Is the Gospel Dearer Than Your Life?

Posted on February 3, 2021

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By David Ettinger

A Loaded Question
Well, that’s a loaded question! It’s another way of saying, “Are you willing to die for the Gospel?” If someone were to ask me that question theoretically, of course I would say, “Yes.” But what if someone put a loaded gun to my head, what would I say? I know what I’d like to say, but I don’t know if I would answer as I should.

Perhaps you are similar.

Why such thoughts? I was reading the Book of Acts where Paul says: “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of God’s grace” (20:24).

How selfless! And no, Paul didn’t have a gun pressed against his head, but he was facing potential death because of his witness for Christ.

The Background
Paul had spent 2-plus years in Ephesus (Acts 19:8-10), and was now saying farewell to his friends and fellow workers. Paul knew God had commissioned him for this vital work, and he could now leave with a clean conscious. He said:

… I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was beneficial, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:20-21).

But now it was time to leave Ephesus, and Jerusalem was next. Jerusalem would be tough as the majority of the Jewish populace would be harsh toward Paul and his message of salvation in Christ. Recognizing this, he said:

And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that chains and afflictions await me (vv. 22-23).

Paul could never be accused of wearing rose-colored glasses. He knew sharing the Gospel was spiritual battle of the most intense – and dangerous – kind, and that it could well cost him his life. However, he was not one to shrink back.

Paul’s Commitment
Paul’s commitment to the Gospel was no secret. In Philippians 1:18, noting how the Gospel was being preached both sincerely and by those trying to gain from it, he said: “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in this I rejoice.”

A few verses down, Paul talked about the conflict storming within him, that being his preference to die and be with Christ for eternity, or to remain in this life and preach the Gospel. He wrote: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me …”

Preaching the Gospel was Paul’s passion. Is it no wonder he declared: “… I am under compulsion; for woe to me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16)?

And is it also no wonder that when faced with potential death for sharing the Gospel, Paul told his Ephesian friends in Acts 20:24: “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of God’s grace”?

So what about you? Is the Gospel dearer to you than your life? As I mentioned above, I hope I believe this, but if my life were on the line, what would I do?

I don’t know. What would you do?