Agonizomai: Rev 2:12 - Pergamum the Morally Compromised Church<br>The Word as Both Judge and Redeemer

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rev 2:12 - Pergamum the Morally Compromised Church
The Word as Both Judge and Redeemer

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Rev 2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

What is the sharp two-edged sword? The sharp two-edged sword came from the mouth of the risen and glorified Christ. {Re 1:14-18} It is the Word of the Word of God. The Word communicated to man by Christ directly and through the Holy Spirit actually communicates Christ to the obedient hearer. This isn’t magic or mysticism - it is the power of God through the gospel unto salvation for all that have faith. He speaks and creates by the Spirit of God, just as He did in the beginning, as we are told in Genesis 1 and in John 1. The new creation that is every believer is made in no lesser a way than through God speaking. That is the way that God created all things and it is still His way. Do we get it?

Note that God speaks Christ and the Holy Spirit makes that Word effectual. Pure creation or, in our case, re-creation involving the three Persons of the godhead. In practical terms - that is, from the limited human viewpoint - the Word is heard and obeyed. The more obedience to the Word then the more Christ is manifested in the life of the individual. It is really quite simple and able to be received by a small child. But it is also deep and rich beyond our understanding because we know that God is at work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

The mature Christian sees even his obedience as coming from God Himself. It is the obedience of Christ wrought in the heart of the believer by God through the faith He has given. Does the believer exercise his faith? Yes. Is he responsible to God for his obedience and disobedience? Yes. Is God alone due the glory for all of it? Yes. It is because this defies all we have learned from childhood about our own ability to effect results that even professing Christians have such difficulty with this principle. Men want it to be one way or the other and God says it is both ways. Men want to be able to get credit for their obedience and God says Christ gets the credit for everything - even though men must obey. It is unfathomable, but also liberating. And it is settled.

It is also a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. Everyone is already in His hands, of course, one way or another. But to understand that the obedience through which one is being saved is ultimately utterly in the hands of God would terrify, were it not for the fact that the realization of such frightening truth is given only to those who are being saved in the first place.

It is, therefore, no accident of language, syntax or grammar that the Word is given pre-eminence in all things, and is represented as a creative and judging instrument. It is our God who creates and destroys, Who wounds and heals, Who kills and makes alive. None can hinder the One Who will accomplish all His will. Yes, all things were made through Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. What fools we humans are! How lost we are! How self-deceived and arrogant we have become in our infinite plunge into sin and madness! That we should conceive of the monstrous idea that anything depends upon us when we depend utterly upon our creator for life and light and breath - such monumental arrogance only testifies to the nature of our corruption and the depths of our depravity.

We are all on leashes whose lengths may vary, but which are all equally short compared to the reach of the One Who holds the tether. God is no tyrant, but He must needs always be infinite and Almighty God, just as we must ever be the work of His hands. Once we come to fully rest in this, in perfect peace under the shadow of the Most High, then we have come all the way back to our creaturehood, our purpose and our everlasting life in Him.

This is a long way from Pergamum and the sharp two-edged sword. Yet it is not. God made Christ both Lord and judge of all mankind. It is by the Word, that we shall be judged by the Living Word. Will He praise or will He chastise? Will He own or will He disown? To Pergamum the Living Word speaks His piercing wisdom that has power to illuminate the depths of the heart, to save or to condemn. Better to let the Word judge us now through faith and obedience than later, when there is no time to repent and amend our ways. Better to be pierced to the joints and the marrow and to have the heart discerned now than to be smitten by the sword of His wrath later. Thank the Lord for His salvation that brings us to these things in this life, so that we do not have to face them on that Day.


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