The Invitation Stands
“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’” It is so fitting that Revelation should end in this way. It is an invitation to leave sin and death behind. One may wash his robe and eat of the tree of life, if he will. But if one insists, one may also keep to evil and filth as well. These are the ones who remain outside, who are called dogs, sorcerers, sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, along with those who love and practice falsehood. The division is stark and real, and one is either in one camp or the other. Our Lord’s return will reveal the true nature of things, and the heart of each one will be exposed. And after that judgment, there will be no appeal, for he is “Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” No one will answer back or ask why, and we shall all know the reason.
Of the list of sinners above, I am intrigued by the ones who “love and practice falsehood.” It seems that this is an apt description of all sin; for, in the end, all sin is a trading away of the real for the false, for the counterfeit. A man has a wife, but he trades her love for that of an adulteress. A man could have the true God, but he trades the true God for an idol – which will allow him his sins. Perhaps we trade Christian service for selfish leisure. Whatever sin we commit, we intentionally trade the real for the fake. Hell is simply the last of a long line of trades.
But let us end on a positive note, for that is what Revelation does. “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” It’s as if our Lord were saying, “Hurry up! Time is wasting. The invitation is for you. Come!” Hear the urgency? It should be sobering for us that our Lord’s last words to us in the Bible are: “Surely, I am coming soon.” Imagine. These are his last words: not “Smile, God loves you,” but “I am coming soon.” This is good news for the Christian; hence, John writes immediately after, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus!” Every passing day provides a new day of repentance: a day for the Christian to grow in grace, shed besetting sin, and draw closer to God; and for the unbeliever to embrace the salvation that may be his if he will turn from his wicked ways and believe. So each new day is a day of grace. But such days will soon come to an end when he comes to begin his reign in earnest. And then shall believers have their great reward and vindication. Then shall we be no longer exiles and pilgrims, for we shall have finally arrived at the place of our true home. And so we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Maranatha!