The Messenger - November/December 09


The Piper Alpha Disaster



On 6th July 1988, one hundred and sixty seven men aboard the North Sea platform perished in what remains the world’s worst offshore disaster. Just before 10pm on the night of the tragedy, a major gas leak was followed by fire and a series of explosions. The intense heat ruptured a gas pipeline from another platform causing another massive explosion and fireball that engulfed Piper Alpha. It all took just 22 minutes. The memories of that horrendous event are etched indelibly in the minds of the survivors, many of whom bear scars as vivid reminders of a night they would prefer to forget. How thankful those men are that they were saved. Some had tried to escape by plunging some 200 feet into the cold waters of the North Sea but perished.


It is always heartening to hear of people being saved from disasters, especially those dramatic rescues of people for whom hopes were fading and the likelihood of finding anyone alive were very slender.

Dear reader, are you saved? But you say, “I am not in any danger; thankfully I have never been involved in any catastrophes and I don’t need to be saved.” The Bible says: “we must be saved” Acts 4.12. But why? It is because of our sin – we were all born in sin and throughout our lives we practise sin that must be punished by a holy God. Our sins have accumulated and God has recorded every one. If these sins are not dealt with righteously, we must bear the consequences. They must be forgiven and we must be pardoned or face eternal punishment, in hell and eternally in the lake of fire. How dreadful the thought!


Probably your next question is: “But, does that not conflict with the fact that God is a God of love as I have always been taught?” Absolutely not! God has devised a plan whereby the punishment we all deserved was borne by another. You may ask, “Who would be able or willing to take our place and become answerable for our misdeeds? Who would care sufficiently to volunteer to bear such a penalty?” There was only One who loved us enough to suffer in our stead and He alone could exhaust the fearful judgment that must otherwise have been our portion forever; He is God’s eternal Son. He left heaven, came to earth and after a perfect life He was nailed to the cross at Calvary and bore the punishment for sins He had not committed and paid the enormous price demanded for our pardon. The Bible confirms this in many places; “Christ died for our sins” 1Corinthians 15.3: “Christ died for the ungodly” Romans 5.6; “Christ died for us” Romans 5.8; “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God…” 1Peter 3.18; “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities …” Isaiah 53.5. At the end of those agonising hours, He cried out, “It is finished!” and died, John 19.30. Three days later God raised His Son from the dead to display His complete satisfaction with the work He accomplished.


Because of that one unparalleled act of sacrificial love, God can righteously offer a free and full pardon to all who are prepared to believe this message, acknowledge their guilt and trust alone the Saviour Who died in our stead. He asks for no favours in return, He demands no payment in exchange; He asks only that you accept the free gift of salvation and thank the Giver.


Then you will be saved! The Bible again confirms this: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” Acts 16.31. Your name will be inscribed in the register of those who escaped eternal damnation - BUT “whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” Revelation 20.15.



Reproduced from "Assembly Testimony" obtainable from W. Neill,
109 Lurgan Road, Banbridge, BT32 4NG, N. Ireland


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