And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
So how can we recognize genuine believers in Christ? This text helps us to answer this very significant question. But before we answer this question, we need to answer another equally important one. Why is it important that we can recognize true believers in Christ? 2 Corinthians 6:14 helps us with this question…
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
In this passage we find that the Lord instructs His people to avoid entering into close relationships with those who are lost. Marriage/dating relationships, business partners, friendships, and other types of interpersonal relationships are included in this passage.
How can we avoid making unscriptural relationships, if we do not know how to come to a reasonable judgment about another person’s spiritual condition? That’s where our devotional passage comes in.
In this passage we find God’s people are said to “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” These are two outstanding indicators of a person with a genuine relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s take quick look at each of these indicators…
- “keep the commandments of God” – in this verse the word “keep” comes from a word that means “to guard and maintain”. It describes guard over something considered very valuable and giving it continued care and maintenance.
In context, this is teaching us that a true believer will recognize the great value of his Lord’s desires for his life. He will keep them constantly in the forefront of his mind and seeks to apply these principles consistently to every area of his life.
This will result in him living a life that is separated to his Lord, motivated by love and appreciation, not necessity and legality.
- “have the testimony of Jesus Christ” – Here, the word for “testimony” comes from the word “martyr”. It describes a person who recognizes his responsibility and willingly gives record of his personal experiences, even to the point of death.
In this case, the person understands the great importance of telling others about his personal experience with Christ. He is willing to do so, even at the risk of great physical loss. He understands that there is a lost world around him whose only hope is Christ and Him crucified.
This results in a person who, although risking rejection, mockery, abuse or even death, is still willing to tell others about all that His Lord has done for him motivated out of love, appreciation and the knowledge of the great need of fallen mankind.
These are two of the greatest marks of a person who has experienced the love of Christ and is the recipient of His saving mercies.
Folks, before we enter into any relationship greater than a simple acquaintance, we need to stop and think of our Lord’s guidelines for choosing those who are close to us. We then need to enter into close relationships with only those who can be described as those “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: