Letters From God
Letters make up a large portion of the New Testament, 21 of the 27 books of the New Testament are in fact letters. Upon the delivery of these letters there was an urge to read them and share them with the surrounding congregations (Colossians 4:16). Within these letters were words of doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17), the very words man should live by. Seven letters that often peak the interest of readers are the seven letters in the book of Revelation.
The seven Churches of Asia, in the book of Revelation, find themselves with letters postmarked Heaven. While each letter is unique in that each Church needed different instructions, within all seven God repeats two important phrases, “I know you works” (Revelation 2:2, 2:9, 2:13, 2:19, 3:1, 3:8, 3:15), as well as “He who has an ear let him hear” (Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22). If God desired for the Churches of Asia, no matter what unique circumstance they found themselves in, to read these two remarks we must realize the importance of them for us as well.
Firstly, God’s acknowledgement of knowing our works is a source of encouragement to those who with humility are going about their Christian works. It comes with the understanding that the “Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:1-4). People often forget the importance of works in our Christian life. James wrote of our faith working with our works to make us complete and that “man is justified by works and not by faith only” (James 2:22-24). The death of Christ was so that He could “purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14) and yet we may be disqualified if our works are “abominable and disobedient” (Titus 1:16).
God follows up His statement of knowledge by commanding us to hear his words. It is God’s word that judges us (John 12:48) thus to live by any other standard than the Bible’s teaching is to miss the mark. We as Christian’s are “called”, that requires hearing, out of darkness and into His light (1 Peter 2:9). We are commanded to be “Transformed” (Romans 12:1-2), how? Not by letting God’s word enter one ear and go out the other, but by looking into the scriptures and obeying them (2 Corinthians 3:18). The God who has given us eyes to see and ears to hear (Proverbs 20:12) is the same God who expects us to use them to have faith which comes by hearing (Romans 10:17) and to search the scriptures as we “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Throughout all of this we learn important truths that must be applied to our lives. We learn that God cares about our works and our obedience to His word. Even the two Churches who needed no correction, Smyrna and Philadelphia, God still commanded them to pay close attention to His words, because He knew their works. In a similar manner Paul speaks of his continual need to grow in that he had not already “attained perfection; but I press on. . .” (Philippians 3:12).