GETTING THE MESSAGE/Christ died for sinners

GETTING THE MESSAGE/Christ died for sinners


In Revelation 1:1, we are told that the book of Revelation is “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” God gave him this revelation, so the first thing we learn is that the source of the book is God and that it is primarily about Christ. The Lord Jesus gives it to the apostle John in order that his people may know the things that will take place. 

The book is about Christ because he is the Mediator God appointed between God and man. In Revelation, Christ has conquered sin, death, and the devil. As the conqueror, He has been exalted to the throne of God and executes the plans and purposes of God symbolized by the sealed scroll in God’s hand (Revelation 5).

Though the Lord Jesus Christ has conquered and been exalted, there is still great opposition from the world and the devil toward his people. So, the book is given to the saints to give them the vision of Christ exalted above to assure them that, as Martin Luther said, “though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will be still because God has willed his truth to triumph through us.”

However cryptic or confusing some of the vision and symbols are in the book of Revelation, it is a revelation we have great need of. The book sheds light and clarity on truths in the Bible and the gospel. The book depicts two humanities; one confesses the blood of the Lamb (Christ’s death), even to the point of dying for his name; the other humanity is under the power of sin, death, and the devil. 

We are shown two destinies; one is the certain judgment of God, the other a new heaven and earth of righteousness prepared for Christ’s people. We understand more clearly why Jesus said such things as, “Blessed are they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” And “they who lose their life for my name will save it.” Revelation points us to eternity.

The prophets anticipating the gospel also become clearer to us. If you read through the book of Revelation and then go to Isaiah 55, you understand how gracious God is in appealing to sinners with such statements as, “Incline your ear and come to me. Hear that your soul may live. Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to the Lord and he will have compassion upon him.”

In Revelation 1:3, John speaks of the blessedness of those who hear and keep the words of the book, “for the time is near.” The next great event in redemptive history is the return of Christ in glory. Revelation not only prepares Christ’s people for his coming, but it also teaches them to look for it and long for it. It is not only certain, but also a blessed day for them.

Someone told me of a man who prepared for disaster at the approach of Y2K. The man quit his job, invested in survival supplies, and made all kinds of sacrificial preparations. If we believe in the coming of a great event, we look to it and prepare for it. The reason many do not prepare for Christ is they don’t believe it. It seems as farcical as something like Y2K.

But the word of Christ, the revelation of Christ, is for his sheep. He says, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes.” He means spiritually awake, looking for and longing for the day of Christ. The apostle Paul says the same about Christ’s coming: “We are children of the light, so let us keep awake and sober, having the hope of salvation” (1st Thessalonians 5).

If you aren’t prepared for Christ’s coming, you aren’t prepared to leave this world either. It is Christ you must make sure of. His first and second coming are connected, yet differ much.

Thomas Manton says the following: “His first coming was obscure; he came in the form of a servant. Now he will come in power and glory. Then Christ occasionally showed his glory, now he will come in the glory of his Father. Then he raised a few from death, now he will raise all the dead. Then Christ came not to judge but save. He submitted to the tribunal of men, to die for sinners. Now he will come to judge all, kings, rulers, all men great and small.” Even so, come Lord Jesus.

The Rev. Chris Shelton is pastor of Union’s First Presbyterian Church.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions