Psalm 122; Esther 8:1-17; Revelation 2:8-11
The Good, the bad, and the promise. That is how Jesus speaks to the churches in the book of the Revelation. He tells each church what they are doing right, then tells them what they are doing wrong, and then offers a promise to those who stay faithful. That pattern is broken when a church either has nothing good to say about it, or nothing bad. When Jesus spoke to the church at Smyrna, He had nothing bad to say about them.
“I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” (Revelation 2:9-10) Yes, the persecution will be bad, but that persecution will come because of their faithfulness.
For some reason, we as North American Christians have decided that persecution is to be avoided at all costs. We see some terrible persecution of our brothers and sisters in other areas of the world and do whatever we can to avoid it. Unfortunately “whatever” often means compromising our beliefs. We become careful about dealing with sin because it might be offensive to someone with that sin and that might create a backlash. We create that backlash in part, because we fail to remind people that we are calling out that sin because God will forgive. Too often we are seen only as condemning sin without offering the grace of God.
Our world needs the grace of God. We are infected with sin of all different types and the only cure is God’s grace. My form of sin may be different from someone else’s, but God’s grace is still the only remedy. When Paul said that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more, I believe that part of what he was saying is that God’s grace is stronger than any sin. Today, I ask you to examine your heart and look at your sin. Repent. Offer that sin to God and let His grace overcome even the greatest sin.
Lord God, I come to You a sinner, unclean in Your eyes. Yet, You love me. As I offer my sin to You, I ask that You would cleanse me with Your gracee. Let me experience the joy of my relationship with You.