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Grace And Peace From The Holy Trinity

Revelation 1:4-5a
John. To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. (NIVUK)

John wrote down the vision which the Lord Jesus showed him. The initial recipients were seven churches in the western side of what is now Turkey. The apocalyptic (unveiling) writings later in the book are to be taken seriously because, in writing to the seven churches, the Lord Jesus revealed what He saw at that time (Revelation 2:1-3:22). He unveiled the truth about the churches, taking away the mask of self-righteousness, challenging them to trust Him in a renewed and holy lifestyle; and also authenticating that His knowledge of the future was equally true.

Although some of the unveiling would be uncomfortable, it was necessary. The Lord's purpose was to bring His grace and peace to believers as they accepted His assessment of themselves and trusted Him for the future. They were to trust Him, and His character. John describes the trinitarian Godhead; the Father, Son and Spirit in perfect harmony. Father God is described in the same terms that Moses heard by the burning bush, the I AM, the ever living one (Exodus 3:14). The seven-fold Spirit of God uses imagery in Zechariah 4:1–6 to show that God's Spirit is everywhere (Psalm 139:7-10). Jesus Christ is the witness from eternity past and of every present moment and of the future (John 3:13).

The Lord Jesus is the first to be raised eternally to new life (some were raised to life in Jesus' and the apostles' ministries but they all died again). But Jesus remains alive and was therefore able to show John what He saw of the past, present and the future. Jesus Christ is also described as the 'ruler over kings'. In an uncertain world, with state-sponsored persecution under the Emperor Domitian, it was important for the believers to know that Christ had ultimate authority over even the mighty emperor (Revelation 17:14).

Grace and peace come only as we submit to the Lord Jesus. In order to be able to trust the Lord for the future we need to know that He knows everything about us now, and that even now He is working all things for our good (Romans 8:28). How much more will that be true in the future? Although much of the imagery of Revelation paints pictures which appear like fantasies, the seven churches knew His assessment of them was fully accurate and therefore they could trust Him about what was to come. Learning practical discipleship now is the best training for accepting His authority over global and cosmic events in the future. To trust God's character today is to know grace and peace in each tomorrow.

Prayer 
Ever-living God. Thank You for Your ultimate authority over everything and everybody. Forgive me for not trusting You, at times thinking that You do not understand or that somehow Your power is not strong enough. Please help me to know that You know me now, deeply and intimately, and that You are challenging me to accept Your authority in practical ways today; and that I can trust You to exercise that authority for my blessing and Your glory in the future. Help me to grow in hope as I trust Your character. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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