The Cross is Worth Dying For

If you’ve seen the news this week, you likely saw that ISIS released a propaganda video Sunday showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya – “the people of the cross,” as ISIS describes them.

Many of us saw the news and felt shock, hurt, and deep sadness tangled up inside of us. There are so many questions, so much we want to ask as we mourn the lives of these men.

While there is no blog post that can do this topic justice or accurately celebrate these lives, I was reminded by these men that the cross is worth dying for. No matter what persecution or suffering awaits us, we are all better off not renouncing our faith, even if our lives here on earth will end. It is better to suffer for doing good, as 1 Peter 3 reminds us.

Paul, reflecting on his imprisonment in Philippians 1, says this:

“…it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Paul knew that his life was not his own. Seeking comfort or success or even his next breath was not what his life was about – it was about the advancement of God’s kingdom, so that God would be glorified.

The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life (Psalm 63:3). These 21 men must have believed that. They had discovered that the cross is much better than anything the world can offer. They are now rejoicing in Christ’s presence.

No matter what happens to the Christian, our souls cannot be killed, because we are kept and we are guarded by God. May we all believe with confidence in the promises of Scripture – that those who are “faithful unto death… [will receive] the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). His promises go beyond death, and carry us into eternity. May we cling to Jesus throughout the rest of our days.

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