General Pershing's Parade


What is God's rule for entry into Heaven? It is that we shall measure up to His glory and be as perfect as He is.

In a certain mountain village about a hundred miles from Paris, a group of American soldiers, consisting of a lieutenant and about forty men, guarded an ammunition dump. The lieutenant received permission to go on leave for two weeks, and he left the group in charge of the master sergeant.

A few days afterwards a motorcycle messenger rode in from General Pershing's headquarters stating that 2,700 men were to be chosen to march in the peace parades of London, Paris, Brussels and Rome. But as they read the order, they discovered that there were two conditions imposed as standards for selection. The first brought them no difficulty, for it stated that every candidate had to have a clean record - no man would be chosen who had been court martialed. But the second condition gave them pause. The order stated that every man applying had to be at least one meter and eighty­-six centimeters tall.

The corporal looked at the sergeant and the sergeant looked at the corporal and then one of them asked how much one meter and eighty­-six centimeters was. There was no answer. Then the corporal said, "At any rate, Sarge, I am taller than you."

When mess time came and the news spread around the group, it was the same thing over again. No one knew the metric system. The men got into an argument as to their relative heights, and soon they were standing up, back to back, to see who was the tallest man in the company. Finally, they knew their comparative heights, all the way from Slim down to Shorty.

The officer returned, heard the news, and asked if there were any candidates. The sergeant replied, "The trouble is, Sir, that we do not know what one meter and eighty­-six centimeters is." The lieutenant knew enough French to go out into the village and bring back a meter measure. Soon a mark of the required height was made on the wall. Now the men no longer measured themselves against themselves. They measured against a mark on the wall that was unchanged and un­changeable according to the orders from headquarters. One or two men backed up to the mark, and their companions told them that they were an inch or so short of the requirement. Some men merely looked at the mark and knew that there was no hope. Finally a call was made for Slim and he came to be measured. He puffed himself up to his greatest pos­sible height and stood there, rigid and swollen as they measured him.  When the ordeal was ended, it was discovered that he, too, was short, even though he was short by no more than a quarter of an inch.

Of course, General Pershing got his 2,700 men. I saw them that day when they came under the Arch of Triumph on Bastille Day, the fourteenth of July, in what must have been one of the greatest parades of all history. These men, all in new uniforms, with American Beauty roses tied to their bayonets, made a proud sight as they marched down the Champs Elysees, each one of them 186 centimeters tall at least­ more than 6 feet one­ and­ a­ fifth inches.

The rule God has made for entry into heaven is that men shall measure up to His glory and be as perfect as He. This rigorous stan­dard is to be found expressed throughout the Bible, and it is to be found exemplified in the man, Christ Jesus. The Old Testament was built around the command of God: " shall be holy; for I am holy..." (Leviticus 11:44).

“Do you suppose, O man - you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself - that you will escape the judgment of God?” Romans 2:3

1. What “standards” do men set up to determine right and wrong or entrance into heaven?
2. Are the standards you set up for your life in agreement with God’s Biblical standards?
3. Why is the gift of imputed righteousness so necessary for salvation?

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