Was reading this morning in Revelation 21:1-14 about the New Jerusalem and a couple of threads came together for me.
2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (NIV)
That brought back memories of the allegory by Gene Edwards "The Divine Romance" in which he takes us from before the beginning of time to this moment where the bride of Christ, the spirit of Jerusalem, appears and the aching loneliness of the Lord can be stilled. One of the beautiful parts of the story, as Gene Edwards tells it, is how the spirit of Jerusalem is formed.
But the other tread I picked up this morning was in verse seven:
7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (NIV)
Who are these "overcomers" who will become the heirs and sons of God? I looked in "The Message" to see how it was worded there:
7Conquerors inherit all this. I'll be God to them, they'll be sons and daughters to me. 8But for the rest--the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars--for them it's Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!
So the "overcomers" are "conquerors". They are those who are not feckless, faithless, degenerates, murderers, sex peddlers, sorcerers, idolaters or liars. They are those who have overcome temptation and conquered sin. I thought of something Brian Doerksen said on his "Today" DVD:
"We are in the middle of a war, and always have been on planet earth. Every time you wake up in the morning you wake up in a war zone. And the battle is over the souls of men and women."
Then he continues the story of Nehemiah and the people rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem:
"I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places posting them by families with their swords spears and bows. And after I looked them over I arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, 'Do not be afraid of your enemies. Remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.'"
We have a lot to overcome. But let us not be feckless or faithless. Let us remember the Lord is awesome and He empowers us for the battle. And He will meet us at the end.