The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this: … “Do not fear suffering. As you are tested, be faithful even to death, and I will give you the crown of life. Those who conquer will not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 2:8–11
Truth in advertising: In the gospel of the glory of Christ that Paul preached, he warned new believers that they must not be moved by the afflictions they would suffer if they pledged allegiance to Jesus. “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” This includes us, today. These tests of our faithfulness are not outside of the will of God, “for God granted to us not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him.” Others might “intend evil” when they persecute us, but “God intends it for good.” Even if we stare death in the face, as many of God’s people have done—Joseph, David, Jehoshaphat, Jeremiah, Daniel, Esther, Nehemiah, to name a few—we need not fear. Before his crucifixion Jesus told his disciples, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Why would he make such a bold assertion? Because he anticipated his own resurrection, by which he would gain the authority and power to reward those who love him with the crown that is eternal life. It’s painful enough to die once. Maintaining our love for Jesus will keep us from experiencing it again … forever.
Resurrected Lord, keep our love for eternal fellowship with you stronger than our attachment to the things of this world.