Beginning with the End

A Year in the Gospel #2 “And raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6-7

“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” Revelation 21:5-7

The last book of the Christian Scriptures gives us a dazzling portrait of the end. It is not the end of all things rather it is a new beginning. Nevertheless, it is the end of things as we know them. And God, in His goodness, provides for us this startling, radiant scene displaying that end so that we know now in this present of “light, momentary affliction” how glorious is the Gospel promise of our end, or rather, or next, new beginning.

I want to start off this year in the Gospel by leaping over questions of meaning, fact, history, and all the other facets of this glorious Gospel of grace and jump right into why this Gospel—Good News—is the best news in the world.

Have you ever thought about that? We mention the “gospel” in passing so often. We talk of “gospel” music, “gospel” preaching, “gospel” churches, but who cares? Or, why care? Or why is this Gospel good news? Do we act like it is good news? Do we live like it is good news? Do we pray like it is good news? Do we worship like it is good news? Do we sing Gospel music in {your favorite style here} like it is good news? Do we share it like it is good news?

Often, no. But it is good news. Indeed, it is nearly incredible news. We need to brush off all the best superlatives and insert them here: amazing, unbelievable, awesome, breathtaking, super good news. When was the last time you thought on the claims of the Gospel you believe? Take time to carefully read the passages above. Do you hear what you are saying? How unbelievable is that?

First, on Ephesians 2:6-7, the Apostle Paul is stating that in the present moment as believers in Jesus we are now sitting with Him in heavenly places. Jesus is right now showing us grace and mercy and in the coming ages He is going to over and over again, repeatedly, time and time again show His mercy toward us. But Paul can’t contain himself at this point. He doesn’t merely mention grace but he goes on and on about it, piling word upon word. Listen carefully: “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us.” It is grace demonstrated by kindness, and it is riches of that grace, but more so, it is abundant, profligate, immeasurable riches of graces toward us!

Second, in Revelation 21:5-7, the Apostle John is visualizing the end of this beginning when what Paul has discussed, “seated with him in heavenly places,” is quite literally true. There are so many promises packed in here that it is stunning. Firstly, Jesus upon the throne says, “Behold, I am making all things new!” Everything is going to be remade, every good thing is going to be restored, every Gospel promise will made a reality, and nothing will be untouched, untransformed, dormant. Secondly, He promises unending access to the waters of life without payment. Thirdly, to the person who conquers a heritage is promised: “I will be his God and he will be my son.” How is this conquering done? It is by the blood of the Lamb and loving Jesus more than life (see Rev. 12:11), and by faith in that Jesus (1 John 5:1-4). Through the blood of Jesus we are brought to God and what was true of Jesus, that God the Father had said of Him, “you are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22), will be true of us in that Day.

These are staggering promises and they are the best kind because they are the true kind. You have the best reason in the world to roll out of bed in the morning in hope, to run to church and sing His praises with a radiant heart, to go do great work as unto Christ. It is because in this Gospel you receive Christ, you “get” Jesus forever, and in getting Jesus, you receive everything you need most but never knew—until now. You are today a Son, a Daughter, of God, and in this age and in every age to come, God is preparing to show you the wonders of His love.

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