Conqueror or Coward?
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death (Revelation 21:8).”
The last time I went to the barbershop I had my hair cut by someone who has only cut my hair a handful of times. It was just when the COVID-19 concerns had begun to turn serious. So, when he asked me about the subject, I raised the idea that such a time as this should push people to think about eternal things. He responded quickly with the platitude: “Well we all end up in the same place.” When I asked what he meant by that, he responded with yet another platitude: “There are many roads, but they all lead to the same place. We’ll all be together up there – but we might get there different ways.” When he added the words: “don’t you think?” I couldn’t help but respond.
I talked with him about Jesus’ audacious claim in John 14:6 where he said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” If Jesus is not who he said he is, then he is either a liar or someone who has lost his mind. But if he is who he claims to be, then there is no other way. My barber’s response was to return to his starting place: “Well we all end up in the same place.”
The words we find in Revelation 21:7&8 would certainly stand contrary to the thinking of my barber. The pastoral effect of these two verses is to push readers to decide if they are “conquerors” (vs. 7 – which we looked at yesterday) or “cowards” (vs. 8). The term “coward” likely speaks to one who claimed to be a follower of Jesus but turned from Him in the face of hardship. Such drastically different ends of these two groups leaves no space for my barber’s platitudes. Indeed, the words in vs. 8 are sobering. So, the question stands: what are we – conquerors or cowards?