By David Faust
After writing a magazine column every week for nearly 19 years, I have learned to welcome the scrutiny of a wise editor. Despite my best efforts, my writing isn’t perfect, so I need the constructive criticism provided by an editor’s sharp eyes.
A few years ago the NFL and the NCAA started requiring football referees to use instant replay. Some say, “Aren’t the officials embarrassed when the video shows they need to change their call?” But wise referees actually welcome instant replay, because ultimately their job isn’t to make themselves look good, but to make the right call.
Mistakes happen every day. We mess up projects at work, hire the wrong person, and buy the wrong product. Decisions like those usually can be remedied. But how do we make the right call when it comes to the larger issues of life—what we believe and hope?
Those who disagree with Christian values warn, “Don’t be on the wrong side of history.” No one wants to look back 30 years from now and realize, “I was dead wrong. What was I thinking?” However, it’s naive and arrogant to presume that social trends alone will lead us in the right direction.
History is littered with serious errors. The Egyptians thought it reasonable to enslave the Hebrews. The Pharisees thought they were on the right side of history when they rejected Jesus. The crowd’s collective wisdom is often misguided. “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13). That’s why we need the consistent testimony of God’s Word to guide our steps day after day, year after year.
Overturning the World
Billy Sunday said, “The world is wrong side up. It needs to be turned upside down in order to be right side up.” That’s what we see in Revelation chapters 21 and 22—a fallen world turned right side up. Death dies. Satan and his followers finally get what they deserve. Injustice gives way to God’s righteous reign. Sorrow gives way to joy, praise displaces blasphemy, and shame disappears in the light of God’s glory.
John wrote, “Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Revelation 21:1). As Eugene Peterson put it, “The sin-ruined creation of Genesis is restored in the sacrifice-renewed creation of Revelation. . . . The story that has creation for its first word, has creation for its last word.” The new heaven and earth will hold exquisite blessings for the faithful: “They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (21:3, 4).
We all make choices every day that could land us on the right or wrong side of history. In the end, no one but the Lord can forgive our mistakes. No one but Christ can secure our future. He’s not only the beginning and the end; he’s also the middle—the centerpiece of history.
Three times in the Bible’s final chapter Jesus declared, “I am coming soon!” (22:7, 12, 20). We bow alongside John and agree, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (v. 20). If we want to be on the right side of history, we must stay close to him.
1. Are you hopeful about the future? Why or why not?
2. Does the book of Revelation frighten you or encourage you?
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for December 28, 2014
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
Haggai 1, 2