He Died In My Place

By Gary D. Perry

It was a hot day in South Vietnam in the summer of 1968. I was a young infantry soldier who had been there for three weeks and was beginning only my second day in combat. It was early in the morning when we broke camp. My squad was the last to leave as we walked single file through the jungle. I was the last man until a more “experienced” young soldier came to me and said, “You haven’t been here long enough to bring up the rear, go ahead and move up the line.” So I yielded my position to him and moved until I was three men from the rear. A few minutes later, as we proceeded down a hillside, gunshots rang out. We all took cover and began returning fire. But it was too late the sniper was gone, he had accomplished his purpose. He had killed the last man in the squad.

At the time I was a scared 20-year-old with a whole year of war ahead of me. I found it hard to believe that this young man, who didn’t even know me, took my position and died in my place. As the year went by I had many other close calls and considered myself lucky to get home alive in July of 1969. Over the years I have tried not to think too much about the Vietnam War, but I thought I would al-ways remember the young man who died in my place. But now almost 30 years later I am ashamed to admit that I have for- of God, who died not only for me gotten his name.

There is another man, the Son of God, who died not only for me but for each one of us. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but There is another man, the Son to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us …” (1 Thess. 5:9-10). We par-take of the Lord’s supper upon the first day of each week so we won’t forget him. As Jesus said, “this do in remembrance of me.” Even so there are many who do forget Jesus and what he did for them. Even when Jesus was here on earth some of his followers chose to forget him, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:66-68).

Likewise there are many to-day who were Christians, who have heard the words of eternal life and have gone back into the world. They have fallen away, they have forgotten Christ and what he did for them, ” . . . they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:6). Let us never forget “our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us,” “the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

Guardian of Truth XL: No. 15, p. 6
August 1, 1996