The Golden Reed (5):
Our Need for the Gold
What we are apart
from God could never
meet His standard
In Revelation 21:15 the Apostle John tells us that the angel showing him the New Jerusalem had:
“…a golden reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall.”
We have been considering this golden reed as God’s standard for determining what belongs to Him (cf. Rev. 11:1-2). The gold signifies God’s divine nature, whereas the reed signifies our humanity. Together, the gold and the reed show us how God desires to impart His divine nature into our being. (All of these Notes are on our “Brief Notes” page).
From the very beginning, then, this picture of the golden reed should impress us with one great fact, namely, what we are in ourselves could never match God’s divine standard; we must have the “gold,” His divine nature, worked into us!
We indicated before that some may feel God’s standard should only consist of divinity. However, in terms of our experience, we quite often make the opposite mistake, that of seeking to please God according to what we are in ourselves, apart from His divine nature. That is, we fall into the realm of spiritual self-improvement. And, just as with the Jew’s efforts to prove they were righteous by keeping the law of Moses (Rom. 10:3), this is not in fact pleasing to God; it is actually a rebellion against what God has ordained for us today as believers in Christ.
The pictures that the Scripture gives us can help us see its basic truths more clearly; that’s where their value lies. So, here we should consider the reed on its own as a picture of what we are in ourselves.
Suppose you had the best, most perfect, most beautiful reed that ever existed on the face of the earth. It would still be just a reed, nothing more, without any gold; in any event, in a short time it would fade away and be gone forever. Could God ever use even such a perfect reed as His standard?
This picture, then, illustrates how we in ourselves can never come close to matching what God desires; we must have the “gold,” God’s divine nature, added into our being; then we will have something eternal, weighty, and so precious within us.
We need to ask God to give us a revelation, to show us that, apart from the working of the divine life and nature in our being, we can never be acceptable to Him (cf. John 15:4-5). Only by seeing this matter in such a way will we finally turn from our self-improvement to truly seek after God, so that He may work His very nature into us, to make us those who are according to His standard, rather than our own standard of self-improvement.
Because this is such a central point of the truth in the New Testament, in our next Notes, rather than consider the picture of the golden reed, we will take some time to consider this same matter from the plain words of Scripture.
— Up Next —
“The Two Basic Problems”
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— 17 September 2021 —