One book of the Bible that I have read through, but not really taken the time to study is the book of Revelation. Many books have been written on the topic, many theories expounded, and countless prophecies misinterpreted by well-meaning folk. A small group I attend on Wednesday nights has recently undertaken a study in Revelation following a series of teachings by Pastor Levi Lusko of Fresh Life Church in Montana. I expect this study to take a few months to complete at the speed in which we shall endeavor to digest it, so look for the occasional post (perhaps weekly ) as I take tidbits of information from it.
Revelation, believed by a majority of scholars to be authored by John the Apostle, begins and ends with a blessing to those who read it (provided they do not add or take away from it). In the first chapter: Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. -Revelation 1:3 At the end: Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. -Revelation 22:14
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. -Isaiah 64:6
How many people (including Christians) have the notion [even if just in the back of their head] that, the more righteous they are, the better their chances of pleasing God and getting into heaven might be. Certainly, God is happy with us when we think of others and act out of love. We know that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). I suspect we all have a built-in sense of condemnation if we are without Christ– which explains the constant need to seek approval. The good we do never seems good enough, because it isn’t. So what do we do about it? God has made a way for us to be with Him. the operative word is GRACE.
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.] -Ephesians 2:8-9 (AMP)