Faithfulness Is Better Than Life
“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24
It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that faithfulness is better than life.
Elects should count faithfulness to the calling of Christ as better than the comforts of life and as better than staying alive.
In Acts 20:22-25, Paul talks about his future. What Paul chooses to say is a powerful inspiration for the elects at NCCkl. I would like to answer two questions using these verses as the basis for the answers. What does it mean that faithfulness is better than life? Why is faithfulness better than life?
1. What Does It Mean That Faithfulness Is Better Than Life?
a. Elects are bound by the Spirit to the will of God. vs 22a
Faithfulness is better than life means being bound by the Holy Spirit to the will of God. Paul is a man under strong conviction and constraint, his spirit is held captive by the Spirit of God to do the will of God. Our spirit is gripped and driven by the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit has a hold of us. The will of God is our passion.
b. Elects are content not to know tomorrow in detail. vs 22b
Faithfulness is better than life means that elect are content not to know in detail what tomorrow will bring. This is tremendously freeing. If one is a pessimist, one probably dream of a dozen things a day that may go wrong tomorrow that will make one miserable. This text means that what God requires of us tomorrow is not that we have to make things work. Success in human ventures is not the measure of God on our lives. What God requires of us tomorrow is that we are to be faithful to Him and let the chips fall where He wills. That is very freeing.
c. Elects are not to forsake Christ in affliction. vs 23
Faithfulness is better than life means elects are not to forsake Christ when faithfulness means affliction. If we can honestly say with Paul that ‘faithfulness is better than life’ it will mean not only that we can be content with ignorance about tomorrow but we can also be content with the assurance that tomorrow is going to hurt. This is remarkable. The Holy Spirit tells Paul that in every city trials and afflictions awaits him. Why Paul says this? It is to teach the elects that it doesn’t matter to him, he is going forward anyway. Elects at NCCkl should do too. The question is not whether there will be hardship, pain, trouble or affliction, there will be! Paul said to all the churches in Acts 14:22, “through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom.” The question is whether we believe that faithfulness is better than life. 2 Tim 3:12
2.. Why Is Faithfulness Better Than Life?
a. Elects finishing the race vs 24
Faithfulness is better than life because faithfulness means finishing the race and the one who finishes will get the crown. In other words, faithfulness is better than life because beyond this short life there is a great life of joy that stretches out forever out into eternity. Those who are faithful here will enter that life and get a crown of righteousness. Mat 24:13; 2 Cor 4:17; Mt 19:29; John 12:25; Mt 7:13-14 Why is faithfulness better than life? It is because faithfulness means finishing the race and finishing the race means without dropping out from weariness or frustration or pleasant detours.
b. God is gracious and God is King vs 24-25
The answer is found in 2 phrases, one at the end of vs 24 and one near the end of vs 25. The first phrase is ‘the gospel of the grace of God.’ The ministry Paul wants to be faithful to is the one he received from the Lord Jesus. This is to testify to the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, which demonstrates the pure grace of God towards man’s salvation. The second phrase is ‘preaching the Kingdom’ in vs 25. Paul sums up the contents of his life work with these two phrases. First testifying to the Gospel of God’s Righteousness and second preaching the Kingdom of God. Paul lived to make known God’s grace and God’s Kingdom. Here is the answer to our question, the foundation of Paul’s life and his hope was that God is gracious and that God is King. That is the basis of our confidence that faithfulness is better than life. If God is King, then God can reward the faithful and nothing can stop Him in His kingly power.
In conclusion, the message that faithfulness is better than life stands firm today – as firm and sure of the sovereignty and grace of God in Jesus Christ. I urge the elects at NCCkl to let God’s Word and not the words of the world determine what they feel is better in their lives.