God wins.

Revelation 20

Monday, December 5, 2022

The title of this post is unassuming. Two words: a noun, the subject, and a verb in the future tense. 

I am in the business of speaking, teaching, training, sermonizing. And sometimes (less often than I’d like to admit) I may have a sermon that God uses in spite of all my failures and faults. But if I were to have all the power of the greatest speakers, the powerful conviction of Billy Graham, the clarity and precision of Andy Stanley, the dedication of pastors from Martin Luther to Martin Luther King Jr. and beyond, more than a thousand eloquent sermons could not compare to the truth of the future of the world summed up in these two words. 

God wins. 

I don’t want to take away from that truth, but I do want to flesh it out a bit. 

In the earlier parts of Revelation, the beheaded souls have been calling out from beyond the grave to the God who will give them justice (Rev. 6:9-11). God promised the victors that they would have reward upon reward (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 21). When God wins, those who placed faith in God above even their own lives have the incredible promises. For time out of mind (1000 years) they will reign with Christ, they will not be hurt by the second death. While the language of two resurrections is not common in the rest of the NT*, the truth is that they are SO ASSURED of their salvation its as if they cannot possibly be brought to judgment. The joy of this resurrection is that we who are powerless, weak, poor, and oppressed will one day win, be victorious and live forever with God and his Christ, because God wins. 

And Satan can’t win. The dragon’s wings are clipped, and the serpentine body is prepared for the flames. In this world, God has power to throw the serpent of old, the devil and Satan, and bind him for 1000 years. During that time, his temptation and power are cast down. In the end, the devil who deceived the world was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone. This is a threat and a promise. Moreover, Satan KNOWS this is his end. The battle between God and Satan is not a cinematic, climactic masterpiece. There is no worry about who will win. Satan is not trying to win, because he can’t. He IS trying to make YOU LOSE, because that is a possibility. But God will help you overcome sin, fight temptation, and come through faithful. God can protect you from the defanged, declawed, clipped-wing dragon, because God wins. 

In some sense, part of the glory of God, part of his winning, is allowing humans to choose their outcomes. God allows people to determine their final state. While we are only and forever able to be saved by the glory and grace of God, God both does not force his salvific will upon us and does not preclude us from choosing him. God gives people what they desire. The books are opened; the dead are judged. Christ is our hope (Col. 1:27), our peace (Eph. 2:14), our resurrection and life (John 11:25). If any person has rejected Christ, what have they done but rejected peace with God and people? Rejected hope of eternal life? Rejected the resurrection and the life? God gives them exactly what they demanded. God doesn’t put up with those who were rebellious against him in this life. Because…

God wins.

No ifs, ands, buts. 

No amount of persuasive words will make it less true. 

No force of hell can stop Him, not a dragon or an atheist. 

The promise is true:

God wins. 

– Jake Ballard.

* There are hints of two resurrections in the rest of the NT, but nowhere is it explicitly stated like here in the apocalyptic work of Revelation. 

Reflection Questions

  1. How significant is the phrase “God wins” to you? To elaborate, in what areas of your life are you losing? Temptation and sin? Suffering and pain? Anxiety, depression, stress? What would it mean for you to stop trying to fix it all yourself, and let God win, allowing him to be victorious where you haven’t been yourself?
  2. In the ultimate sense, Satan is powerless. While we might be attacked, tormented, and tempted by evil today, that is not the way the world will be forever. How does it make you feel to know that all evil and wickedness are going to be overcome by the power of God? Will you allow God to protect you, so the battle is one-sided in your favor today?
  3. There is no peace, hope, resurrection or life without Christ. Have you given him control of your life, allowing him to be your savior and lord?

Freewill in the Vineyard

Isaiah 5

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Editor: For the next three weeks we will be spending some time looking at the books of prophecy from the Old Testament – with at least one devotion for every book. Then, mid-November we will be ready to start Revelation, one chapter a day. And we will finish off the year with the last gospel we have not yet read this year: Luke. Keep Seeking God in His Word! SeekGrow(good fruit)Love!

We have all desired to be the plant lady/man at some point in our lives. We go to the store and get a cute little house plant, and then we put it on our windowsill and water it once or twice a week, depending on the type of plant.

            But, if you are anything like me, you do not have the greenest thumb, and most of the time your plant ends up looking… well, dead.

            My point is, that even though we may water that plant, and provide it with the best soil. If the plant were to cover itself up under a blanket and hide, it will never grow, and will eventually die.

            That is what Isaiah 5 talks about in the song of the vineyard.

            Isaiah 5:1-2

I will sing about the one I love, a song about my loved one’s vineyard: the one I love had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones, and planted it with the finest of vines. He built a tower in the middle of it and even dug out a winepress there. He expected it to yield good grapes, but it yielded worthless grapes.”

            In this passage we are depicted as the vineyard, and God is the tender of us. He provides us with everything we need, and pursues a relationship with us, for us to live for him, and spread his word.

            It is because he gives us freewill that we can choose him and grow healthy fruit that can be shared. It is we who decide what kind of fruit we are going to grow in the vineyard with our actions, and what we focus on.

Jerusalem at this time was not following God’s commands. They were pursuing drunkenness, compound sinfulness (denying your sin), and amalgamation of land (combining of land together with small properties). Today we aren’t necessarily combining land, but we may be pursuing other things that are not what God wants us to pursue.

God wants us to consider this, just as he wanted Jerusalem to consider it.  Who was to blame for the worthless grapes? What caused the worthless grapes? And how can we produce healthy grapes?  We have the free will to choose what we want to produce.  Be the change.

-Hannah Eldred

Reflection Questions

  1. In what way/ways have you noticed your garden producing worthless fruit?
  2. How can you trust and grow closer to God, while letting him work your vineyard?
  3. How can you produce positive fruit and influence change?
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