Consistent with the Gospel
By Dan Qurollo
Early in the history of the church, believers were committed to the spread of the Gospel. Evangelism was never regarded as something in which only church leaders or a handful of individuals were to engage; rather, they determined as individuals to share the good news of what God had done in their own life. Their personal testimony and love for God compelled them to share the Gospel, regardless of the cost. For some, the sacrifice was their life.
One such individual was a man named Polycarp, a pastor in the city of Smyrna. He found himself standing before the proconsul who demanded that he recant his faith in Christ. He responded, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” The threats escalated to the point he was threatened with wild beasts, but he remained undaunted. They then threatened him with fire to which he answered: “Thou threatenest me with fire which burneth for an hour, and after a little is extinguished, but art ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment.” With that, he was sentenced to burn at the stake. But the fire would not burn him. Out of exasperation, they pierced him with a dagger. He was praised not primarily for his courage but because his death was “altogether consistent with the Gospel of Christ.”
The writer of Hebrews describes in detail those whom we often describe as the “Hall of Faith.” These were men and women who chose to believe in God despite the circumstances in which they found themselves. These individuals remained convinced that God would do that which He promised He would do, regardless of whether or not it was done in their lifetime. Therefore, they continued to trust Him. In some cases, individuals died for what they believed.
Their passion for Christ compelled them to remain courageous amid persecution. Even in the presence of the threats of pain and torture and the adverse circumstance, they all remained true and faithful. Even in their deaths, their lives were regarded as consistent with the message they sought to proclaim.
What about you? To date, we have not been asked to die for Him, but we have been asked to live for Him. When people observe your life, do they see a life consistent with the message you proclaim? Or is it a life filled with inconsistencies? Let’s determine to live lives consistent with the Gospel.