Patient endurance (Revelation 14:12)
A reader asked for my thoughts on the following passage:
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. (Rev 14:12, NIV)
When I was a younger man I might’ve preached a message on this verse that went something like this: “You gotta hang tough for Jesus. You gotta suck it up and stick it out or he’ll reject you.” What a terrible flesh-glorifying message!
And who was I to talk about endurance? I hadn’t been through half the stuff John the Revelator endured. I didn’t live in fear of the Roman circus or Pharisaical persecution. I not only lacked John’s credibility, I was reading his words all wrong.
God’s people must learn to endure. They must also obey his commands and have faith in Jesus. (Rev 14:12, CEV)
The NIV, CEV and a few other translations present this scripture as a command-that-must-be-obeyed. “You must endure. You must obey.” But that way lies disaster because the focus is on you when it ought to be on Jesus. Read this passage in other translations and you will find no such appeals to the flesh:
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Rev 14:12, KJV)
Spot the difference? Some translations say “You must,” others say “Here is.” One is a prescription, the other is an announcement. Some translations point to the faith of the saints, others point to the faith of Jesus. Big difference!
(You may be tempted to write in and ask me, “So which Bible can we trust?” I’m going to disappoint you and say no translation is perfect. Filter all you read through the Living Word.)
The point is not “we endure to become Christians” but “because we are Christians we endure.” You have a mighty Overcomer living inside you. It’s the faith of Jesus that empowers you to go through life’s trials.
No spiritual Rambos
How can we get this wrong? By focusing on ourselves instead of our Savior. By worrying about our faithfulness instead of resting in his.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being told to harden up and act like a spiritual Rambo. That sort of nonsense promotes self-trust and pretending. Human perseverance is a strength for sure, but God can’t use it. Believe me, no medals will be handed out in heaven for human endurance.
If there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s that everyone breaks and the sooner you break – or quit trying not to break – the better. Why? Because God can’t do anything with us when we’re trusting in our own strength or leaning on our own understanding:
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:10)
Why does Paul say this? Because the key to enduring the unendurable, is to lift your eyes off your present circumstances and focus on what the Lord will bring about:
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (2 Cor 4:16-18, MSG)
The faith of Jesus
As I have said elsewhere, we don’t go through trials to see if we can manufacture the right stuff. Rather, life’s trials reveal that God has given us the Right Stuff because he has given us himself. It is his faith that endures and his light that shines!
If you have been through tough times you may know this to be true. If you’re going through tough times you’re about to find out!
Here’s the takeaway: trust in your own endurance and eventually you will break. The bad news is that life is bigger than you, but the good news is that Jesus is bigger than all!
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:16-18)
In the old covenant you had to prove yourself but in the new we get to prove and affirm Jesus. He is treasure within. He is the light that shines and his is the faith that overcomes. We don’t endure and obey and act faithful to earn our place in the kingdom; we bear those fruits because we are connected to the Vine and it is his life that we now live.
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People take this and especially Jesus Loves Me, that this is a liscense to do what I want.
You didn’t tell them the rest of it. But I like your articles. Wayne
Wayne, read more on this site and you’ll discover that when we have the Living Christ within, we DON’T want to sin.
If you are in Christ, then it is not YOU that sins. Rom 7:14-8:17
Absolutely. His life within me definitely works in me the desire to not want to sin or grieve Him or disappoint Him or cause Him any sadness. It is, indeed, Christ in me my hope of glory. It is indeed Who has begun a good work in me will perfect it/complete it. It is the function of the vine to pour His life in and through me — His branch. Praise Him for He truly knows how to save to the uttermost.
Wayne, when did the world need a licence to do what they want? Aren’t they just doing that without the word of God? When a person’s focus is sin, his mind can only try to find what’s right and what’s wrong and go in that direction. When his focus is Jesus, although he has liberty to sin, he won’t because his life is consumed by the Holy Spirit.
Once you are “in Christ”, you are a new Creature. The old Nature is replaced by A new Nature. The new one Hates sin.
Another great one Paul:-) Put the focus where it belongs, on our Lord, King and Saviour Jesus Christ. I just wanted to thank you Paul for doing what you do. Keep on writing the good news about Jesus and share your revelations with us.
Have a wonderful christmas and i speak blessings and protection over you and your family.
I am a Grace believer, have been for approx. 7 years. On the topic of endurance, hardship, I have had a few traumatic experiences this year:
– On bicycling to work, was broadsided by a car going 50km/hr, no real injuries accept the bike
– I work with boilers, and suffered 2nd degree burns to head this month
– and if this is not enough while doing some welding in the boiler room, caused some damage to electronics on one of the boilers dont know if I will be disciplined for this yet?
So I am concerned as to why all this is happening, I know my father wouldnt discipline me this way, any thing come to mind?
God is not disciplining you through these events. If so, what did you learn ?
We can’t explain why things happen sometimes because they just do. With the millions of cars on the roads today do you think God needs to intervene to cause an accident ? It’s a miracle that there are not more accidents than there are.
As for the burns, I sympathize with you but again you need to realize that you are working in hazardous conditions and things can happen beyond your control.
If God wanted to discipline you I think you would know it was God without a doubt. For example, he might swallow you in the belly of a whale and spit you out after you repent.
I hope and pray you recover fully.
Sometimes bad things happen to us because of our own bad decisions. They’re called consequences. However, many Christians aren’t aware that we can pray for qarah or for the Lord to give us success and right happenings or right positioning every day. That is a Bible blessing afforded to us if we ask for it. Only the Lord can put us at the right place and right time. And many believers leave the house every day never asking for the Lord to do that for them and then wonder why this or that happened…
Life may not go perfectly, but we need to ask the Lord for right positioning. Its right in the Bible in Genesis.
Jesus is the perfect reflection of God. How did Jesus discipline anyone who needed disciplining? Or the sinners of his day? Let me check: He ate with Zacchaeus the cheat, he forgave the woman caught in the very act, he even forgave the paralytic who didn’t even confess his sins!
God disciplines us the same way, with His love. Grace teaches us to say No ungodliness and lead self controlled lives. God disciplines us with His word.
Do you ask the Lord each day to put you at the right place and right time? When you tackle a task, do you ask the Lord to guide you and give you His Wisdom to do the job correctly? Do you confess Psalm 91 before you leave the home? Many times bad things are happening due to our poor decisions. There are consequences for poor decisions. Many believers also approach each day like nonbelievers. they leave their homes completely putting the day inn their own hands, as opposed to those of the Lord. That’s actually living under the Law. Its not living under Grace. Its up to us to put EVERY AREA of our lives under Grace. And when it comes to your work or occupation, you can’t rely on your smarts, experience and having done the job before. In fact if that’s your mentality, that is a clear sign you go to work every day trusting in your self efforts. The flesh is so subtle. Its so easy to go back under Law each day.
Robbie, if I understand you correctly putting every area of our life under grace is making sure we ask God for everything so we don’t make any mistakes with our choices. Is that what you mean to convey ?
If so, I don’t agree with that line of thinking for several reasons.
I agree with Rob. Something I am learning to the full is that God doesn’t just love the world. he loves you. You need to get a revelation of that. The pharisees would if the could, but they could not. Jesus could if he would but would not. That’s our Jesus! Faith is the restful persuasion that God is at rest and in Him so are you. Miracles in full come to those who have been rightly judged … at the cross. There is just one step in God’s reform program, as Ryan Rufus says, and we didn’t take it – He did!
Garry. You’re not alone. Change our minds will take an effort, but change itself is effortless. This is what will.
thank you Paul,i needed to be reminded and encouraged, I have a situation that is getting old,if you know what I mean
Hi Paul…the “breaking” bit really caught my attention. I had been listening to TD Jakes recently – ” the BREAKING is important because after the BLESSING comes after the breaking” e.g 1. the bread we break before communion 2. Jesus broke the bread and it multiplied to feed 5000. So true so true ! Well written Paul as always.
John’s letter of Revelation is written to the nation of Israel, not to those who are in Christ according to Paul’s gospel.
This is a great explanation of “in the flesh” vs “in the spirit”… Looking to myself vs Looking to Jesus. Thanks
“The bad news is that life is bigger than you, but the good news is that Jesus is bigger than all!” Great line!
