Through the Bible in 90 Days: Day 88
Read: Revelation 18:1-22:21
Verse that stood out: Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book - Revelation 22:7
Yesterday we entertained the possibility that the book of Revelation is not intended to answer the question "Are we there yet?" Instead, its main purpose is to help us answer a different question, "What are we here for, until we get there?" John answers that question way back in his introduction to the seven churches of Asia Minor, “Grace and peace.” Yes, that’s right – the purpose of this book is to bring us grace and peace for today. Notice, he doesn’t say, “Grace and peace when Jesus comes back.” No, the implication is that through this revelation of Jesus Christ, grace and peace can be yours today.
How can we have grace and peace today? Well, for one thing, the book of Revelation assures us that God has not and will not give up on the world. New Testament scholar Mitchell Reddish put it this way, “The book of Revelation does not present a picture of a God who has given up on the world and is ready to discard it. The message of Revelation is that God is the creator of the world. This world is God’s ‘baby,’ God’s creation. Rather than discard it, God seeks to save it, to rid it of its beasts and its monstrous evils, to drive out its dragons, to purge it of its impurities.” So if God, in his grace, hasn’t given up on the world (and us in it!), then we can live in peace today no matter our circumstances.
Not only can we have peace, but we can persevere. If God hasn't given up on us then we can keep holding fast to him. No matter our trials, no matter our troubles, we keep living towards Christ's return trusting that "our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). How do we live towards Christ's return? How do we keep from giving up on God? By extending God's grace to others. By refusing to give up on each other.
We live out the kingdom come's values when we refuse to give on the kid who’s hooked on drugs. After all, there will be no beasts of addiction in God's future kingdom. We live our the kingdom come's values when we refuse to accept poverty or hunger as simply the way things are. After all, when the Lord comes we'll all dine in abundance at the Lord's great banqueting table. We refuse to give up on God when we refuse to give up on our attempts to live in unity here on earth. After all, the holy city is not a segregated city (not racially, not denominationally, not economically!) Think of the Christian you like the least. He or she’s going to be right there next to you singing God’s praises! So to be faithful to God's vision, keep doing your best to live it out here in anticipation of there.
While we can do anything to usher in God's kingdom come, we can certainly be its ambassadors until it does.