Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
November 11th is a very historical day in our country. Originally It marked the end of World War I in 1918. Being a history buff, this day in 1918 is always vivid in my mind when it comes around each year. Forgive me for doing a short history lesson, but it fits what I want to talk about. As I said, November 11, 1918 was the day the fighting stopped in “the war to end all wars.” It brought to an end the bloodiest war ever fought up to that time. Historians say an entire generation of young men was wiped out. The exact end to the war has been romanticized somewhat by writers by using the phrase, “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918, the guns were silenced.”
What actually happened on that day was that, in the hours before 11am, both sides tried to use up all their ammunition and kill off as many of the other side that they could. Officers ordered senseless charges across “no man’s land” and many were killed in the atrocities that occurred. War is a terrible thing to romanticize! But finally, at 11am, peace came. The guns became silent, the charges stopped and men stopped dying. The peace was so pronounced in its silence, that men actually went insane because of it. They had become so used to the noise and carnage that they couldn’t handle it.
Not long after, November 11th became known as Armistice Day and later became a national holiday when in 1954, Congress changed the day to Veteran’s Day in honor of all the soldiers who died in any war. Sadly, “the war to end all wars” gave birth to World War II and the Korean War, and on and on it goes.
When I reflect on all this, it always brings to mind a passage that has always had meaning to me, although I have found it hard to apply to my life. The passage is Romans 5:1-2: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the Glory of God.” A few things come to my mind from this passage that I would like to share.
As with the original Armistice Day in 1918 marking the end of WWI, our salvation marks the end of our war with God! Like on that fateful day, our surrender to the LORD may have come with great struggles. Scripture talks about us being enemies of God before our salvation. We may not have thought about it in that light, but we were at war with God. But when we finally surrendered ourselves to God, the fighting stopped. God said, “enough! The war is now over and there is now peace! You can have rest. You are now my children and I love you as much as I love my own Son!” What a glorious day!
But sadly, at least for me, for so many years, I have kept my fight with God going. Not because He was my enemy, but because I could not truly believe in His grace and that He had made peace with me. I was more a prisoner of war of my own making. I could not get over the guilt and shame of a lot of things in my life and I believed that I had to keep trying to earn God’s favor to get out of the legalistic prison I had put myself in. Through a single act called Justification, God made it possible for you and me to have a permanent peace with Him. All I had to do was accept it. Through Justification, God pronounced me righteous, clean and holy before Him. But I kept saying, “No!!! This cannot be!!! How can I be justified before a holy God!!” And that is just the point, I can’t, at least in my own right, be holy and righteous before Him. But because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is true whether I believed it or not.
So, for many years, I continued to live in my legalistic prison, trying to make myself acceptable to God. It has taken a lot of years for me to finally see my problem, and a year in Regeneration, to begin to come out of my guilt ridden and legalistic life style that I had bound myself with. But now, by God’s grace, I am finally beginning to see!! I have this strange peace and freedom that I had never realized before. I tried to describe this to my re:generation group at church once but I did a poor job. During this past year, I can still see where I fail and displease God. But as I see this and confess my fear and failures to God, there is now this strange peace that I recognize from years ago. It’s almost like God’s voice saying, “We are not at war! We are at peace. Stop trying to make it something that it is not. Come to me and find rest! We have truly fought our last war and have come through the “war to end all wars!
By God’s grace, I am beginning to learn what John 8:36 means when it says, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” For God’s people, Veteran’s Day should happen every day, not just on November 11th of each year. When peace came after WWI, it was only temporary, even though that war was supposed to be the last one. Our peace with God is permanent! Our war of God is over!!! Praise God!!! I guess that is all I have to share with you today. If you haven’t made this peace with God yet, why not take that step today your first Veteran’s Day. All God asks us to do is surrender ourselves to Him and believe on His Son, Jesus Christ!