The Source of Life
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Revelation 22:1-21, Psalm 12:6, Ezekiel 47:1-12
BY Guest Writer
Revelation 21 and 22 paint a lovely picture of the promised end of our story, but we are not home yet. Our destination is certain and secure, but friend, we have not arrived. There is still work to be done.
Believers living on this side of the cross live in a tenuous “now” and “not yet.” Because of the resurrection of Jesus and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, we can experience some of the kingdom now. The fruit of the Spirit is a present promise for those of us who surrender to His Lordship. We can enjoy and display love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness today.
We can grieve in a unique and gospel-centered way. We do not grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We mourn, but we are comforted by the hope of heaven. We can live in a fallen and fractured world without succumbing to fear or a fatalistic perspective that nothing can redeem the brokenness around us.
The call to persevere is the command for us to live as sojourners who are passing through to our eternal Promised Land. But we don’t fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, source, and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), to the exclusion of others. We cannot ignore those around us. Not at all. I believe this is why Christ commanded John to write instructions for God’s people before He unfolded what was coming. Revelation opens with a clarion call to the Church, and the letters to the seven churches (Revelation 2–3) should still be the filter through which we view this “end.” We have a job to do, and Jesus expects us to do it well.
We must persevere in the face of crushing secularism and punishing persecution, passionately clinging to the gospel. When we persevere, we live with the same kind of urgency that moved Jesus to say, “I am coming soon!” (Revelation 22:7). We stay mindful that none of us—not our lost neighbor, sinful co-worker, or rebellious family member—is promised tomorrow. We and the strangers all around us are walking toward a sure judgment. One day grief will be no more, but that day is not today. However, grief does serve a purpose. It arrests our hearts with compassion and compels us to action. We ought to grieve what is coming and then live a life that proclaims the hope that Jesus’s death and resurrection secured.
Yes, the kingdom is both now and not yet for you and me. We can experience it now, and we must proclaim it to those who have not yet received it. And whether they persist in doing evil, as Jesus says in Revelation 22, we stay the course in faithfully preaching of the gospel in word and deed. We preach it now because His return is not yet. There is still time, and we must steward it well.
Whitney Capps is a national speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her first book, Sick of Me (B&H Publishers) and bible study, We Over Me (LifeWay) both release in March 2019. Whitney is the founder of Simple Seminary, a place for the everyday gal to learn theology. She and her husband, Chad, are raising their four boys just outside Atlanta, Ga. You can connect with her at whitneycapps.com or on Instagram, @whitneycapps.