Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 5:49 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 21 (Select vv. ESV).
The Holy City (vv. 1-4)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
When God first created man and woman, they were without sin and in perfect fellowship with their creator God. But, then they sinned against God, and, as a result, all humans have been born into sin, in the image of Adam (Ro. 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-49). “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” (Ro. 5:12). With all of this also came pain, sickness and suffering. And, yet, because God loved us so much, he sent his Son Jesus Christ to the earth to take on human form, to suffer as we suffer, to be tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin, and to die on a cross for our sins so that we could go free from the penalty of sin, free from slavery to sin, and be set free to walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, resulting in eternal life with God (Ro. 6:20-23).
Yet, while we walk the face of this earth, though through faith in Jesus Christ we have been set free from our slavery to (the control of) sin, we still have the propensity to sin, and we are still tempted to sin, and we are still impacted by the sins of others. We still go through pain and suffering. Yet, one day, when Jesus Christ returns to take us to be with him forever, sin will be out of the picture, as will pain and suffering. Amen! The suffering and pain we go through now will be no more. The tears we now shed over our loved ones, and over the lost and the deceived of this world, and when we are hurt by others, or when we are in pain and suffering, will be wiped away. No longer will anyone die. We will no longer suffer the rejection and/or persecution of others, but we will be fully loved and accepted. Amen!
All Things New (vv. 5-8)
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
I like the idea of “all things new,” don’t you? I am thankful for the life God has given me on this earth, don’t get me wrong, but oh, how I long for the day when all things will be made new. The things I weep over now will be no more. It pains me deeply to see so many people, especially those who claim to have faith in Jesus Christ, being led astray by sin’s deceitfulness. So many people are walking in darkness, and can’t see the light of truth, because Satan has blinded their eyes. So many people, who say they are Christians, are living not much different from the world. God is not much on their radar, at all, i.e. he barely gets an honorable mention. Their minds and lives are filled with the pleasures of this world, and not with the things of God.
One of the things that pains me deeply is seeing so many people being taught a false gospel of salvation which does not deliver people out of slavery to sin, but leaves them still bound in sin, without God, and without hope. They are being taught that a mere acknowledgment of Christ as Savior, or a prayer prayed (repeated after someone else) to receive Christ guarantees them heaven, and that nothing is required of them by God – no repentance, no obedience and no submission to Christ and his cross. They are being led to believe that they can continue to live sinful lifestyles and still have the hope of heaven when they die. But, the scriptures teach the opposite. They teach that, if we continue to walk (conduct our lives) according to our sinful flesh, we will die (without Christ), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the misdeeds of the body, we will live (Ro. 8:1-14).
If we live sinful lifestyles, we do not have the hope of heaven, but of eternity in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (wickedness, sin), we are liars, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6). It is the one who conquers all this who will have this heritage of heaven with God, and God will be his God and he will be God’s son. And, this is only accomplished through faith in Jesus Christ, who gave his life up for us so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. The righteous requirement of the law is fully met in us who walk not after the flesh, but who conduct our lives according to the Spirit (See: Ro. 8:1-14). So, if you have been buying into a lie that says you can continue in sin and still have the promise of heaven, then read this passage again, and others like it, and believe the truth, instead.
By Its Light (vv. 9-11, 22-27)
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal…
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
The Bride of Christ, the wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the saints of God walk (conduct their lives) by the light of Christ, the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. We walk according to the Spirit, and no longer according to our sinful flesh. This means that Jesus Christ is central in our lives. He is our root, our support, our foundation for our lives, for our thinking, values, attitudes and behavior. He is the love of our lives, and all else in our lives flows from that love he has for us and we have for him. Our desire is for him, to walk in his truth and in his ways. We want to please him in all we are and do and say. Because we love him, we no longer want to walk in the ways we once did, living to please our selfish and sinful desires.
This is how it should be for those who truly love Jesus, and who are his followers. It doesn’t mean we will never fail, or that we will never sin, but that our lifestyles will reflect Christ and not our sinful flesh. And, one day we will get to be with him forever, and we will then walk perfectly by that light, and no sin will exist where we are with God forever, amen! Oh, how I long for that day when I get to be with Jesus, my Lord, face to face, when I can walk perfectly in his love and sin will be no more. Hallelujah! Praise God!
My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon
My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.