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Faithful Unto Death

The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, England, has a painting of a Roman soldier faithfully standing guard in ancient Pompeii. The painting was inspired by an archaeological discovery in Pompeii of an ashen-encased Roman soldier in full military gear. The volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in ad 79 covered that city in lava, capturing the people and their culture in a moment of time. The painting Faithful Unto Death is a testimony to the sentinel’s continuing vigil even as his world was being engulfed in fiery death.

The church at Smyrna—a first-century congregation that suffered persecution for Christ—was challenged to be faithful unto death. Their spiritual commitment had not gone unnoticed by the Master (Rev. 2:9). And for the suffering that was to come, Jesus offered this encouragement: “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested . . . . Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (v.10).

The Lord understands what we are going through now and what we will face in the future. Though there’s suffering in this world, He promises eternal life to His children. In His strength we can be faithful unto death (Phil. 4:12-13).

Though the stress and strain of life
My thread of faith may break,
The cable of God’s faithfulness
No storm can ever shake. —Anon.
Our faith may be tested so that we may trust His faithfulness.