God promises us triumph for the Christian (1 Corinthians 15). There is a victory already won (even if not fully realized) for all those who are alive in Christ. One of the great promises which attends this victory of Christ is implicit in 1 Corinthians 15:58:
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
It may be true that Christians are killed for their faith, but they will never suffer loss (Luke 21:18). The second death never
hurts the Christian, and, as the exhortation of 1 Corinthians 15:58 reminds us, the believer’s work is never lost. Fashion, fame, and fortune can and will be lost, but faith in Christ never ends in vain.
I am reminded of this reality today, reading the story of Rimsha Masih. She became famous this past summer after she was accused of violating Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Rimsha, an 11 year-old suffering from some mental disabilities, was ultimately acquitted of all charges and released. Unfortunately, neither she nor her family feels safe in Pakistan. Even with her fear, she continues to persevere in good works, writing letters to religious leaders around the world (like Pope Benedict XVI) and encouraging Christians to remember those Christians who are in prison for their faith, as though in prison with them. Surely, Rimsha’s faith is on display, and her good works will abound to all eternity.
Even more encouraging, however, is the on-going work of Shahbaz Bhatti. Bhatti—at the time of his assassination—was the only Christian in the official cabinet of the Pakistani government. Before he was killed, Bhatti founded the All Pakistani Minority Alliance (APMA). It was this organization which spearheaded the efforts to save Rimsha. In addition to writing letters to Christians around the world, Rimsha has also taken time this Christmas to thank the APMA for their help in getting her released.
The APMA is now being operated by Paul Bhatti, brother of the slain founder, Shahbaz Bhatti. As Christ promised, Bhatti’s work has not proven vain. May the Lord continue to bless and multiply the good works from Christians like Masih and Bhatti.
- Pakistani mob kills ‘blasphemer’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Persecuted by militant Islam, Christianity is close to extinction in Middle East (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- Court dismisses ‘Blasphemy case’ against Rimsha Masih (wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com)