Friday, April 4, 2008

The Gospel in Revelation

When I first became a Christian I remember how difficult it was for me to read the book of Revelation. My brothers used to discuss the rapture and pre-millennialism and I would simply tune them out saying that there were more important things for me to think about. As I was reading through Revelation recently I was struck with how important it is to read this book. Often people skip over it because of the interpretive difficulties, or think that it is irrelevant to us today, or even spend an unnecessary amount of time trying to chart out the exact date of when Jesus is coming back. But what stood out to me was not the interpretations of the visions, or the meaning of the imagery, but the fact that this book has everything to do with us today—with me right now. Not only is it a sobering reminder to me that Christ is coming back, but it reminds me that with his return will come his judgment. And this judgment will fall on all of those who refuse to repent and believe in Jesus Christ.

It is a hard challenge that exhorts me to care about lost people, because apart from this Christ they will face eternal judgment that our King will bring in that day. The book of Revelation should push me to evangelize because I know that these words that John is writing are true. There is a coming judgment, and it is as awful as God says it will be, and it will fall on all who do not know Christ. It also should make me weep, knowing that there will be some who never believe who will bow to Jesus under compulsion, not in worship. This is sad, indeed.

It should also make me thankful that Christ even saved me at all. Apart from his work in taking the judgment that I deserved on himself, I am just like the seven churches—lukewarm, sinful, and utterly lost. My thankfulness should not be in boasting, but in humility. It is not because of anything that I have done but by the sovereign mercy of our living God. This thankfulness has everything to do with how I live my every day life. I live for the coming King and his Kingdom, not for this world.

We can’t read Revelation and be unaffected. . If we are in Christ the marriage supper of the Lamb is about us (Revelation 19:6-9), and the judgment is about our lost friends. This book, like every other book in the Bible is holy, right, and true. Everything that it says will come to pass, we can know that for certain. And it should move us to witness to the lost people around us. It should move us to go to the nations and spread the Gospel of our Christ. All because our earnest prayer is that we want the ones who bow on that day to bow in worship, not under compulsion and anger and judgment.

1 comment:

debt said...

Amen, Courtney! Really thought through this alot this past weekend in New York City. There are believers there doing what they can, by the grace of God, to reach that city for Christ. It is a place where sin is in full view and with no shame. We should pray for our brothers and sisters there who are in that battlefield, that they would stand strong and firm in the truth and that men and women would repent and believe. Good reminder!