READ: Ecclesiastes 3, Luke 22, Revelation 14

BEAUTIFUL, IN HIS TIME

Revelation presents a beautiful picture of the effects of the everlasting gospel (Rev. 14: 6). When the gospel (the good news of what God has done in Christ) is accepted and embraced, it transforms man. The gospel-centered man or woman has the Father’s name written on their foreheads (v. 1); their minds are sealed and controlled by God. The gospel-centered man or woman follows the Lamb wherever He goes (v. 4); their feet joyously bloody in the path of Christ. The gospel-centered man or woman has no deceit in their mouth (v. 5); there is nothing false about them, neither in word or deed. The gospel-centered man or woman is without fault before the throne of God (v. 5); they are blameless and beautiful in the sight of heaven.

This profile of the man or woman transformed by the gospel is not out of our reach. It is our destiny. God’s express purpose for those who embrace His gospel is to transform them into His image. The image of God is our inheritance. God has committed it to writing through the prophetic word: “that which is written must still be accomplished . . . for the things concerning [us] have an end” (Luke 22:37). God’s goal for us is to make us like Himself, and He will move heaven and earth to accomplish His goals. Nothing is going to deter God from His purpose for us, not even the pain we endure in the process.

Ecclesiastes 3:17 flatly states that God will judge both the righteous and the wicked. No one escapes judgment, not even the gospel embracers, for judgment is a mercy that divides the evil out from the good. In order for us to come to a place where our minds are like God’s, our wills (feet) follow wherever God goes, our mouths be only true, and our hearts to be blameless, we must first be deconstructed. God does indeed make everything beautiful in His time (v. 11), but the timing and process of God includes a time to die, kill, break down, weep, mourn, lose, tear, hate, and war (vv. 1-8). The process of being conformed into the image of God is brutal. God takes us apart and applies judgment to every component of our character. Every aspect of our heart and mind is examined, brought into the searching light, and then the surgeon’s knife cuts out of us all that does not glorify God. We go through one agonizing cycle of the process and think we are unable to bear any more. God is mercifully relentless and steadily examines and purifies every aspect of our being. On and on it goes, daily dying, daily being killed, daily being molded into the divine image–our inflexible flesh protesting every step of the journey. Beautification is agonizing. It is not without seasons of great pain that God crafts His masterpieces. It takes God time to make everything beautiful.

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