Living in Faith in a Broken World
Jesus said: “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
Our trials are enormous in these extraordinary days. The devastating consequences of sin and the brokenness of creation are everywhere. The members of Christ’s Body, His church, are never immune to such afflictions.
It takes a resurrected Jesus authoritatively to instruct us: “Stop with the fear of future suffering.” Repent; do not fear what man can do to you in merely killing your body, but fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell (Matt. 10:28). “The fear of the LORD” — not fear of an earthly death — “is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). Your worrying is misdirected and dangerous. Anxiety over this earthly life is a contradiction of your faith in the Word of God, the very thing by which you, the righteous, live unto eternal life.
Jesus speaks of being faithful — despite all miseries, grief and persecution — to a first death, the death of your body. The baptized faithful who stand on such faith unto a first death will in no way be troubled by the threat of a second, that is, eternal separation from God.
Adam ate of the forbidden tree, which brought the possibility of this second death upon all who followed. But the tree of the cross flourished by the water and blood that flowed from those holy wounds inflicted upon the Son of Man. Christ the Lord caused the firstfruits of salvation to sprout up in the fallen creation, the very place where sin and evil had arisen, announcing a blessing in peace to His disciples beforehand: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
There is no better time than now for the church to redouble her commitment to God’s mission in Christ.
Explore the issue and see for yourself.
Rev. Kevin D. Robson
Chief Mission Officer, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod