Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The last casualty - WW1

In November 2020 World War I will have ended one hundred and two years ago. The Armistice was signed early in the morning of 11 November 1918, and came into effect a few hours later, at 11a.m. Sadly, several thousand combatants, from both sides, were killed during that short time interval. The last was a soldier called Henry Gunther, who died only one minute before the 11 o’clock deadline. Acting against orders, he charged with his bayonet towards a group of soldiers on the opposing side, who knew that the ceasefire was about to come into force, and tried to wave him off. However he kept approaching, firing shots, so he was shot, and died instantly.

When I heard that story, I felt sad, to think of one who perished, just seconds away from safety. It also reminded me of many people today, who perish in their sins, even though salvation is within their reach. Gunther had been in danger. All around him, many had gone out suddenly into eternity, and at any moment the same could have happened to him. How true that is regarding the souls of men and women. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" Romans 5.12. Death is an ever-present reality, and could come to any of us, anytime.
He and his colleagues had heard good news: the war was over, and all they had to do was wait for the hour of peace to arrive. As far as the terrible problem of human sin is concerned too, there is good news for you: the battle is over. By His death at the cross Christ defeated "him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" Hebrews 2.14. He "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" Hebrews 9.26. He said, "It is finished" John 19.30.
Henry Gunther died that day because he disobeyed orders. He is like many people, who perish because they refuse to obey God, Who "now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" Acts 17.30; "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" Acts 3.19. A terrible end, eternal fire, awaits "them that obey not the gospel of God" 1Peter 4.17.
Gunther had recently been demoted, and some felt that, in acting as he did, he was trying to ‘redeem himself’ before his fellow-soldiers. Of course, it was in vain. Likewise, we cannot ‘redeem ourselves’ from our sins: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" Ephesians 2.8,9.
Please do not perish needlessly as Henry Gunther did. Be wise, and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, today: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3.36.

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