23 June 2008

Encouragement for Sinners

Revelation 14:
Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves . . .It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.
So why can someone struggling with the same old sin, day in and day out--a person who feels like the most foolish, stubborn human on the planet-- take hope from reading about blameless saints who are a lot holier than she'll ever be? Well, because they aren't. They had to be redeemed too. Did you notice that? John mentions it twice, actually, even as he praises their righteousness. The "best of the best" still needed Christ's mercy, His propitiation, His constant intercession. Salvation had nothing to do with their own goodness, which could never atone for the sin at their core.
And if God sees evil lurking even under their appearance of holiness, and He can defeat that insidious deceptive enemy, then He can conquer my sin too.

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