Who are Living Martyrs?

By David Witt


In a nutshell, a living martyr is a credible witness for Christ–one who will not compromise their faith in Jesus and His work. Jesus Himself and His disciples risk and sacrifice much for the love and work of God.

How is it possible to be a living martyr — alive and at the same time departed?

The Scriptures articulate, historically and currently, that there are millions of Christians who live with integrity at great cost with their very souls upon the altar. We call them living martyrs. They are God’s children who love God more than their own lives.

What About the Name Spirit of Martyrdom International?

Our ministry’s name may sound strange to most people; intentionally, it honors the living martyrs. Many modern Christian faith heroes are working in the global 40 percent population who are most restricted and least-reached with the gospel. Yet, only 3 percent of Christendom’s total resources are devoted to assisting them.

Even more foreign to Americans is saying you have a martyr’s spirit. The flesh of man does not want to die to its own will. The Scriptures are clear that death to the old man is necessary to qualify to receive a martyr’s crown and the robe of righteousness, which are the Heavenly Father’s rewards. The will of humankind must surrender entirely to the will of God.

Where is the Word Martyr in Scripture?

The word for martyr in Scripture comes from the Greek word martus, which is used 34 times in the New Testament Greek manuscript. Most of the time, martus is translated as a witness. A clean witness is one who will not compromise their testimony even in the face of persecution. More often, in the New Testament, the martyrs are living witnesses, not yet being given the testimony of a martyr’s death.

Consider the list of those listed as martyrs (martus) in the Word of God: God (1 Thessalonians 2:5), Jesus (Revelation 1:5), Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32), the disciples still living during the Church age (Acts 2:32), the Apostle John who was the one apostle not to die a violent death (Acts 1:22), Stephen (Acts 22:20), all those who faithfully lived for God during the Old Testament age (Hebrews 12:1), and anyone who was a credible witness (Matthew 18:16). Again, martyrs in Scripture are listed both as those who had died for Christ and those living for Christ.

Are We Living Martyrs?

Therefore, when SOM International uses the term living martyrs, we give tribute to all the saints throughout history whose testimonies still inspire us. We are giving honor to the courageous witness of global Christians today serving in restricted regions. Lastly, we are appealing to the American Body of Christ– join the living martyrs by committing to risk much for Jesus.