After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)
All Saints Day is our annual opportunity to thank God for his grace upon those who have died in the faith. While this service is often comforting, it can also raise questions about some loved ones:
What about my family member who was baptized as an infant yet died after he fell away from the church?
What about my close friend who was confirmed in the faith yet was expressing doubts about the faith when she passed away?
Revelation 7:9-10 is a wonderful passage to read when such doubts come to mind. It is a great reminder that eternal salvation is in God’s purview, not ours. When doubts arise about loved ones, we place our trust in God’s mercy.
How else but by God’s mercy could there be such a countless multitude in heaven, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages?
How else but by God’s mercy could this massive multitude be dressed in white robes, a sign that their sins are forgiven by God?
How else but by God’s mercy this numberless multitude cry out: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
When it comes to loved ones who have professed the faith and have gone before us, we trust in God’s mercy.
(This devotion was written for the congregations of the Ohio District – LCMS.)