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Why should Christians be faithful until death, and what does that mean (Revelation 2:10)?

be faithful until death

In Jesus’ letter to the church of Smyrna, He warns the believers there that they are about to face extreme hardship, encouraging them to remain steadfast: “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, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10, NKJV). Christians can persevere and be faithful until death or whatever else comes their way because God is faithful and His promises sustain.

In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus warned His disciples that, as the end times draw near, believers would face hatred, false teaching, a rampantly sinful culture, and persecution to the point of death (Matthew 24:9–14). But He also promised, “The one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13). Christians who stand firm to the end and are faithful until death show they are genuine children of God. Our salvation is not dependent on our ability to remain saved but on the One who is faithful to save us. The Lord guarantees the fulfillment of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13–14).

Revelation 2:8–11 instructs the believers at Smyrna not to fear the persecution they would suffer and calls them to be faithful until death. The call for Christians to be faithful until death does not imply that salvation can be lost if they are unfaithful. But being faithful even to the point of death does provide evidence that salvation is real. The Bible teaches that those who are born again are saved forever because God is faithful. In John 10:27–30, Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Believers are eternally secure because God is eternally faithful.

Believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:22) and have His power working in them to enable them to stand firm through all of life’s difficulties (Romans 14:4; Jude 1:24–25). The Christians at Smyrna were facing intense persecution, and Jesus foretold they would face further persecution. He instructed the believers not to fear what they would suffer and called them to be faithful until death. In His earthly ministry, Jesus similarly instructed believers: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). People can kill the body, but no one can take away the eternal life that God has given believers. This truth fills believers with hope and gives them strength to be faithful until death.

It is possible for Christians to be faithful until death and not to fear because of God’s enablement. God’s faithfulness assures us that what He promises is guaranteed (Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 145:13) and strengthens us when we face hardships. Although difficulties even until death may come, Jesus promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He also tenderly cares for us (see Matthew 10:29–31). Ultimately, God promises to give believers life as their victor’s crown (Revelation 2:10). Jesus promised us abundant life for now (John 10:10) and eternal life in the future. These promises, tied to God’s faithfulness, fuel Christians to be faithful until death.

As Christians we are not promised to be kept from persecution or difficulty, but we are promised to be kept in and through it. God is faithful; therefore, we, His people, can be faithful until death. Because of God’s faithful promises to us, we can say, “I will not fear; what can man do to me?” no matter what we face (Hebrews 13:5–6).

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Questions about Revelation

Why should Christians be faithful until death, and what does that mean (Revelation 2:10)?
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This page last updated: May 2, 2024