Thanks so much for this dear brother. I am going to pass this blog around to a dear baby Christians who just got out of jail in Hawaii. He has some good brothers around him but they dont have a revelation of grace. I have a grown adopted son whose parents died of aids. I saw his father who saved my life go in and out of jail for 35 years and due to self effort gave up on the Lord. I watched him die a terrible death from aids. This will help to spare someone else from the same fate!-Pinky
Glory be to God for using you to speak to us. Am the most excited christian living among wicked and faithless world. Paul, I pray that the Lord continuously bless you and your family and use you to speak to the world. Stay forever blessed. The creator is more greater than the creation.
I am in the book of Revelation in my Daily Bible. I am so grateful the spirit of the Lord began teaching me grace during a very rough 5 years from 1994-1999. Then he began bringing teachers/preachers across my path that confirmed even greater what he was teaching me in those years. People like John Sheasby, you, Joseph Prince, and a few others. But, when I read Revelation for some reason some of the old stuff from my “religious,” days begin to fog my heart and understanding in what I walk in when I don’t read the revelation. I know that Jesus is my friend, he speaks to me and shows me so many precious truths that are simple for me to understand, but when I read Revelation I get nervous. The truth is there is nothing I can do to make myself better or worse in my Lords eyes, but I wish I did understand from the perspective of grace, the hard words of the revelation of Jesus to John.
Surely, it would be flattery to come to me as savior only to show me how much hard work the weak me has to accomplish to be “rescued”. That is not rescuing, it’s being an instructor. The Mosaic Law did it & failed due to our (fallen man’s) weakness. It only highlights our need for a savior, which need was fully satisfied in Jesus Christ. Instead of trying to become lyk Rambos, Christians just need to learn to live lyk ex prisoners of war who have been rescued by our spiritual Rambo.
Merry Christmas to you too Paul :-D!
Still loving your articles..thanks for that one.
Funny. A week ago I just watched Rambo movie. It was an old movie… same old story, but I still like it. But I like yours better, Paul. Merry Christmas!
Hi Paul, this post was a HUGE blessing to me. So so so true. that I do not have to prove anything in my strength but that Jesus who is the treasure within will prove Himself. How liberating! Thank you for all you continue to share and declare. Thank you Father for this precious brother.
Great Post Saint Paul.
I like the point you make:
“The point is not “we endure to become Christians” but “because we ARE Christians we endure.” You have a mighty Overcomer living inside you. It’s the faith of Jesus that empowers you to go through life’s trials.” (emphasis mine)
Reminds me of Col. 1:12 “Giving thanks to the Father, Who HAS qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” (emphasis mine) I am already qualified to share in my inheritance promised in God’s Word/Light, I need to partake of it by faith and patience.
Warren (South Carolina, USA)
Merry Christmas to you and to yours Paul 🙂
And to you. 🙂
Awesome word. So encouraging to us that are going through storms
This is great! KC read this a while back and made a jpeg I will be posting in a few tonight. I have people on my page and I am not pastor by any wild stretch of the imagination who are grace Christians who are going through trials of a magnitude that they never thought imaginable.
Things like unexpected deaths on Christmas and Christmas eve in their families (quite a few of those) , Christian men leaving their wife and kids for a young girl, son in jail ,getting kicked out of church for liking Joseph Prince page and on and on!
Though I truly doubt any of them think God is punishing them they have questions and pain. This will hep a lot!
It also helps me and KC. We are battle weary and punch drunk. We know its not God teaching us a lesson or other nonsense but your teaching just confirms what we have heard else where.
Also I cant post this on my FB page. My pastor that I told you about that died , his brother is on my page. I know his brother well.
We have had our ups and downs. Please pray he has a revelation of grace and also he is world famous and affects so many people.
He recently posted on his page no pastors but him and a few of his friends believe in the rapture , the blood or the second coming of Christ. I told him on his page many pastors do he deleted the comment. He needs prayer His name is Don Thanks so much!
Thanks for hope for this hopeless backdlidder
Work your Savation out by fear and trembling …. And endure until the End in order to get the Crown…. JBU all
No, please dont do it yourself, let him do it. XD
13 For it is God who in his good will is at work in your hearts, inspiring your will and your action.
1 Thess 2:19-20
19 After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you!
20 Yes, you are our pride and joy.
Hear is the bibles definition of fear and trembling…
*1 Cor 2:1-5
9 And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall FEAR and TREMBLE for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I provide for it.
