If each person who professed Christ as Lord and Savior would just be faithful to God, it would make a tremendous difference for spiritual good, not only for the church, but for society at large. The Word of God is clear that faithfulness is the Christian requirement. Jesus promised, “Be you faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.”
These particular words were told to a certain congregation of New Testament people at the city of Smyrna. It is clear that He was encouraging the saints there to remain faithful to their profession of faith in Him even though their personal lives were going through some rigorous ordeals.
As a matter of fact, it is estimated that, early on after the death and resurrection of Christ, over thirteen million people were martyred for their unwavering faith in the Lord. His death and particularly His resurrection were apparently fresh in their hearts and souls, and they were willing to do what it took to demonstrate faithfulness to the Lord.
For example, Luke was faithful despite being hung from an olive tree—-he preached till he died. According to tradition, John was initially burned in oil, but it did not kill him. Because of his continuing witness to people, he was later exiled to the isle of Patmos.
Peter was crucified upside down. James was killed with a sword at Jerusalem. The other James was thrown the seventy feet to the ground from the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem. When that fall did not kill him, he started preaching again. So, they started clubbing him till he finally died.
Bartholomew was flayed alive. It is said that he preached Christ while he remained conscious. Andrew was crucified. As long as he could push himself up for breath, he pled with people watching to receive Christ.
Jude was shot to death with arrows. Thomas was speared to death. Mathias, who took Judas’ place among the disciples, was stoned to death. But, when it was remembered that Apostle Paul had once gotten up after being stoned, they cut off Mathias’ head.
Barnabas was stoned to death at Thessalonica. Paul was beheaded. Tradition relates that sixteen soldiers escorted Paul to death row, but along the way, he witnessed about Christ, and led each one to salvation.
Nonetheless, it does not matter our circumstances, God expects that those who say they have been redeemed remain faithful from the day of their salvation until the day they die. God expects you to be reliable. God expects you to be dependable. God expects you to be trustworthy, loyal, and unfailing. God wants you to keep plugging, to stay at it, to not quit regardless of the turmoil, trials, or tribulations with which you may be confronted.
However, here is the rub: sometimes we do happen to get off the faithful track. Does that mean it is all over for us? Does that mean we are done being able to make faithful spiritual contributions?
One thing I am utterly convinced about is that God gives us opportunities to start over with Him. It does not make our wrong doings right as such. But, God (according to what He says about Himself) is full of forgiveness. By way of confession and repentance, He forgives us so we can get back in the game. He forgives us so that we can demonstrate faithfulness anew.
The book of Micah confirms it where it says, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passes by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delights in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us, He will subdue our iniquities, and He will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”
In the mean time, just be faithful. With what we have to face sometimes, it is not easy. But, with the Lord’s strength, it is most certainly doable for His honor and glory.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.