In the city of Melbourne, Australia, there is a very impressive shrine in memory of those from the state of Victoria who gave their lives for their country in times of war. The shrine was built between July 1928 and November 1934 in memory of the thousands from Victoria who served and died in the 1914 -1918 war. It has been a growing monument with other memorials added to the site as Australian soldiers fought in various campaigns. Queen Elizabeth II dedicated the forecourt in 1954 to those who served in the 1939 - 1945 war. There is a prominent inscription that declares, "Let all men know that this is holy ground". This is recognition that there is something very special about those who died on behalf of others.
One of the most interesting features is a plaque inside the main building that bears the words "Greater love hath no man". This is a partial quotation of John 15.13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". A ray of light is directed onto the word ‘love’ at 11.00 am on the 11th of the 11th month marking the hour and day of the armistice that formally ended the second World War. How good to reflect with sincere thanks on the sacrifice of so many that led to the war being over.
To ponder the greatness of love we must really turn away from all that is of man and that may be sentimental, and think of the love of God. As quoted above, these men died for their friends and fellowcitizens, but the contrast with Divine love is immense. "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" Romans 5.7,8,10. The enmity between God and us was caused by sin. James plainly declares that we can test whether or not we are enemies of God, "know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" James 4.4. If our ambition is wholly for this world; its pleasures, pursuits, power, prestige and popularity, then we are constituted enemies of God. Again Paul wrote, "the carnal mind is enmity against God" Romans 8.7. Thus we are enemies by what we are, what we do and how we think.
Despite this, God loved us and gave His Son to die for us. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" John 3.16.
- No man of greater love can boast
- Than for his friend to die;
- Thou for Thine enemies wast slain:
- What love with Thine can vie?
- ... (J Stennett)
This love wrought salvation, leaving the basis for sinners to be reconciled to God, because it was done perfectly and forever. Prior to dismissing His spirit and entering into death, the Lord Jesus Christ said, "It is finished" John 19.30, and the work was completely done. It needs no addition or repetition and certainly there is nothing we can do to assist in the matter. Salvation is offered freely to all mankind and the enemy who accepts Him by faith and rests totally upon Him, that person will be reconciled and rather than being an enemy of God, will be His friend. It is obvious which relationship is best!
Used by permission of Assembly Testimony Magazine