““Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’ Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.” (Revelation 22:12-14)

In these closing words of the Book of Revelation, we encounter some vital words of admonition and encouragement from the Lord Jesus. These are witnessed by an angel, the Spirit of God, the bride and the Apostle John. The Lord encourages us to remain faithful, to persevere in loyalty to the Lamb of God in the midst of persecution, suffering and loss. The visions we have seen of tribulation and God’s outpouring of wrath upon sinful humanity will shortly occur. These dark times we will endure in this period of pain and suffering will be difficult unless we hold fast to the light of Christ and that vision we have seen of our reward. If we persevere, we will receive blessings and joy beyond what we have ever imagined that will more than make up for what we have lost for the sake of faith in Christ. The real losers are those who in this life are successful, who think they are in control, who live for pleasure and self.

Yet until Christ returns the way remains open to Him and to heaven for all who are slaves of sin and Satan and victims of injustice and evil. The ideals of the United States and many of the nations of the world focus on freedom from oppression, want, hunger and fear. Rulers, politicians and governments maintain they are seeking to provide and maintain justice and equality for all people. Yet all their efforts, all their striving to produce a peaceful and perfect world turn to evil and corruption. The problem is that true freedom is found not in laws that foster equality for all or promote the autonomy and self-determination of the individual, or the ability to make free choices. True freedom is found in surrender and total submission to a God who loves us. Jesus Christ alone has the only true and permanent solution for all the world’s troubles. And He has entrusted that key to us, His church: the gospel of salvation found only in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. May we ever be faithful to uphold and preach this truth.