Blessed are those who wash their robes, . . . they . . . have the right to the tree of life. (Rev. 22:14)
For many, Thanksgiving Day in 1967 was like many others except for an empty chair that served as a reminder of someone fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. For my father-in-law, it was a day he would never forget, as he ate a can of turkey while standing in a tank. For reasons God only knows, he ducked inside just as a bullet tore through the can, knocking the contents all over his head. How was he able to courageously persevere through this? He knew he was protected by more than a tank. He was also wrapped in the righteousness of Christ.
Being wrapped in the righteousness of Christ endows us with inalienable rights that cannot be taken away. One of those inalienable rights is restored access to the tree of life. After sin, access to the tree of life was temporally denied. While the denial of access is typically viewed as punishment, it was also an act of grace and mercy. Had humanity continued to have access to the tree of life, they would have remained eternally corrupted. But when the time was right, “Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6), “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21), allowing us access to the tree of life and the opportunity to eternally dwell in “the city” (Rev. 22:14), uncorrupted.
As you gather with family, thank God for grace and mercy.
T. J. Albertson has pastored in The Wesleyan Church for eighteen years, the last sixteen in interchurch service. He loves teaching the whole Bible and its relevance to life.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.