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April 27 – The test of holiness

“I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.” – Revelation 2:21

Scripture reading Revelation 2:18-28

In the beautiful garden of Thyatira, there was a weed (v.20): “Nevertheless I have this against you: you tolerate the woman Jezebel.” Thyatira is the reverse of Ephesus. Ephesus had lost its first love but did not tolerate evil. Thyatira had retained its first love, but tolerated evil.

Jezebel is the name Jesus gives to a prominent woman in Thyatira who called herself a prophetess, but was compromising the Christian faith. We don’t know precisely what she taught, though it was likely a variant of the notion, common in the early church, that you could engage in sexual immorality without damaging the spirit because the body is simply the spirit’s inconsequential house. Jezebel seemingly endorsed membership in the trade-guilds and approved of participation in those civic parties which often included sexual immorality.

Satan tries in any number of ways to entice churches into sin. If he can’t destroy the church by persecution, he will corrupt it with evil. One of the ways we discern sound teaching is through the test of holiness. Does a teaching encourage holiness? Does a teaching endorse sin?

Jezebel’s teaching endorsed sin and so God was going to judge her. Jezebel’s bed of adultery, Jesus says, will become a bed of sickness; the scene of sin will become the scene of judgment. The disobedient will not inherit the kingdom of God. It’s all very grim until you see that God has given Jezebel and her followers a remarkable and gracious gift: “I gave her time to repent” (v.21). Don’t abuse God’s patience!

Suggestions for prayer

Thank God for the gift of time and pray that you might use it well, not least to repent and to seek Him.

Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at  

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