“Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die.” - John 11:25
When God removes the eternal risk of punishment for our sin, He calls us to a life of temporary risk now. As Christ followers, the final risk of hell and separation from God has been taken away forever. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ (Romans 8:39). When the threat of death is no longer a horrific ending but a whole new beginning, the final barrier to full surrender is torn down. There is no greater hope than this, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
With His promises of everlasting joy, Jesus unleashed an army of risk-takers…disciples who are willing to pray for their persecutors, love their enemies, and serve the least. He initiated a movement of grace that is so powerful it will never be stopped. In fact, the Church has proven to flourish when persecuted. Christ calls us to make disciples of all nations. This includes dictatorships and war zones, hostile and dangerous countries. His call involves risk. It was risky for His followers 2,000 years ago; and it is risky today.
This calling is contradictory to how most of us try to live. We tend to work to maximize comfort and security now, with little thought of heaven – except that we will get in. We follow, however, a long line of biblical risk-takers – men and women who were willing to risk it all for the cause of Christ. Esther broke the law to save her people. Daniel prayed despite the threat of punishment. Paul continued to preach the Gospel in prison. The list goes on and on. This is our legacy, our example to follow. Were these people perfect? No, but they were willing.
In A History of Christian Missions, Stephen Neil said about early believers, “Every Christian knew that sooner or later he might have to testify to his faith at the cost of his life.” Risk was normal. It was expected. And yet, thousands did it. Why? Because they believed that if they lost their life for Christ’s sake, they would truly find it (Matthew 16:25).
Do you believe that to die is gain? Do you believe that losing your life means really finding it? Are you storing up treasures in heaven or on earth? In the United States and around the world, the cost of following Christ will continue to rise. Are you ready to risk it all?
Dear Father, Give me the boldness and confidence to risk everything for Your kingdom and Your purposes. Help me to remember that for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.