A Biblical Perspective on Martyrdom: Christ be Magnified

Last week I asked the question, “What about the others?” What about those, who unlike Said Musa, are not delivered from martyrdom? How do we come to a Biblical understanding of their deaths?

In prison, facing death, Paul said “my earnest expectation and hope…is that…whether by life or by death, Christ shall be magnified.” (Philippians 1.20)

God’s ultimate delight is in His glory, and His purpose is to glorify Himself. Paul had come to the place that his delight was God’s delight. It did not matter whether he lived or died, if Christ was magnified, he considered himself to have been delivered.

Is it possible for God to get glory through death rather than life? Consider John 12:23.

“Jesus answered, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.”

His “hour” was the time of His passion. The hour of His death was the hour of His glory. Later, in the same passage He expresses the turmoil of His soul and its consolation.

“Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify your name.”

The Father received glory through the obedient death of His son. Is it not possible that He might also get glory through the death of a believer?

The surrendered life of a believer focuses on the glory of God as the highest achievement. That is what enables Paul to say in Romans 14,

“For none of us lives to himself, and no man dies to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”

For the believer who yields all for the glory of God, dying for their faith is not failure on God’s part. It is simply the means He has chosen to declare His glory.

For the rest of us . . .
Some are called to die for God’s glory. All are called to live for it.

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