“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
These words were spoken to the church in Smyrna. They were encouraged to, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer.” The church would endure great suffering. Some would be imprisoned. Our Lord exhorted the members of this persecuted church with a direct charge to be “faithful unto death.” No matter what comes, be faithful. What a tremendous challenge, but also what a great promise to this body of believers.
As always, we can see that this is a message needed in our churches today. It is easier for us to be faithful when things are going well and blessings are obvious. It is another thing, indeed, to be faithful when we are tested and tried and are facing great difficulty. And yet, our wonderful Savior urges us to be faithful in all circumstances. We are to remain faithful to Jesus, faithful to our duties, and faithful to His Word even if it costs us dearly.
Thank God for the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was faithful to His Father and His mission. He was faithful all the way to the cruel cross. Nothing could keep Him from presenting Himself as the sinless sacrifice for the sins of the world. He was “faithful unto death.”
This reminds us of the faithful soldiers of Christ who have stood strong for the doctrines of the Word of God, and who have stood against error and compromise. Facing great adversity and persecution, many thousands have been “faithful unto death.” We, too, are called to be “faithful unto death.” This command includes a promise. The fact that we are required to be “faithful unto death” means it is possible. God would not expect something of us that we could not satisfy. Because He orders it, we can know that He will strengthen and enable us to fulfill it.
It is safe to assume that there are those who are convinced that the command to be “faithful unto death” is unreasonable and impossible. However, they are wrong. We can be faithful to our Lord, His Word, our responsibilities, and our church until He comes for us or death calls us home. And when that happens, He has promised us “a crown of life.” We can be assured that our faithfulness will be rewarded.