10th November 2018

War and Peace

“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
2 Corinthians 5:19 (NIV)

This year commemorations are being held to mark the centenary of the ending of WW1. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918, cessation of hostilities on land and air began between the allies and Germany. The Armistice itself was signed earlier the same day at a few minutes past 5am (for convenience it was later amended to 5am) and hostilities at sea ended immediately; fighting on land and in the air ended precisely 6 hours later.

What is probably less well known is that cease fires with the central powers in alliance with Germany were already in place (Bulgaria September 29th, Ottoman Empire October 30th, Austro-Hungarian Empire November 3rd). Although the armistice ended the fighting, it needed to be prolonged three times until the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on 28 June 1919, took effect on 10 January 1920.

The armistice with Germany was initially received with relief and rejoicing in the allied nations. However, in the subsequent years there followed a sober reflection on the horrors of modern warfare as the price paid by many became generally known.

WW1 was an industrial war fought on a scale never before experienced. According to the source “The Great War in Numbers” (Yesterday UK TV channel), there were 65 million men at war who died at a rate of 6000/day; of all the men in Europe aged 19-22 at the start of the war, a third would be dead. Over 1 billon artillery shells were fired, 50 billion bullets, and 1 million machine guns employed. In this all-out war, attempts to break the deadlock of trench warfare included the use of flame throwers and chemical warfare. Gas attacks incapacitated by damaging eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and if breathed in sufficient quantities caused a slow and painful death. Other sources estimated that about 10 million civilians also died as a result of the war putting the total cost of life at some 20 million.

The consequences of this war continued to cast a long shadow in the lives of millions and spawned the rise of both communism and fascism. German dissatisfaction with the provisions of the peace treaty was a significant cause of WW2.

As the above scripture indicates, through Christ (his life, death, resurrection and ascension) God has gone beyond declaring an armistice or an imperfect peace treaty, to accomplishing the complete reconciliation of the whole of humanity to himself. God has forgiven humanity their sins and committed to Christians the responsibility of sharing the good news of the gospel of peace (Acts 10:36) with its invitation to respond to God’s grace and be reconciled and have peace with God.

Prayer
Father, we thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that reveals your love and gives everyone the opportunity to be saved through grace.
Amen

Study by Eddie Marsh

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About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion, Sheffield
Please email for Meeting Place

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

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