Monday, 5 October 2020
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. Revelation 3:5
Jesus now explicitly states what He inferred in the previous verse. There, He said, “and they shall walk with me in white.” He now says, “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments.” This is now the fifth promised blessing to those who overcome. Again, to understand what it means to “overcome,” and how that comes about, refer to the comments on verse 2:7 (and a fuller explanation in 2:26). In short, it is to accept the premise that Jesus is the Son of God and to receive Him as such by faith.
Those who so overcome “shall be clothed in white garments.” It is a sign of absolute sinless purity, and thus, it is the imputed righteousness of Christ. In this verse, we see a hint of how Christ was portrayed in the gospels while on the Mount of Transfiguration –
“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.” Mark 9:2
Matthew says, “His clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:2), and Luke says, “His robe became white and glistening” (Luke 9:29). As we will be like Him (1 John 3:2), it can be inferred that the white promised now in Revelation will be such as this. It will be so white that nothing we now know will compare to it.
Next, Jesus says, “and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life.” The Greek reads, “the Book of the Life.” This is a note of absolute assurance of eternal salvation. To overcome occurs through faith in Christ. When one overcomes, he has overcome. Jesus says that he who overcomes will not have his name blotted out of the Book of the Life. Such a person has passed from death to life. He is, at that time, given a guarantee of that fact, the sealing of the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:13, 14). Nothing will ever change this once it occurs, because it comes from God who does not make mistakes, who sees the end from the beginning, and who will neither be deceitful nor lie. As Albert Barnes says –
“The expression ‘I will not blot out’ means, that the names would be found there on the great day of final account, and would be found there forever. It may be remarked, that as no one can have access to that book but he who keeps it, there is the most positive assurance that it will never be done, and the salvation of the redeemed will be, therefore, secure.”
To ensure that this doctrine, that of eternal salvation or “once saved always saved,” is understood, Jesus continues with, “but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” This takes us back to the thoughts found in Matthew and Luke –
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32, 33
“Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. 9 But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” Luke 12:8, 9
Jesus, speaking to Israel under the law, noted that the promises found in Him extended beyond the law to become general precepts in the time when He had fulfilled and set aside the law. He now confirms in Revelation that His words spoken then now carry the full force of what He had proclaimed. As Trench states –
“We may observe of this epistle that in great part it is woven together of sayings which the Lord had already uttered in the days during which he pitched his tent among men; he is now setting his seal from heaven upon his words uttered on earth.”
In confessing the names of those who have overcome, Jesus is saying that He is our Advocate (1 John 2:1) before the Father. His acknowledgment is that He took the penalty we deserved and He has granted us His righteousness. He has further granted us eternal life (John 5:26-28). In His acceptance, the Father likewise receives us as His adopted children. This confession before the angels of God means that they will stand down from executing the sentence upon those who would otherwise be cast into the Lake of Fire.
Those who overcome are forever secure from further judgment concerning condemnation. Believers must go to the Bema Seat of Christ for a judgment of rewards and losses, but this will not be a judgment of salvation or condemnation.
Life application: Later we will read this in Revelation 19:8 – “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” This is a less fortunate translation than versions that say, “righteousness of the saints.” What is being bestowed upon the saints is not a garment of white because of anything we have done. Rather it is bestowed upon us by faith in the work of Jesus Christ alone.
It is His righteousness that is imputed to us. There is nothing we can do to either merit God’s favor or to add to the work of Jesus Christ. The white garment then is a gift to the person who has, by faith alone, called on Christ as Lord.
The second honor is that He “will not blot out his name from the Book of Life.” This means that all people on earth are potentially in the Book of Life, but not all are actually there. This is the same as all people being potentially forgiven in Christ, but not all are actually forgiven.
It is rather unfortunate that people, when speaking of forgiveness, say that others “must forgive everyone who offends them.” This is not the biblical standard. Offering forgiveness and actually granting it are two different things.
God, through Jesus Christ, offers forgiveness to all, but not all are actually forgiven. To state otherwise is the heresy of universal salvation. To be saved, one must call on Jesus Christ and on Jesus Christ alone. There is no other way to the Father except through Jesus Christ. When a person does this, He promises that He will confess his name before His Father and before His angels. What an honor to those who believe! Jesus will openly acknowledge them to the Heavenly Host! Hallelujah and Amen!
Lord God, give us the desire, the ability, and the wisdom to step out and proclaim the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of the world now, before the time comes when it will be no longer possible. Help us to make the best use of our time for Your name. We know there is a final destiny we all must face – either in heaven or in the Lake of Fire. It is certain that only through Christ will we be found worthy of being in Your presence. Amen.