"Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life." (See Revelation 2:8-11).
These are words Jesus spoke to a church that was undergoing extreme pressure. The Lord foretold the imprisonment of some of these believers. He comforted them greatly. Here is His promise to them, "You be faithful, even to the death, because then I will give you the crown of LIFE." Amazing! They die, and Christ gives them life. That is His promise.
The next verse continues:
"He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; he that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death." (2:11). Even though Christ's people may die in poverty, torment, pain, perhaps executed for their faith, the promise is that "he who overcomes will not be hurt of the second death." Why not? Because Christ "was dead, and is alive" (2:8), and He holds the keys to death and hell (Rev. 1:18). No one who remains faithfully believing, trusting, relying on Him will suffer the second death, since Jesus already tasted it and overcame on their behalf when He suffered on the cross and rose the third day.
These Christians were dirt poor. They were not liked by their neighbors. People in the world did not look at them as just "nice people," they hated them and rejected their faith. But these Christians were rich beyond measure. They had eternal life, because they had the love of God in His Son, Jesus Christ. Do you have this wealth of grace and love? What is your heart set on, this world, or the promise of Life?
Thinking on these things is stirring me up to talk a little on evangelism. By God's grace, maybe next time. But for now, does the love of Christ cause you to pity those who do not have these promises? If so, please join me in prayer that God would raise up laborers to go into the harvest.
Grace, peace and love be with all who love our great God and King.