Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Letters from a friend, part 2

This is the letter to the church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3:

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Wow. This is quite an encouragement to a church that is under pressure. They have liars in their midst, Rome is cracking down, and they feel persecuted. Yet they remain faithful and persevere in the faith. Note that God doesn't say "I'll make it stop and you will be happy" but he does say that justice will be meted out. God is just, and the hope that the one who called them will come back to right their wrongs is the hope he gives them.

He didn't promise us a bed of roses. But He is just, and will not allow injustice to prevail. That is some powerful hope in these often troubling times. Cling to it.

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