling in the face of the recruits, they soon become accustomed to what is expected of them. The drill instructors then become more of a mentor to them because now they know the mold and frame in that which is expected of them.
You see, God chastens those that He loves, in order that you might be a partaker of His holiness (Hebrews 12:2-11).
When the recruits get over obstacles that they thought they could never overcome, a transformation takes place, and they soon realize that they can do anything.
1 John 4:4; “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
You see, when we come into the kingdom of God, we don’t patch up the old life, we receive a new heart, and a new spirit. God doesn’t patch up the old life, He destroys the old, and He imparts the new.
Do you see church? The commands are there to get you over the obstacles of the flesh, the devil, the world, self and the old nature, knowing that Christ went before you and fulfilled all things. He empowers you to overcome all things that you might inherit the kingdom of God, which God freely gives to those that are hid in Christ.
Grace in the Webster’s 1828 is the application of the righteousness of Christ.
Every time the recruit gets up to train, it gets progressively harder.
This is exactly what Smith Wigglesworth said of the trials of God, “The fire only gets hotter.”
On the weekends the recruits can go to one of ten church services they have on Sunday. On recruit said, “Church (or faith) is the only thing that keeps me going on.”
1 Peter 1:5; “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Throughout basic training, they referred to themselves as “this recruit” because they had not yet been given the title of a Marine. The disciples did not walk around calling themselves Christians.
Marksmanship in the Marines is very important. As Christians, we are to be of a single eye. Aim small, miss small.
At no time are they to leave the dead behind. As the Church we are to wake up the dead in their sins (Ephesians 5:14).
During the crucible, the staff sergeants now let the recruits know that they will be accepted as full-fledge Marines.
Church, how are we to preach the cross if we have not experienced it?
A Marine is one who carries the cross and overcomes in all things, and so is a Christian.