WOW reference on Jer 33:9 (never saw that before! It’s awesome in context!!!).
Warren (South Carolina, USA)
Can I add a perspective for your (bloggers on this board) thoughts and feedback? Reading some of the stories on this board reminds me of a time in my life many years ago when (as a Christian) I just could not fathom why my life was so hard on me… disasters; problems; issues; challenges of every description pursued me like rabid wolves. WHY? Is there nothing a Christian can do to combat these other than just to endure them? I grew more and more discouraged over many years… until I reached a point when I “gave up”. Literally. Oh I went to church and all that stuff that looks “OK on the outside”, but I decided that I would just meet God where I was (as I sank deeper into the mire) and “gave up” trying to understand; trying to apply my philosophy; trying to make excuses for why it was the way it was using all those Christian platitudes that drive you nuts! Looking back now (20+ years later) I realize that before I “gave up”, I was at a place that as Paul says: “God can’t do anything with us when we’re trusting in our own strength or leaning on our own understanding:” To cut a 20 year story short, because I “gave up” (or to put it in Christian terms “reached an end of myself”) God ‘moved-in’ and in human terms I started to be taught “Faith” (real faith that is the only way to please God and Faith that can CHOOSE between being saved from the sword (disaster) or not – see and meditate Heb 11). Today I live a completely different way and I’m still learning to “give up” and accept the “Christ in me”. However… and here is the critical point… I am no longer losing. I am an Overcomer. So much more I would like to say that supports all that Paul has said, but for those who are today where I was 20+ years ago… “give up” and ask God to teach you Faith. Real Faith. Not the stuff 90% of the Christians I dearly love talk about and which isn’t faith at all. Apologies for the long blog…
That’s it! Thanks for sharing your story.
My story exactly. I now preach “giving up! Quitting!” It’s been amazing.
Blackaye I wanted to hear more about your ‘giving up’ can you post something in the testimonies part of this site? Also would love to hear more on Heb 11 and what you are talking about re faith.
I have appreciated this post Paul.
I am studying Revelation and came across Revelation 21:1, A NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH. In this reading at the end was this sentence: But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Confused? Old Testament say we live under the law, New Testaments indicates we live under the new covenant of grace, yet this passage talks of further condemnation. How am I supposed to understand this reading in contrast to law and grace?
There are serious consequences for rejecting grace and life. The new covenant of grace only benefits those who choose to live under it.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Paul also said that people described could not go to heaven (like the Corinthians), BUT redeemed people (like the Corinthians) were washed, sanctified, and justified due to Jesus (1 Cor 6:10-11). Jesus’s death and resurrection cleans us up so that God sees Jesus’ life instead of our screwed-up actions after we die when we accept Jesus.
Unbelievers reject Jesus’s sacrifice, and though Jesus’s sacrifice is done for the world, they choose to be seen without Jesus’s sacrifice factored in. It ain’t ending well for them.
Thank you for helping us alot to have our understand what is that word importantly.
a brother shared some world vision preaching on taking up your cross. I felt the religion jump up in me and I got a little confused. It was about even the Lord could not carry his cross. He fell and Simon of syrene arried it. I interpret that as God works through many ways. But when Jesus said in Luke 14:27 “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” What does this mean? Could you give me your take on it? My take is first he was talking to he Jewish leaders and telling a parable about them. They would not come to the dinner so now Jesus was going to all the nations. Then He looked at the multitudes and he made it look like a lot of work to come to Him. It sure was not grace. Could this been a way of showing them they could not do what He was going to do on the Cross. Are we asked to suffer by a loving God? It just does not make sense.
Here is an article from here on that very thing.
Collen Thanks so much. Right on the spot. It is funny how brothers can put doubt into the equation. I want to share this now. Fred
In context the verse is near the mark of the beast (you know, the three sixes). Revelation 14:10 says that anyone who gets the mark and worships the beast is guaranteed to be separated and judged from God. What’s your take on this verse, Paul?