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Revelation 2:10 … Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. NKJV

In church history, there was a Bishop, Polycarp by name. He was a 2nd century Bishop of Smyrna. The church in Smyrna was one of the seven churches John wrote to in his revelation.

Polycarp was a disciple of Apostle John who wrote the books of the Gospel of John, the three Epistles of John and the book of Revelation.

He was prominent among the Apostolic fathers who may have been responsible for compiling the New Testament of the Bible that we have today.

His refusal to burn incense to the Roman Emperor earned him a death sentence by burning at the stake. Tradition says the flames did not kill him so he was stabbed to death.

At the point of death, Polycarp said, “Eighty and six years I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong”, how then can I blaspheme my King and Savior? You threaten me with a fire that burns for a season, and after a little while is quenched; but you are ignorant of the fire of everlasting punishment that is prepared for the wicked”.

Miraculously, his body did not burn, so he was pierced with a sharp object. On his farewell, he said “I bless you Father for judging me worthy of this hour, so that in the company of the martyrs I may share the cup of Christ.” Profound!

Anytime I read stories of martyrs, I weigh my walk with God on a scale and I’m often found wanting. Still can’t fathom the depth of their conviction about Christ even to the point of death. Their faithfulness to Christ wasn’t just for a time but till their dying day.

I heard the story of another preacher in our day who stood against the occult in his community. He preached against their evil works and everyone knew his stand. Eventually, he took ill.

After trying several options available for his healing, he resolved to be taken to the occult he spoke against for healing. They mocked him and he died in that condition.

If you compare this man with Polycarp, there’s a whole lot of difference. One was faithful to Christ even if it meant dying while the other turned his back on Christ at the point of death because he wanted to escape death.

Can you die for what you believe? Until we get to that point where we’re convinced to the point of dying for what we believe, our resolve to follow Christ isn’t genuine.

Sometimes, I wonder If the same Gospel we are hearing today was what they heard in the Apostolic and sub apostolic era. I doubt it is the same.

The Gospel that made some of them rejoice in the face of death and still thanked God for being counted worthy to die for him, I doubt it is the same Gospel. Ours is against suffering in any form, theirs was ready for suffering as long as it was for the sake of Christ.

With the numerous churches, seminaries, many teachers and programs, to a large extent, our generation is still lacking men of conviction and those that can take their stand for Christ without compromise.

If Polycarp were to be some believers in this generation, he’ll burn incense to the Roman emperor and claim he gave to Ceasar what belonged to Ceasar.

Most times, when you hear that statement, compromise has taken place. Bishop Polycarp was faithful to the cause of Christ till the end.

He would have escaped gruesome death with a little compromise. The crown of life is only for those that can fight the good fight of faith and stay faithful to Christ to the end.

How are you running the race?

PRAYER: Father, i receive the grace to stay faithful to the end In Jesus name.