He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
– Revelation 2:7
God makes amazing, hard to fathom, and seemingly impossible promises. From Genesis to Revelation, God’s promises are as numerous as they are beautiful. From this verse, God is promising to the conquerors, Christians, that they will receive paradise. The tree of life, the symbol of eternal life and continual blessing, and its fruit is promised to us.
This promise to the Church at Ephesus comes after a stark warning. This church has lost their love for Christ. They had sound doctrine, good deeds, a hatred of evil, and perseverance through trial and yet, in verse 5 God says, “I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” We have all heard the familiar phrase, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but this section of Revelation 2 is saying even more; the road to hell is paved with sound doctrine and good deeds! On paper, the church in Ephesus was an exemplar of faithfulness, but God says in verse 4, “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”
If you find yourself in the position of the Church at Ephesus, there is a solution: repent and remember. Tell God that your love has gone cold and that you are prone to wander because He stands ready to forgive and to restore. This is another of His amazing promises, He will forgive and He will restore.
After repentance, remember. Remember the works of the Lord, the promises made and the promises kept, the kindness, the mercy, the grace, the beauty. Remember like the hymnist, Robert Robinson wrote in Come Thou Fount, let us “tune our hearts to sing God’s grace, raise our Ebenezer, and be debtors to grace.”
Dear Father, give us the faithfulness, discernment, and perseverance of the Church at Ephesus but do not let us forget our love for You. Cause us to remember the joy of our salvation, the beauty of Christ, and all of Your amazing promises to us. Forgive us for wandering, forgive us for pursuing other loves, and restore us. Make us people who are quick to repent and have long memories of Your faithful love. In the name of our wonderful merciful Savior, Jesus, Amen.
Noah S Crane
Ministry Director, Christian Union Vox (Dartmouth College)
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