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The Beauty of Holiness - The Book of Revelation
Week 18, 2018
This week we continue with
Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God" (NKJV).
The text before this was about the destruction of Mystery Babylon, and how the bride of Christ has made herself ready for marriage. As we are told in the Gospels, she will be “without spot or wrinkle” (see Ephesians 5:27). To be without spot is her purity, without flaws. To be without wrinkles is how she is perpetually youthful—age does not deteriorate her. For this reason, we can expect a great move of God to compel His followers to be holy as He is holy, and to love “the beauty of holiness.” This will also keep her perpetually youthful.
The way that holiness has been taught by some seems more about how to have a religious spirit than true biblical holiness. A religious spirit seeks to gain God’s approval through works. True holiness serves Him from a position of already having His approval through what His Son did, not what we can do. It is the difference between serving out of fear or out of love.
This is the difference between a bride driven to be perfect because she is afraid of rejection and one so passionately in love with the bridegroom that she simply wants to be perfect for him. True holiness is motivate by love, not fear.
Here we also see the call that goes out to those invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. These are obviously not the bride, but they are guests at the marriage. Who are they?
There is substantial biblical testimony that those invited to the wedding feast are Christians who trust in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus for their salvation and thus have eternal life. They also walk uprightly before the Lord, but they did not pursue the passionate relationship to Him that would compel them to be a part of the bride.
Are there such classes of Christians in the Bible? They are indeed found throughout the Bible and Revelation. We also have the “friends of the bridegroom” that are like the groomsmen in modern weddings. We also see the wise and foolish virgins in scripture that today we would call bridesmaids. Of course, to be standing with the bride or groom like this would be a higher honor than those who just attend the feast as guests. Yet, those invited to the feast are still honored above those who have not been invited.
Isn’t this favoritism, or even discrimination? Yes. You cannot read the Bible without seeing that God has favorites and that He discriminates. He has chosen vessels of honor, and those who are not. God loves everyone, but His Word is clear that He does not love everyone the same, as offensive as that may be to some. God is not politically correct. If we see Him through the eyes of what is considered politically correct, we badly distort Him and end up worshiping a god of our own creation.
Out of the multitude that followed Jesus, He called some to be closer to Him than others—the seventy, the twelve, and the three. There were levels of relationship to Him, and differences to the level of teaching that each group received. That is discrimination, but it is based on truth and justice. Why should we think that those who trust in His cross and have eternal life but live their lives doing little or nothing for Him receive the same as those who sacrifice their own will and desires to serve Him?
So what do we do with this knowledge? Seek to get closer. Though the Lord had indisputable levels of relationship to Him, we are all told that if we seek Him we will find Him. If we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. We are all as close to the Lord as we want to be. The veil has been torn asunder, and through Him we can come boldly into the throne room and have a personal audience with Him whenever we want. The issue is how many want it bad enough to do it?
For you to read something like this, you are a seeker of God—and I would think one of uncommon devotion. The Apostle Paul wrote near the end of his life that he did not think he had yet attained the high calling (see Philippians 3), but rather that he pressed on in pursuit of it. He was not talking about salvation, which he had the day he believed. Paul saw a calling so high that he, possibly the most devoted follower of Christ of all time, became devoted to doing more. Are we?
next week 19