2 Corinthians 4:12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
From our suffering can come encouragement and new spiritual change in others. Paul and his ministry companions (the “us”) experienced many difficult situations, even coming to the point of threatening their lives. Some early Christians did lose their lives, like Stephen and James. Many others would follow this same outcome. Today, there are thousands of Christians every year who are martyred for their faith. We hear very little about this. Even more experience arrests and harassment. All believers, if they are genuine fully committed followers of Jesus, will experience harassment, ridicule, rejection, or psychological stress for their faith.
This model of total commitment, even to the point of suffering death, is a powerful testimony and encouragement to others. The testimonies of those who have given their lives for the sake of the gospel point the way to others. The “life” that is produced in others is the life of Christ, the sanctified and dedicated life. It is the new covenant transformation of which Paul writes in 3:18 and the new creation in 5:17. The right kind of death will bring new life. The type of death Paul faced was the evidence of his deep faith. Thus, our faith can produce new life in others. Others are watching how we respond to the challenge in our lives. We can either disappoint them and push them away from Jesus or be faithful to our decision as disciples.
For older posts, click here.