“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.”
- Revelation 1:1-2 KJV
The book of Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ, which he mediates to the apostle John. So John testifies to us of the testimony of Christ. This shows us a dual witness of Jesus and John in the testimony we receive in Revelation. John is able participate in this witness as God’s instrument because he has been conformed into Christ’s image.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CHARACTER
Serving God faithfully, in whatever he has called you to, will never be apart from character. The Bible knows of no separation between true wisdom and good character (1 Tim 3:1-7, Tit 1:7-9). Wisdom and character are, in fact, intimately and inseparably linked. We see the opposite side of this coin playing out in Romans 1. People with dishonorable passions and corrupt desires being darkened in their minds and hardened in their hearts so that they are left in further darkness as to what is good, true, and beautiful.
Moral failure actually leads people away from true knowledge. On the other hand, moral goodness, which must involve faith, actually leads to true understanding. It is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom.
If a man wants to be a pastor because he loves doctrine but he is still mastered by sexual sin and regularly acting on those desires, God doesn’t want him as a pastor in His church and he isn’t fit for the duty. Not only would he be a hypocrite, but this man actually won’t have for his congregation what they need. As one who is mastered by sin, he will lack even sufficient knowledge and wisdom on how to properly help his people.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding
have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.”
This is applicable to more than just a pastor, as I hope is plain. Mom’s will fail in what should be their proper understanding of motherhood and being a wife if they care more about play dates, watching tv shows, and comparing their kids to the other kids in the church than they do about keeping God’s commandments and saturating themselves and their children in God’s Word. Women generally will fail to know what it is to honor God as a woman if they spend there time as busybodies and gossips rather than devoting themselves to serving others and being mothers broadly in the church in the way they help families and disciple others.
COMMON GRACE VS WALKING WITH GOD
Obviously there can be a basic understanding of God’s truth simply by reading or hearing, even in the midst of sin. To tell someone that murder is something God hates will still resonate with an impenitent sinner, though they may try to push it out of their mind. The point I am trying to make is that there is a greater maturity and wisdom that comes with walking with God for longer. Walking with God is not simply a question of how long it has been since someone prayed a prayer during an alter call, but walking with God implies actually walking with Him. Walking with God is only done when we, by faith, are keeping His commandments. And it is that kind of walking with God that he blesses with greater wisdom and knowledge of His will and greater understanding in His Word.
This may not often the way we think through these things, but we actually need to believe God in order to understand, and we will come to greater knowledge as we grow in our obedience to his commandments. Sin has tainted our understanding. We must be conformed into Christ’s image if we are to be faithful servants of Him. This is who John was, and therefore He, though a sinner, by Christ’s appointment serves as a faithful messenger of a precious message from the King of all that he saw from the heavenly throne room of God.