That is a word that is difficult to grasp. As the prophet Isaiah observed of the people of his day "I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips." That about sums up the (at least) 2 problems. The first problem is, I am unclean. I have sinned. I am connected to the fallenness of the world. I mess up every day. I have unclean lips. The second problem is, I live among a people who are also unclean. Most of the people I deal with daily have some connection to the church and to our shared faith. Yet, they, like me, are unclean, sinful, connected to this world of fallenness and messed up. What do we do.
John's words from Revelation 14 give us some ideas. While Chapter 13 describes fallen Babylon (the realm of rebellion against God) Chapter 14 describes the nature of the redeemed realm. John's first words are "I looked up." That is good advice. Look up toward God and seek Him. Then John says, "and I saw the Lamb, standing on Mt. Zion." John sees Jesus above the fray of this world. There were a large number of worshipers there in John's vision. These had the Father's name written on their foreheads (unlike those in Chapter 13 who had the 'mark of the beast.'" These worshipers "follow the lamb wherever He goes." There is proclamation of 1) the message of redemption calling on all to "fear God and give Him glory," 2) Babylon's fallenness and demise, 3) a call for the saints to endure the persecution still to come, 4) an exhortation favoring those that are yet to die in the Lord, 5) an announcement of the harvest of the earth and 6) the announcement of the judgment for those who are "reaped" from the earth.
Here are a few points. God has redeemed those who bear His name. In this passage they are "blameless" for they have followed the Lamb. He has made them holy.
God has already judged those who belong to this world. God is holy and will not exist with this group. Jesus said they will be set apart from God and cast into utter darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (very scary since God said it).
The place where God is taking those who belong to new Jerusalem (the redeemed) is and will be holy. There will be no need for ego, no need for the stuff we claim to own, no need for anxiety, no need for tears, no need for hospitals, no need for counselors (except the Holy Spirit) and no place for death.
At the end of all things, God keeps His promise made in Exodus 19 and John 14 ... to bring those that belong to Him to His place. What a day that will be! Randy