Insights From Cole Richards, President Of The Voice Of The Martyrs, On Our Call to martyrdom

The following reflection is written by Cole Richards, President of The Voice of the Martyrs. In this insightful passage, he dives into the call to martyrdom every Christian has received from Christ.

Persecution has been part of the experience of serving and following God from the beginning of human history. Abel, the second human born into God’s new creation, was killed for his faith and obedience by his brother Cain. In response, God told Cain that his brother’s blood was “crying to me from the ground” as a testimony against Cain’s sin (Genesis 4:10). Only a perfect blood sacrifice could redeem the sin of mankind, and the writer of Hebrews points out that the blood of Christ declares a better testimony than that of the blood of Abel (12:24). Abel’s blood cries out for justice and vengeance, whereas the blood of Christ cries out for forgiveness and redemption.

Our Lord’s death is the completed work of our salvation: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). He bled to save us from our sins, and we cannot add anything to what he has done to set us free. However, we are called to sacrificially serve Christ and glorify God by bringing this message to everyone, everywhere — at any cost. Any sacrifice we make, including shedding our blood, will not add to Christ’s work on the cross, but he has ordained that we must sometimes spill our blood to proclaim his message to a lost world.

In his work Apologeticus (ca. A.D. 200), the early church leader and author Tertullian wrote, “The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow: the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” This paints a powerful picture of reaping during a harvest. Persecutors cut us down as a harvester takes a sickle to grain, but our blood is seeding the church’s future growth.

The word martyr has overwhelmingly taken on the meaning of its second biblical usage: those who have been killed for their faith and witness (note Revelation 6:9). But the word’s first use in Scripture simply means “witness.” Christ instructed his followers to be his witnesses (martyrs) “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We can synthesize the Scripture’s teaching to understand that we are all called to be Christ’s faithful witnesses and to pay any price necessary to do so.

As Christ’s disciples, we are not extremists who seek death. Rather, we seek to faithfully obey Christ Jesus our Lord. We do not seek to die for him, but rather to serve him at any cost. We do so with the assurance that if we must suffer or even die, our blood will cry out as a witness to the blood he shed for us and for our persecutors. The martyrs in this magazine are precious to the Lord; they are a treasure to us who are inspired by their examples; and they are crucial to drawing the lost to Christ. Their blood cries out.

Their Blood Cries Out
Categories: Stories from the Field

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