Your view of God determines everything. If you were to think of one metaphor to describe your relationship with God, what would it be? Here are a few that come to mind.
- Boss - You work hard and he gives you a pay raise, or you don’t work hard and you get demoted.
- Military General - You obey orders, stay in line and never disagree or you step out of line and get sent to the Gulag.
- Distant Relative - You speak now and then, but there is no true agenda that drives the relationship.
Your filter for who God is will express itself practically in your life and relationships. In Revelation 4-5, we have a corrective filter that we must put on as we walk through life in the good and bad seasons.
The Lamb is Full of Compassion (vv. 6, 9, 12)
One common filter that we often wear is connected to our circumstances. If something good happens, God must love us. If something bad happens, God must not love us because we have done something wrong. This kind of filter sees God’s love as fickle and capricious. This is a really hard way to live and can actually be quite torturous. One moment God likes me and the next he doesn’t. One moment things are going well; the next they are not. We end up saying things like this to ourselves, “God, you are so hard to please. I can’t understand you.” Eventually, we may become jaded and bitter at God, life, others and ourselves.
Revelation 5 is a reminder that God loves us persistently because the Lamb of God was slain! Why did the Lion become a little helpless lamb? Why did he willingly go to the cross? There is only one explanation. He loves you! Not because you are good but because He is love. Now he stands on the throne and freely gives his love to anyone who would humble themselves and admit that they need and want his love. That’s it. No games.
The Lamb Destroys the Power of Death (vv. 6, 9-10, 13-14)
Woody Allen says, “I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” While humorous, Allen knows something about death that comes through in his dark comedies. Death renders everything meaningless. The preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes understands this well. “Meaningless, meaningless says the teacher.” The reason the teacher concludes that life is meaningless is because death renders everything meaningless. All will return to the dust.
As you read Revelation 5, this sense of purposelessness begins to dissipate. Why? While the Lamb was slain, he is now standing on the throne. He is Christus Victor. Jesus is victorious over death. Death has been annihilated by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The passage then says this about those who belong to him,
You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. (vv.9-10)
In Revelation 5 you have one who renders death meaningless. You may lose many things in life, even physical life itself, but it is the Lamb who has the final say over you, not death. And because he renders death meaningless, he renders life meaningful! What you do matters because it has eternal meaning and purpose.