2Cor 5 Some long for riches and fame, which pass away as a cloud moves across the sky. Some long for a richer and more fulfilled life. Some like Paul, Polycarp, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer longed to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. All three faced martyrdom, and their lives speak to us from the grave of the truths found in God’s Word. Each had a life journey, and each found peace when the day came for their entrance into glory. What makes heroes of the faith?
Like Paul they chose to “walk by faith, not by sight..” [2Cor 5:7] making it “our ambition to please Christ.” [2Cor 5:9 author phrasing] All of these men saw and followed the example of the risen Christ. The author of Hebrews says, “the world was not worthy of them.” [Heb 11:38]They, along with the Hall of the faithful of Hebrews 11, are our spiritual heroes.
Polycarp, when faced with imminent death, replied Christ, “has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” Being led to the gallows, Bonhoeffer’s last words were, “This is the end–for me, [but] the beginning of life.”
Our purpose now as then is to be an ambassador for Christ who became “sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” [2Cor 5:21]
Are we prepared as they were?