Before the Firing Squad

The famous Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky, was found guilty of possessing politically subversive material.  He was summoned to hear his sentence on December 22, 1849: he was condemned to death before a firing squad.

The sentence was to be swiftly carried out.  Dostoevsky and his friends were told they only had minutes to live.  They were ordered to remove their outer clothing and put on hooded white gowns that would also serve as burial shrouds.

Dostoevsky and some others were brought before the firing squad.  As they marched him into the courtyard, he felt the heat of the sun and appreciated its warmth like never before.  He had never been more fully aware of his surroundings.  Facing death, he was seeing the world in a way he had never seen it before.  He heard the orders given to the execution squad:

“Ready!  Aim!”  But the order to “Fire!” never came.  Instead, someone, according to the Russian Czar’s plan, excitedly announced the Czar’s “pardon” (which was actually a change of sentence).

The trauma of facing certain, unexpected death never left the novelist.  Dostoevsky would later observe that all the misery that he endured on this occasion caused him to have a new perspective on life and enabled him to become the accomplished writer that he ultimately became. *

You and I have also been found guilty of rebellion against the Holy God.

The punishment for our sins is death: “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  In essence, we were brought before the firing squad of God’s judgment: “Ready!  Aim!…”  But at just the right time pardon was offered because Someone else died in our place: God’s Son, JESUS.

Because of His love for us and in order to fulfill His Father’s will, Jesus died, not before a firing squad, but upon a cruel cross, to pay the price for our sins.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by HIS wounds YOU have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

To accept His offer of forgiveness and eternal life, we must: place our faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38).

When we truly recognize where our sins lead us (Matthew 7:13-14; Revelation 21:8), the GIFT of God (eternal life, Romans 6:23), and Who it is that provided that gift (Jesus, God’s Son), then we will truly have new life and a new perspective on life: one of eternal gratitude.

He died for us, so that we might live!                                                       — David A. Sargent; Church of Christ, Creekwood

Won’t YOU accept His offer of salvation and eternal life?


David A. Sargent, Minister

Church of Christ at Creekwood


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