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2. Heavenly Security

The security we possess beyond this life emboldens us to more willingly accept present pain and sacrifice for the sake of others.

No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. -Revelation 22:3-4

Escape if you can: this was the mentality possessed by most during the devastating 2nd century epidemic of smallpox in the Roman Empire. The disease was so contagious, historians estimate it wiped out as much as a third of the population. All those who were able fled the city and avoided contact with the sick. The Christians, however, possessed a different mindset. 

Motivated by the great love they had received in Christ, the Christians put their own lives at risk to care for the infected, tending to their ailments and making sure they stayed fed and hydrated. Historians speculate that these acts of service may have reduced mortality rates by an astonishing two thirds! 

Why did these early Christians possess such resolve to live lives that were immensely selfless, even reckless one might say, compared to those around them? Because of their great eternal security, the Christians’ present security paled in comparison. They had hope that death was not the end but rather a doorway into a glorious future existence with Christ, and so they found the freedom to live boldly.

Revelation enlightens us to the nature of this eternal security, a reality that delivers hope and courage to all who trust in Christ.

Revelation 22:3-4 tells us that after Christ’s return, in the new creation, there will be no curse. If we go back to the very beginning of the Bible, we see the introduction of this curse - Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. As a consequence for their disobedience, God pronounced a curse. 

The curse meant physical and spiritual death: sin and brokenness infected humanity’s relationship with God, with one another, and with the physical world. Because of the curse, Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden and be separated from the tree of life, lest they eat of it, ingest God’s eternal life, and live forever in a state of sin. 

At the root of humanity’s disobedience and the resulting curse is a break in intimacy with God. So, for the curse to be gone in the new creation implies a healing of this relationship! It means freedom from the danger of separation from God! It means safety from the entire range of sin and affliction that has resulted from the curse in a broken world separated from God’s good presence.  

In the absence of the curse, God’s ruling presence will fill the new creation. God’s people will worship God, serving as priests, the role embodying the greatest degree of closeness to God. At the heart of the new creation is unshakeable fellowship and intimacy with God. 

The passage in Revelation 22 goes on to further unfold the nature of this fellowship. In verse 4, we read, “They will see his face.” To see God’s face is a longing expressed throughout the Old Testament scriptures by people who desired to encounter God’s presence and to commune with him. But only in the incarnation did the invisible God become visible!

Through Christ, we are able to see God, to commune with him personally and intimately. And this seeing will only expand for all eternity in the new creation!  “For now we see in a mirror dimly,” 1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “but then face to face.” 

So first, the nature of our fellowship with God in the new creation will be full, and second, it will be secure. This aspect is communicated in the latter half of Revelation 22:4 which says, “his name will be on their foreheads.” 

In the Old Testament book of Exodus, God instructed the High Priest to wear his name on their forehead when they approached his holy presence. For God’s name to be written on one’s forehead symbolized intense fellowship with God. Earlier in Revelation, this reality is promised to all of God’s people in the new creation. “The one who conquers,” Jesus says in Revelation 3:12, “I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God.” Jesus is emphasizing the security and permanency associated with bearing God’s name, with having the closest degree of intimacy with God, for all eternity. 

So secure is this intimacy that it becomes part of our identity: who we are is defined by God’s presence with us. Isaiah 62 shines light on the nature of these identities: You shall be called My Delight Is in Her (Isaiah 62:4). They shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken (Isaiah 62:12). Our relationship with God will be so secure and unshakeable that it will be part of our name, the very core of who we are. 

In light of this hope, if we stand on the reality that nothing can shake the eternal security of our intimacy and identification with God, then what is there to threaten us?

Nothing can take away God’s love for us.

Nothing can break our relationship with God.

Nothing can overcome the source of our identity, rooted in our relationship with God. 

Not a day where you feel you’ve failed as a parent. Not a friend group who consistently leaves you feeling left out and not enough. Not a lack of being seen or appreciated by your spouse. Not a sense of insignificance in your current vocation. 

Your relationship with the Lord is infinitely secure. So, filled up with Christ’s love, we can direct our efforts away from self, away from trying to gain a sense of personal security and wholeness through this world. Like the early Christians facing the epidemic in the Roman Empire, we are free to give our lives for the sake of Christ.

RESPOND: Take a moment to prayerfully reflect with God: In your life, where might you direct your efforts away from your earthly security in light of your eternal security?

In the way you spend your money?

In the way you serve others?

In the way you prioritize your time?

Ask God to convict you and to work his transforming power in your heart to live in light of your eternal security. 

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