GETTING THE MESSAGE/A faithful savior Jesus Christ

GETTING THE MESSAGE/A faithful savior Jesus Christ


In the letter to the church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13), the Lord Jesus says, “I have set before you an open door because you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (verse 8). The church had faced severe opposition but had held firm in their faith. Their mentality was the same as the phrase in the Heidelberg catechism, “I am not my own but belong body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful savior Jesus Christ.”

The Lord tells them, “I have set before you an open door that no one can shut.” The view on earth was that the church in Philadelphia was a poor, despised people. The reality in heaven, however, is that the Lord of heaven has opened the door to his kingdom that they will be able to walk into regardless of what men say or do to them on earth. 

How things appear now is not how they will appear in the end. The Lord says about the opponents of his people, “Behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you” (verse 9). This is what we are to aim for. Whatever happens here, we are to keep our eyes upon Christ and wait for his day. This requires faith.

It is noble grace to be willing to be used in Christ’s work without being noticed or receiving honor for it in the world. But the Lord took notice of this small faithful body of believers. He said to them, “Because your have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth” (verse 10).

“Patient endurance” is an identifying mark of the faithful. In Hebrews 12 we read, “Let us run with patient endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.” There is tribulation in this world, and it is all under the ordination of God. He appoints his people to go through a howling wilderness on the way to heaven.

Christians are closely identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord says that he will keep them from the hour of trial. This does not mean taking them out of the world. Jesus prayed in John 17, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.” If God holds you up, you will never fall.

The hour of trial points to an intense period of testing and tribulation which precedes the establishment of the eternal kingdom of Christ. The Lord Jesus faced an hour of trial at the end of his life. When drawing near to the cross he prayed, “Now my soul is troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from ‘this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour” (John 12).

Christ had to face that hour alone. There was none to help him. But his people will not have to face tribulation alone. He will uphold them when the worst comes. It is true that when we are about to faint from our circumstances, we look for better times here and now. David pleaded with the Lord to be gracious to him and help him when his body and soul were sore vexed (Psalm 6).

But as Christians, we especially look to better things that are yet to come. Jesus says, “I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown” (verse 11). That the Lord is coming soon is one of the key notes of the book of Revelation. Our lives go by quickly. What matters is holding on to the crown of life that is in Christ. Whatever comes, we pray, “Hold me Lord, let no one snatch me out of your hand.”

The promise the Lord gives to his people is sublime: “I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven, and my own new name” (verse 12) Here is a great incentive to faith.

God is greatly feared and reverenced in the assemblies above, in the courts of angels. These glorious spirits must cover their faces from him, because they cannot behold his glory. But the redeemed soul is taught to pray, “Abba Father,” which expresses the tender affection and love of God toward those who come to him. Certainly, all who call upon the name of Christ, even from the ends of the earth, shall be saved.

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