Thursday, July 25, 2019

Forever Changed


     A new era in naval warfare began on March 9th, 1862, between two armored warships referred to during the Civil War as Ironclads.  Months earlier, Confederate forces had begun to repair and refit a captured Union warship abandoned in Norfolk harbor, formerly called the USS Merrimack.  The Confederate Navy proudly christened their new vessel the CSS Virginia.  She was covered with heavy iron plating and bristling with large cannons.  
On March 8th, the newly equipped Virginia steamed into the waters off Hampton Roads and had its first taste of battle.  It was an overwhelming victory.  Within a few short hours, the Virginia had sunk the wood-hulled Union USS Cumberland, forced the frigate USS Congress to surrender, and drove a heavily damaged USS Minnesota to run aground. As evening fell, the Virginia retired to make repairs and ready itself for the morning when it would complete the destruction of the Minnesota.  Little did the North or South realize that a historical event would occur that next day.

In the early morning light, a newly, but hastily designed, Federal warship appeared on the horizon.  It was called the USS Monitor and looked like a flatiron with a round cheese wheel on top.  It had only two guns in a revolving turret, but was also completely clad with solid iron plating.  Within the hour, the two ships were engaged. After hours of pounding away at each other, mostly at close range, neither side could overcome the other.  History has now determined that this first battle between these two ironclad juggernauts was inconclusive.   However, one fact did come out of the battle.  Almost overnight, every wooden ship in every navy around the globe was now obsolete.

The words of John the Baptist were the warning shots to the World that something was about to change,  "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World." John 1:29.  The Apostle Paul reemphasized the fact,  "In Whom we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His Glory." Ephesians 1:7

Even more profound, are the words of Christ uttered from the Cross, "It is finished.", as He shed His blood for the sins of the World.  At that moment things changed forever!  Up until that time, Mankind's way of reaching up to God, and atoning for their own sinfulness was by their own weak, hopeless efforts, and sacrifices.  Like the battle of the first ironclads, which changed the world forever, so Christ's atoning Death, changed man's way of finding forgiveness forever.  "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by His mercy He has saved us...which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior."  Titus 3:5

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