Grace, Grace, Marvelous Grace
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen (Revelation 22:21).
Revelation claims to be a revelation (1:1) and a prophecy (1:3); yet it also has the markings of a letter. In Revelation 1:4 John identifies himself as the author and the seven churches as the recipient. Then in the very closing words of this book, we find words that should readily remind us of so many of the epistles we read in the New Testament. In fact, in all of Paul’s epistles (except one) we will hear some form of the words: “Grace be with you” in the closing words.
For many believers, grace would be quickly listed as essential to our salvation. “Saved by grace alone” is the familiar cry of the children of the Reformation. Grace is the unmerited favor of God shown to us. It is seen brightly in our salvation, for we bring no merit to his throne. This truth is seen no more beautifully than the moving scene in Revelation 5 where it is with the blood of Jesus that we are purchased for God. All grace!
And while this is true, we should also acknowledge that grace is essential for more than our salvation. If we are going to walk through this world filled with trials and temptations, then we will need God’s favor shown to us - a favor that we do not deserve. The book of Revelation is honest about the struggles we can face as believers. It describes the real-life hardships that the first century churches had to face, and we hear our enemies described with graphic and scary metaphors. In the face of these sorts of things, we might ask: how can the church survive in the face of such fearsome foes? The answer is found in what John pronounces upon us here in this text - the grace of our Lord Jesus with us. For our salvation and for our perseverance we need the very thing that John announces to us as he closes this book: the grace of the Lord Jesus.