All of Us Martyrs

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

12 Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God.  Stand firm in it (1 Peter 5)!

Yet another word used only by Peter is this word for “testifying,” where he takes a common word and adds the preposition “unto” to it. The root word is “martureo”)—the verb form from which we get our word for “martyr.” When Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin, the High Priest asked, “What need more do we have of witnesses” (Matthew 26:65)? Matthew’s word for “witness” here is “martyr.”  

I’ve always liked this word. To testify, or to be a witness means to be a martyr—certainly not wishing to die, yet being willing to die for the testimony one is giving. Thus, in the biblical sense, every follower of Christ must be a martyr. Peter ends with the exhortation to “stand firm in it”—that is, in this “true grace of God.” I’m reminded of Martin Luther’s final words of testimony at the Diet at Worms 495 years ago, when He stood firm (at least in part) upon the doctrine of salvation by grace alone: “Here I stand, I can do no other.  God help me.” Not a bad example for us.

Lord, help us stand firm This Day upon Your grace, willing to give our lives, if necessary, as true witnesses of it. Amen.