All Saints’ Day—Observed (Rev 7:9–17)
November 5, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
INI + AMEN.
You, dear saints of God, are saints of God. You’re His holy ones. That’s what a saint is: someone who’s holy. Not just a little bit holy, sort of holy, or even mostly holy. No, saints are holy! 100%. Saint-i-ness, holiness comes from Him who “alone is the Holy One.” It comes from Jesus.
Now, that flies in the face of how we naturally think about saints. Saints are good people, and all that. That’s just how most people think—us included! But our text from Revelation sets the record straight. It’s all about saints, “the saints triumphant,” but it’s not just about them or for them. All Saints’ Day is just like every other Feast Day in the Church. Our Revelation text is just like every other text of Scripture. I’ll give you a hint: It’s all about Jesus FOR YOU.
((2. Saints are those who dwell with Jesus.))
So, “who are these in white robes and from where have they come?” Well, they’re the ones who dwell with Jesus. They’re His saints. They’re “before [God the Father’s] throne,” before the Lamb’s throne (it’s the same throne), and there they are “day and night,” that is, forever. Cause there is no more day…or night.
How’d they get there? Well, they aren’t saints, and they aren’t forever in God’s presence because of what they’ve done. Not even one good work done in this life gets them there. Not baking, sewing, hunting with his buddies, or whatever else some people try as comfort when someone dies. Saints aren’t saints because of what they’ve done—no matter how nice! The saints in our text tell us why they’re there, though: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” They are WHERE they are (dwelling in God’s presence), they are WHAT they are (saints, holy ones) all and only because of Jesus. His salvation (His death, His resurrection) did it. 100%. No exceptions.
Saints are those who dwell with Jesus because of what He’s done for them.
((1. Saints are there with whom Jesus dwells.))
But that’s not all, dear saints of God. Saints aren’t just those who dwell with Jesus in eternal life. Oh, no, no no. Saints are those with whom Jesus dwells.
When Jesus dwells among people, it’s only natural that in that place you’ll find saints because Jesus is the One who makes saints! Saints have pure robes. They’ve been “made white,” “washed in the blood of the Lamb.” That’s His salvation. He didn’t shed His blood only for the saints, but He shed His blood to make saints, “to set us free to be people of God,” to be His saints.
So often we tie being a saint, being holy to what we do, to morality. To doing the right thing. That if you do some bad stuff over here, you’ve gotta do this good stuff over here, and that transaction is what makes you a good person, makes you nice, makes you a saint. When you’re good outweighs the bad, we think that’s living the sanctified, holy, saintly life.
But saints aren’t just nice, or mostly good, they’re 100% good in God’s sight. No amount of works will do that for you, but Jesus already has. That’s why He “dwelt among us.” He lived the perfect life, and His perfection counts for the saints. Jesus’ saintly life is the saints’. His death and resurrection save us from sin, and our transactional thinking.
He still dwells among us. That’s what makes us saints. He continually fills us with His own saint-i-ness, His very own holiness. He’s washed our robes in His blood. Not only that, He gives us His own robe of righteousness. He’s led us the living waters of Baptism. That’s where He did that for us. Not only that He feeds us with His holy body and holy blood. This Holy Supper gives us Jesus’ own holiness. The perfectly holy body and blood of Jesus becomes united to our bodies and souls so that we, too, are completely holy as He is holy.
On All Saints’ Day, just like every other day, we are reminded, because we so often forget, that we really are saints. We are holy. Not in ourselves. Nothing we do. Absolutely nothing! But Jesus dwells with us to make us saints, to make us holy, to keep us holy. No holiness apart from Jesus and His Gifts. The result of being made a saint now is that the saint will dwell with Jesus forever in His Father’s kingdom. That’s what Revelation 7 is all about.
JESUS DWELLS WITH HIS SAINTS NOW, AND THEY WILL DWELL WITH HIM FOREVER.
But there’s really no difference between us, who are being made saints now, being kept saints, and those who are saints dwelling with Jesus. There’s one thing we have in common with them: Jesus. Jesus is the hinge of the “holy Christian Church and the Communion of Saints.”
Those you love who are now with the Lord Jesus are here! They gather with us. It’s why we sing before the Sacrament: “With angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven.” “All the company of heaven” is the saints, those you love, who now dwell with Jesus. They join us in singing our praises to Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb. Eucharist indeed!
You see, when Jesus comes to dwell among us, to bring us His body and blood this is what’s going on. Here we stand and gather in Jesus’ presence, and He’s delivering to us His body to eat and His blood to drink. And there on the other side gather His “saints triumphant” who are feasting at Jesus’ eternal wedding feast, not “hungering anymore or thirsting anymore.”
Saints here. Jesus. Saints there. He’s the hinge, after all. He dwells among His people, and they dwell among Him. That’s our joy not only this All Saints’ Day but forever. That JESUS DWELLS WITH HIS SAINTS NOW, with you now, AND his saints (you) WILL DWELL WITH HIM and all his other saints FOREVER.
INI + AMEN.