12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. ~ Revelation 22:12-17
We are sadly coming to the end of our study of the book of the Revelation. We have just one more passage after today's.
Our text today begins with the promise of the Lord's return. And then, heaven will finally be our permanent home. And, with this promotion will come for the believer in Christ, rewards. Not only will we live in that place of perfection and safety and security for all of eternity, in addition, we will be given certain rewards when we get there. The main thing we must remember with this subject is this: God rewards faithfulness, not fruitfulness.
In v.12 of today's text we read, "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done."
No one gets into heaven based upon our good works, we are not saved by our good deeds done here on earth. In fact, our justification will be and is based solely on Christ's finished work on the cross. But, when that day comes when we stand before Him, we will give an account for our sanctification. And, remember, sanctification is the process we enter when we are born again. And, through this process God is changing us and equipping us to fulfill His calling on our lives while on this earth. So, the point of our sanctification is ministry or influence in the lives of others for eternity. This will be rewarded in certain ways in heaven.
In 2 Corinthians 5:10 we read, "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive for the things done in the body, whether they are good or useless."
And then, according to 1 Corinthians 3:9-15, we discover that our activities in this life after becoming believers in Christ will be gold, silver, precious stones or wood, hay, and stubble. You see, at that time, God will test our works, and the gold, silver, and precious stones will survive the fire because they will represent eternal value. The rest will be the other deeds done out of our lives that weren’t necessarily evil, but had no eternal value. Only that which will have eternal value will survive. And it’s on the basis of that test that we will be rewarded accordingly. The rewards that we will receive in glory will impact our capacity to worship God and serve Him in heaven for eternity. The more faithful we are here, the greater will be our reward there.
In v.13-14 of today's text we read, "13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city."
In these two verses, right on the heels of talking about our rewards for the good works that we did as believers while on the earth, the Lord reminds us that our justification or our rightness and acceptability before Him is solely based on Christ's work on the cross. Our justification or ticket into heaven is a free gift earned by the perfection of Christ.
In v.15 we read, "Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood."
The word "dog" in the New Testament occurs 5 times and is always used in a negative way. Dogs represented things hated, impure, sinful and disgusting in the days of the writing of the Bible. The Apostle John uses the word here to describe those who rejected the free gift of salvation. It is interesting that the list of sins in this verse is very similar to the list in Revelation 21:8. And, notice the word "practice" for it denotes that these are sins that make up these people's lifestyle. I have idols in my life but the idols do not define me most. Those who have come to know the Lord Jesus are being defined by Him most.
In 1 Corinthians 6, the Apostle Paul writes that there are some people who are not going to make it into the kingdom, and here they are: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Again, these sins denote these people's lifestyle, and they have such a lifestyle because they know not the Lord Jesus.
Then, in 1 Corinthians 6:11 we read, “And such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Anyone can be included in the redeemed, it can happen to anyone who comes with their thirst to the Lord Jesus. The key is that we have come to realize our need for the Savior and we receive from Him this free gift of forgiveness of sin and we invite Him into our lives. The posture of willingness allows the Lord to do His work in our souls from the inside out.
Today's text ends with v.16-17 which reads,"16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life."
In Matthew 5:6 we read, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” It all starts with a spiritual hunger, a spiritual thirst.
Our souls were dry, and our hearts were parched. This led us to a barren place in our deepest being. This is what got us to the point that we cried out to Him in the first place. And, whoever wants and desires His salvation, gets it when we ask for it. And, this is an unlimited invitation, anyone can come.
In Matthew 11:28, the Lord Jesus said, “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
In this verse the Lord Jesus uses another metaphor to describe the same thing. Not thirsty but weary. Not needing water but needing rest. And all we have to do is come. If you sense the need and you’re eager to come, and you desire to come, then come. God saves, but not apart from our desire. Salvation, then, is offered to those who know they are parched and barren and who desire to have their life changed.